Ommo Clark | Founder & CEO Of iBez

Ommo is the Founder and CEO of iBez, a technology company that provides software development services and also owns a number of web-based applications. She is a qualified IT Practitioner, entrepreneur and public speaker with many years of experience gained from working for a string of well-known investment banks and software companies both in the UK and Nigeria. Ommo is an Alumnae of London Guildhall University UK with BA (Hons) Business Admin, and Brunel University UK with MSc Information Systems.

ommo clarkI Am Driven By | I am driven by the belief that I have a duty to make a positive contribution to society and help people. A lot of people are born into circumstances and situations which they did not choose by themselves and they have no means to get themselves out of these situations. My mission is to use technology as a tool to help people and businesses get from where they are now to where they want to be. For example, one of the key issues facing households in Nigeria is finding competent tradespeople for their household repair and maintenance jobs. To solve this problem, I decided to build an online portal where people can easily and conveniently find certified and vetted tradespeople in their areas for their repair and maintenance jobs. However in researching and recruiting tradespeople to be listed on this application, we found that the vast majority of artisans in Nigeria have never had the opportunity to get an education or receive professional training simply because they were born into very poor families who send them out to work as soon as they are old enough. So in addition to providing a platform for the tradespeople to advertise their services which coincidentally was also an issue for them because of huge traditional advertising costs, they also get a chance to be receive basic training and improve their skills.

My Highlights | Graduating from university in the top five of my class both for my first and second degrees were very special moments especially as I worked full-time throughout my studies to fund my education. Furthermore, returning to Nigeria and building my businesses from grounds up with very little money, support or connections has been amazing. The businesses are not yet where I want them to be, but the reception we are getting so far is just incredible. Last year, I entered one of my soon-to-be-launched online businesses – Handy Jacks into a business plan competition organized by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), we made it to the semi-finals out of nearly 700 initial applicants across Africa and the feedback I received is that ‘Handy Jacks has the potential to change a lot of lives across sub-Saharan Africa and make a huge impact’. This made me proud.

A Key Talent | I have been told that I am very personable and a great communicator. Though this comes naturally to me as I am naturally very interested in people, love meeting new people and learning all about them, it is a great skill to have especially if you are an entrepreneur. If you are just starting out in business and you want to make it then you should develop your communication skill because you need to be able to get along and work with all types of people. Having good communication skills means I don’t struggle to talk to new people, give presentations or speak at events and it enables me to build rapport with people very quickly and come across as trustworthy and credibility.

ommo clark 1Critical Skills I Develop | I live by Christian principles so honesty, integrity and excellence are important to me. I am also a modern feminist and I am passionate about equality of rights for all gender especially as a woman working in an industry that is male dominated. I do not believe women should be treated as second class citizens, restricted in what they are ‘allowed’ to do or objectified because of their gender. Women should be judged / appraised based on their competence, intellect, skills and performance, and not because of their anatomy.

Critical Skills I Develop | I work very well under pressure and am very resilient. So when things get tough instead of running to hide, I push even harder and never give up. I also come from a project management background so I am a planner. I like to research and plan everything right to the very fine details and try to mitigate any chances of failure but I’ve learnt over the years that even the best laid out plans might still fail so I don’t beat myself up if things don’t go as I planned. There is always a backup plan and a backup of the backup.

Lessons I Have Learnt | I have learnt not to be too rigid and to be willing to compromise, change direction or let go of things if I need to. I have had to start over many times in my short life for various reasons; I’ve moved countries a couple of times with literally just a suitcase and have had to rebuild from scratch each time. As I mentioned earlier sometimes even the best laid out plans fail so if you do fall down, don’t just lay there, get up quickly, dust yourself up and keep moving. If you were able to achieve it before then you will certainly achieve it again if you put your mind to it. Another lesson I have learnt is that if it is worth doing it is worth doing well otherwise there is no point and you are simply wasting time.

Dealing With Doubt | When I was moving back to settle in Nigeria after a long stretch in the UK, I didn’t know what to expect and was a bit apprehensive but a friend told me that I had no reason to be worried because she knew without a shadow of doubt that if I was dropped in the middle of a desert with nothing except the clothes on my back, I would survive because I had all the skills and determination I needed. That was a great confidence booster at the time and I still remember it on occasions when I am doubting myself and my abilities.

The Best Advice I’ve Received | Be careful who you allow speak into your life and who leads you because they have the power to shape your future for good or bad.

ommo clark 3I Am Inspired By | I am inspired by accomplished people. People do not become accomplishment by entitlement or by being lazy. To be accomplished means you must have worked very hard to achieve that feat. So people like Serena Williams, Richard Branson, Bill Gates inspire me.

The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I would like to inspire more girls to go into software development. A lot of girls are not interested in software development careers either because of the way we are socialized, our culture or the misunderstanding that software development is difficult. Technology is not unsexy and it is not ‘mathematics’. It is actually very creative and rewarding. I would also like to have resolved a lot of the day to day challenges in my environment using technology solutions.