One evening in August, I got a call from my mentor, “Doc, there is an Access bank pitchaton competition on going, I think you should apply”. I told him, I knew about it because I bank with Access bank and it has been on the mobile app and I even got mails about it. He said, I should apply. I told him that, well, I don’t think it will apply to my business. And by the way, that was last day of application, August 9th. He just said, “Chinasa, this is 9 pm, you have 3 hours before deadline”. So, I applied.
Fast forward to August 26th, I got a mail. I was in top 500 out 36000 application. Ariella Health and Fitness ltd was chosen. Initially, I thought it was scam, until I received a call from Access bank, then I knew it was real. I could not contain my joy.
We were directed to upload 2 minutes videos pitching our businesses. I went ahead to do that immediately and submitted.
September 2nd, I got a mail. I was among the 50 people selected out of 500, to go for a mini MBA with IFC in partnership with World bank. I had not heard of IFC before, so I read up on them and found out they are one of the top financial institutions in the world.
The classes where held in Lekki. And I live in one extreme on the mainland. I left home at 5am every morning to attend these classes. Some days I too a bike ride from the island to the mainland just to meet timings and deadlines. Some days too, I didn’t see my girls for 3 days in a row. Well, I saw them asleep. 😊 And I am so glad I sacrificed all that. These classes changed my life and changed Ariella Health and Fitness Ltd as a brand. The facilitators, Mrs J and Baaba, and every other member of the women banking at Access bank were just WOW!. They were AMAZZZZING! Major shout out to Funbi and General S!
The classes were in two phases, and between the phases, was a mentoring session with our coaches. It was an intense session. Very intense but totally worth it. And it was FREE! Imagine that! Kai Access bank blew my mind! With FREE food too 😊
The networking was out of this world. We were in 2 cohorts of 25 amazing women in each. And, the ladies in my cohort were awesome! Ariella fitness got referrals already from the community. We shared a bond. Women supporting women. We had a real bond!
I thought I knew business until i started this mini MBA. It was a learning and unlearning experience.
On pitch day, we pitched to 3 judges. The days before I had literally held two of my mentors at a surrender-point! I have never pitched to an investor in my life. So they tried their best to train me in the shortest time possible. It felt like final exams in Medical school. I went in for my pitch and it was an added learning experience for me. From the questions that were asked me to the important points I missed. However, I came out content. I had done my best at the particular time. And there is always room to be better.
Today, we graduated from the program, and 3 winners emerged.
No, Ariella Health and fitness didn’t make it to the top three, but I know I won! I won because I was one of the 50 amazing ladies out of 36000 amazing winners. I won because the top three ladies are game changers and roof breakers in their fields and I am so happy for them. I won because, this experience is one that can not be forgotten in a short while.
I have come to appreciate every thing that happens in my life, that it happens for a purpose; be it good or bad. I have learnt so much in the past eight weeks and I believe it was all for a purpose
In the spirit of paying it forward, while on the road to dying empty, I am open to sharing the little knowledge I have learnt, with fellow female medical doctors and medics that are entrepreneurs like myself, who desire to learn more about their businesses and to Yes, Nigeria can and will grow and we will thrive in our Nigeria.
Thank You Access bank, Thank you Women community. Thank you.
Watch out for ARIELLA HEALTH AND FITNESS LTD! We are changing the health space through Lifestyle Medicine. We are set for greatness! Health is Wealth!