Future looks bright for UCT student

2019-09-10 06:00
Tofunmi Olagoke, the woman behind Owulo: a startup business which will provide an online beauty service catering for the needs of African women.

Tofunmi Olagoke, the woman behind Owulo: a startup business which will provide an online beauty service catering for the needs of African women.

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Owulo, the winning startup of the first UCT Shark-Tank, presented its start-up business idea at the Kingson AKRO Pitch held at Akro Co-working Space in Wale Street, Cape Town, on Wednesday and Thursday 28 and 29 August.

Owulo was one of 20 pre-selected Proudly South African startups who took to the stage to pitch their unique business ideas in the hopes of being selected for an intense, two-week bootcamp in the United States of America (USA).

The results from the pitch day will be announced on Tuesday 10 September.

In the meantime, Tofunmi Olagoke, the woman behind Owulo, is holding thumbs that she will be one of the startups chosen to spend two weeks in Silicon Valley where they will be mentored by industry leaders.

Olagoke, a student completing a bachelors of business sciences in finance with accounting at UCT, has a background in digital marketing and website development.

Drawing on her experience, she spearheaded the development of Owulo, a website that provides African women easy access to quality beauty services, products and educational courses.

“We still live in a world where the beauty needs of African women are not fully catered for. Simple things, like finding a qualified hairdresser to adequately take care of your afro, are still difficult.

“It is tiring having to rely on niche Facebook and Instagram pages to understand how to deal with your hair. You should be able to get that information from your hairdresser,” says Olagoke.

She says the website (www.owulo.com) hopes to provide clients with a loving and fun beauty experience. “We want every woman who books an appointment, buys a product or takes a class through Owulo to feel empowered, to feel like they belong.”

The website will officially launch on Friday 29 November. In the meantime, prospective clients can download a free natural hair guide available on the website. Owulo competed against seven other student startups at the UCT Shark-Tank on Friday 2 August.

Organised and facilitated by the 2019 InvestSoc and UCT Entrepreneurship Society team, the shark tank was a formal cohort of accelerators intent on selecting an innovative start-up to turn their business dreams into a sustainable reality.

Gavin Reardon, the co-founder of Kingson Capital, was one of the sharks judging the event. “It is so encouraging to see the talent emerging. What is also important is for students to see the potential career that exists in thinking outside the box, creating a workable business model and pitching ideas to investors; all to graduate from a college startup and become an emerging business,” says Reardon.

Winners of the Kingson AKRO Pitch will have the opportunity to re-pitch their business ideas upon their return from the bootcamp. The final startups will then be chosen and given an investment injection from Kingson Capital to transform their idea into a business.

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