Our alumni spotlight this week is on Ayoyinka Delumo, Aspiring Entrepreneur Program (AEP) 54 graduate. She is the Founder/CEO of Play Place Nigeria, which is a state of the art indoor-playground that provides a fun and safe environment where children can engage in creative play with exhibits that provide real life experiences; develop and enhance their motor-skills through challenging movement; intensify their cognitive skills through tasking activities.

Growing up as a child in Chicago, Yinka loved to visit the Chicago Children’s Museum where her mother would always take her and her sister, for learning and recreational activities. She was just 5 years old at the time but the experience was one she never forgot, as she remembers the Museum had a children’s supermarket, where kids like her at that time could shop for items just as adults would do. The items, of course, were not real but it was a fun make-believe experience because children love imitating adults and shopping seemed like an adult thing to them.

Yinka graduated from the McMaster University, Canada in 2013 where she got a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Communication Studies. On her return to Lagos, Yinka worked at WE CONNECT International an NGO for women and also at CMC Complete interiors a furniture manufacturing company. As she settled into life and living in Lagos, Yinka noticed that there was a lack of creative and stimulating things for her siblings who were aged 6 and 7 at the time to do in Lagos, and that began the journey to building Play Place Nigeria. She saw a gap and felt the need to fill it, she says, “I believe there is a ready market for this business, as there is a great lack of entertainment facilities for children in Lagos, and possibly in Nigeria as a whole”.

Yinka’s mother Yinka Osobu, who is a Graduate of the EEP 4 one of FATE Foundations pioneer EEP Classes and founder/CEO of CMC Interiors which is an interior decorating company with a focus on locally designed office and home furnishing. Her mother always had a dream of opening an amusement park which she never did and Yinka knew about her mother’s desire but she didn’t want just an amusement park, she wanted a place that would cater for the children and their parents, a place that would be a go to when children and parents thought of something fun to do and so she decided to open an indoor playground for children resembling the Chicago Children Museum she loved as a kid. Her mother invited Yinka and her sister for one of the monthly FATE Alumni Knowledge Building Sessions held at the FATE Foundation. During the Session, Yinka decided that she was going to enroll for the next AEP class before she started her own business.

Yinka admits to being very confused before the AEP. She describes her AEP journey as a significant milestone in helping her grow her idea into a structured business plan. Although this was something she knew she had wanted to do, she didn’t know how to go about it. “It’s one thing to settle on beginning a business, it’s something else to really do it”. The program helped her with reviewing her business and operating strategies, and also knowing how to effectively manage her team. The AEP gave Yinka direction on the most proficient method to begin and maintain a business, the hands-on and practical approach gave her confidence to start and not be afraid to make mistakes. Drawing up a business plan and model and having it reviewed by the Business and Alumni Support Services (BASS) team of FATE Foundation was one of the highlights for her during the AEP.

In October 2016, Yinka began Play Place Nigeria and in November 2016, they were open for business, the building which she acquired from her family moved toward becoming Play Place Nigeria. She at first began with 23 employees, however as time went on she cut back and as of now has 15. She admits to it being a ton of work to attract a significant level of clientele when the business began she needed to do a considerable measure of paid & organic social media, printed flyers which were distributed at grocery stores, and she went to schools to get the message out about Play Place Nigeria. Thus far, the turnout has been truly great. In a day, she gets as much as 50 kids, and an average of 1000 kids per month. She has plans of doing radio and blog adverts as she’s exceptionally enthusiastic on developing the business to a phase where Play Place Nigeria turns into a house hold name.

The Alumni bolster from FATE Foundation has been astounding she says, and she has been able to apply for grants through FATE Foundation. So far the journey has been amazing she says. Being able to start and maintain her business successfully, “the highs and lows toughen you, with having your business you never know how it goes it’s an exciting ride, so remain consistent with yourself be prepared to fall and when you do get up! What’s more, go to FATE Foundation” she says with a laugh as we wrapped up our discussion.

Delumo Ayoyinka Elizabeth is one of our alumni that we are very proud of and we look forward to hearing more great news from her.

For more information on Play Place Nigeria, please visit @playplaceng on Instagram, www.playplaceng.com and 5, Eddy Okeke Street, Ogudu, Lagos, Nigeria and as it’s still a school break for children, Play Place is definitely a place to go for a nice day out with the kids in your life.