Starting a travel agency company- Interview with Tiwa Maples.
Please, can we meet you: My name is Tiwa Adesemowo
What do you do? I am a travel agent. I run a travel company, called Maple Travel Ltd. We offer travel related packages such as tours , flight tickets, cruises, hotel bookings, car rental, honeymoon packages, business travel , and destination weddings.
What are your recent achievements? We have been able to get off the ground in a short period of time, we are growing! We have gotten our IATA code.
What inspired you? I had always known i wanted to have my own brand, the only question was when? When God’s appointed time came it fell into place
Why did you choose entrepreneurship versus paid employment? I have previously worked in paid employment; i have also worked as an independent consultant before branching out. It’s all about what you want to do, the kind of vision you have for yourself. I want to build a brand , i want to channel my ideas, strengths and skills to build a brand
What are the challenges you faced starting this business? Just like every business, there are quite a number of challenges. Ranging from financing , to strategy building , getting the right staff and staff skill, setting goals, achieving goals, having a work –life balance, being a mother, wife and boss and still keeping your vision in view.
How did you overcome them? Honestly i don’t think you overcome them 100% , rather you learn to handle them , you learn to minimise their impact and you continuously ensure your processes and operations are well prepared to handle both known and new challenges.
Please advise young women that plan to start travel/tourism businesses? I would advise that they register for few travel training courses and ensure that they can do the job themselves, at least at the beginning.
Big issue for most start ups is capital, how did you overcome this? Start small and grow. Look for most cost effective way to operate at minimum cost.
What is your advise room for young female entrepreneurs especially in Africa. There is tremendous room for growth. Currently Africa is a very enabling environment for an entrepreneur.
Where do you see your self/brand in the next 10 years. I want it to be synonymous with travel
How will you remain competitive. I am from a young generation , the ways we do business is constantly changing . We now exist in a global marketplace. I will continue to be customer centric, and would continuously push to achieve set targets of growth and quality.
Which other female entrepreneurs inspire you?
- Chief Mrs GA Vaughan- She was a pioneer in private education in Nigeria, she started a school in 1962 at a time when is was uncommon , especially as a woman. The school still stands.
- Mrs Folorunsho Alakija- Her attainment of world recognition in the industry . To attain her level of success in a predominately male dominated industry. Her story of perseverance is inspiring .
- Sara Blakely – Inventor of Spanks , her story is very inspiring .She started the business with her saving of 5,000 usd and has grown it to a multi million company.