Tag Archives: Fintech

Urenna Okonkwo, Cashmere App Founder Shares Lessons on Goal Setting

On November 6th, 14 females from various career backgrounds came together to discuss goal setting with Urenna Okonkwo, founder of Cashmere. Organised by Now You’re Talking, a community for millennial female leaders, Urenna shared her journey on being a tech founder and tips on goal setting. She is the mastermind of Cashmere, a savings platform for luxury eCommerce and one of the winners for TechWomen100.

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What Cashmere allows millennials to do is to save up enough money for their luxury trips and luxury products. If you’re looking for a smart way to buy a Gucci bag in the future, you can begin saving for it without breaking the bank or going bankrupt. Her journey like many other founders started when she saw a gap in the marketplace for expensive luxury items and millennial money. She shared some incredible tips on being an entrepreneur and running her own business.

Here are the top lessons on goal setting from the event:

  1. Clear Planning – Always plan in detail and seek help when you can’t do it all alone. Look at your strengths and your weaknesses and understand what you can outsource. Be eager to learn and receive feedback
  2. Goal Setting – Always write things down
  3. Plan For The Week Ahead – Be very detailed in your planning even up to each hour of the day. At the end of the week, go through your list of achievements and understand whether you have achieved your goal of the week
  4. Be Mindful Of Your Time – We all know how social media can be a big distraction if we do not manage our time properly. Urenna suggests we set a time apart for social media use and also to track the time we spend on social media
  5. Calls And Email Are Better Than Meeting Up – Is the meeting absolutely necessary? Can you discuss the matter over the phone? How much of your time would this take? Urenna explained how she deals with time wasters or people who want to meet up for the purpose of meeting up to discuss “ideas”. She normally asks if they can send her a list of questions on the business idea / agenda of points to discuss in the meeting. If the questions or points can be answered via email, she sends her responses to save time and energy
  6. Schedule Time On Your Calendar – Urenna suggests that Calendly (free meeting scheduling app) has helped her to manage her schedules for meetings and calls
  7. Take Your Mental Health SeriouslyHappiness planner has been useful to create time and awareness of her mental well-being
  8. Have Your Accountability Partners – “You’re the average of 5 people around you” – Will Smith.  Your accountability partners are those who are equally as ambitious as you are and with whom you share goals. They will check on you to make sure you’re on track to achieve your goals
  9. Document Your Achievement – She finds that documenting her achievements makes her feel better and is also a form of self care to acknowledge your hard work
  10. Believe In What You Do Before Taking A Leap – Social media can be quite misleading in terms of what people choose to share and not share about their journey to success. She agrees that it can be difficult to take the leap, but it’s also very rewarding. In her own words “if it’s what you want and what you believe in, go for it!”
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Lily Okorokwo and Urenna Okonkwo

Now You’re Talking will be running events in 2019 across London. Not just for the wisdom being dropped across the table but also for the connections and new friends you meet. Want to learn how you can effectively set goals and achieve them? Keep an eye out for future events.

Think of your future self today and do what you would do as that person, attend the events she would attend, do the things she would do and meet the people she would meet.

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The Digital-Ready Bank: How Can African Banks Disrupt?

How many of you have visited your local banks in Nigerian to perform a transaction to find out that their ‘server is down’ as the bankers put it. Therefore, a transaction that should take you 10 minutes now turns into 30 minutes.

A 2015 KPMG report states that banking penetration is as low as 36% in some of the larger African economies. The solution proposed is that Digital Transformation can drive adoption of banking services by enabling banks to develop and deploy tailored, customer-focused products and solutions. In the age of disruption in almost all the sectors happening globally, digital cannot be excluded as a very important disruptive power.

For the banking sector, this has meant radical changes in how services are offered and how technology is used to enable rapid deployment of new customer-centric innovations. A recent SAP-sponsored study of 250 banks in the EMEA region by IDC offers key insights into how banks have adapted their business models and operations to reap the benefits of Digital Transformation, and what African banks can learn from their success – and how they can avoid some of the pitfalls.

Africa at a glance
According to the United Nations, Africa’s population is expected to surge to 2.4 billion by 2050. Due to Africa’s largely youthful population and the aging population in most developed countries, forecasters expect that much of the world’s labour will be supplied by the African continent. This increase in economic activity is expected to drastically increase the uptake in banking services among African workers. However, despite encouraging economic growth, most of Africa remains unbanked due to insufficient banking infrastructure, the perceived high cost of banking fees, and a disconnect between banking services and the needs of the customers they are meant to meet.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, bank branches are generally concentrated in high-population urban areas. Despite this, the European Investment Bank notes that these banks are typically high-cost operations that result in high service fees and a wide spread of interest rates. A 2014 World Bank paper showed that the average per-capita income in Sub-Saharan Africa is a mere $762. Banking products and services need to be carefully tailored to suit a diverse set of customer needs or risk losing traction in a market currently being disrupted by innovative start-ups.

Managing disruption
New fintech companies are bringing a much more customer-centric innovation at a pace never seen before disrupting the traditional and formal banking sector. While banks in Africa should focus on capitalising on their market share, they also need to consider using technology as a tool to create new opportunities across the entire value chain. This would allow them to emerge strong and fit for the future as new fintech companies emerge.

Despite the rapid change that we’re experiencing, most customers will still remain the same and will have the same needs over the next five or even 10 years. Saving for retirement, buying a house, paying for education, accessing medical services, tax and payroll – these needs are unlikely to change in any meaningful way. What is likely to change, however, is the role of the banking sector in providing such services, both for consumers as well as corporate clients.

A bank that sets out to be smart, forward-thinking banks will embrace Digital Transformation by adopting cloud technologies to reduce costs, analysing data to create more personalized services, and using customer-focused channels such as mobile and social to deploy services. Despite the threat posed by fintech start-ups, traditional banks have an enormous advantage: the vast amounts of customer data created by multiple customer touch-points.

Banks should use this data to customise products and services at an individual level to deliver a truly personalized experience. This cal happen if they can start mining this customer data, moving beyond pure banking into more of a ‘lifestyle partner’ role, something the insurance industry has achieved with tremendous success.

New opportunities
According to IDC, an enterprise approach to Digital Transformation is likely to become a better option for banks as it prepares them to change the way they currently use technology and allows them to build a technology platform that can meet present-day and as-yet unknown future business challenges.

But for that to be truly effective, leadership structures driving Digital Transformation need to focus on three key aspects:
1) A strong commitment at an executive level, encouraging collaboration;
2) A solid digital core to the business that includes in-depth analytics and enable agile technologies; and
3) Openness to partner and collaborate with other players in the financial and banking ecosystem, including fintech start-ups and other disruptors.