‘Prepare to make huge sacrifices at different stages of business growth’

Augusta Ikpea-Enaholo is the founder of Royal Oaks Events Centre, which recently berthed on the Lekki axis of Lagos. The masters degree holder in Maritime Law who is schooled both locally and internationally, worked at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as a Principal legal officer till she decided to follow her passion. She speaks with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA on why she ventured into events management.

What inspired you to setting up the Event Centre?
I HAVE always loved parties. Even while in the public sector, I was always fascinated with the idea of how did this come to be in this event or why that was not used at that event or what if this was moved here and that was moved there.

Gradually I picked up interest, first as a hobby and finally to a serious business as seen today.

My setting up an event centre was born as a thought of having a unique environment where people will come and have great parties, under the best conditions and not worry about anything, no matter how small it may be.

With your years of expertise in Maritime law, what are you bringing into the events industry?
I intend to not only improve on the already existing practices in the industry, but also create newer, easier, more time accommodating practices that can be adopted by anybody and everybody in their various sections in the industry. I have behind me a strong team of experts in different sections of the event industry and we try to develop and test possible event trends and ideas that will not only suit us but our clients as a whole.

How would you assess the growth of the event industry in Nigeria?
People in Nigeria like parties, the industry is already said to be one of the fastest-growing in Africa. It is also said to be the most extravagant.

The growth of the events industry in Nigeria as a whole is quite interesting. Just some years ago, we had and still have silver, gold, wood, Iron Chiavari chairs but now we have from gold, clear, Napoleon, Dior, Oval Back Chiavari chairs amongst others.

In short, the growth has been a journey, the rate and manner at which it has grown is astonishing, especially when we consider other industries like Oil and Gas, Banking and Finance, Fashion etc. This growth has contributed to the diversification of the many different sections of events that we have today which are event planning and management, food, drinks, security and hosting.

What do you consider as a challenge running this business?
Event centres provide locations for people to go and have parties celebrating various things, achievements or accomplishments in their lives. But the fact is each challenge I face is more like an opportunity to further improve on my customer service and quality of my service delivery to further expand into the other sections of the industry.

Some of these challenges include government regulations as regards event centres, economic situation of the country, fast moving pace of new innovations in the industry, diversifications in the industry, fixing prices for the centre, maintenance of the centre, determining the variety of services we can provide per client per party, intricate needs of the clients, amongst others.

What is your advice to young women who take up on entrepreneurship?
My advice is that they should do businesses that they will enjoy doing; they should prepare to make huge sacrifices at different stages of the business growth. They should always take time to improve their business knowledge, look for people who share their ideas and dreams to join their team, people who are willing to do the exhaustive long hours, and they should be able to adapt and manage changes at every point of their business.

Where do you see Royal Oaks in five years?
When I started the event centre, the idea was first to simply bring to life my hobby, now it has grown to transforming the hobby into the real thing. And now, my vision is to see Royal Oaks as the pioneer events centre in not just Lekki or the Island but in the whole of Lagos State. I see my event centre as the place to have all kinds of events, each tailored to each client, for different kind and type of events.

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