The winner of the WTFFF 3D Print Business Mentorship contest is Kelechi Ojinnaka of Nigeria! Tom and Tracy Hazzard could not be more excited about the interesting challenges that face them as they help Kelechi build Afera3D into the largest 3D Printing service bureau in Africa. Kelechi is also a recipient of a Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) grant and a recent participant in their bootcamp, so he is getting mentored from all over the globe. His unique business and 3D print challenges are not just business launch-related because he also needs industry connections. Be inspired by Kelechi’s story as he shares how he’s overcoming 3D printing issues given only an average fourteen hours of power per day.
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3D Print Business Mentorship Winner
It’s the WTFFF?! Mentorship 3D-Print Business contest announcement. We have a winner. I’m sure you read where we talked about the three finalists and our conversations with their pitches. We’ve been talking about it, but we finally have a winner.
It’s going to be a challenge for us with this mentorship because it’s such a great distance from the winner.
For this particular winner, definitely.
It’s very worthwhile so tell them who the winner is.
Our winner is Kelechi. He is from Nigeria. We’ve talked about him before and what his business. He wants a 3D printer business service bureau in Africa. He wants to become the largest and the first. I applaud that. The reason we chose him is because he is passionate.
He’s a gung-ho. It’s also exciting to us because you lived in South Africa and understand the primitive nature of life on that continent a bit firsthand. We’ve also traveled a lot.
You say primitive and we don’t mean that by culture because it’s a very interesting and beautiful culture but primitive in terms of infrastructure.
In terms of modern and even having electricity in his home consistently and technology.
He has pretty much fourteen-hours a day on average of power.
Talk about a challenge, but we’ve also traveled quite a bit in Asia where things have been getting better every day. That country for a long time has been a bit behind the Western world in technology. We had power outages there all the time working there. We understand that a bit, but it’s of interest to us and challenging to try to help a business that is trying to grow in a different country that has some unique challenges.
I think that the opportunity here isn’t an untapped market. That’s attractive to anyone. It’s a market that’s untapped, but it’s a market with a lot of passionate young people like Kelechi. When you have that passionate young people who want to change their country and 3D printing is such a low-cost accessible tool or it can be, then there is a great right fit there. We like the right fit. When you see something that has the right fit, then you’ve got to go for it. If we can help him get there, then that’s silly for us to withhold that.
That’s exciting for us too. He’s got some tough challenges, but he’s got some unique opportunities with the low labor rate that’s there. It’s interesting how that may play in the dynamic of the 3D printing market on a global scale. One of the things we keep saying is 3D design skills and services to make things to 3D print are undervalued in general in the 3D market in the US and maybe even in other modern technologically speaking countries. The nature of their currency exchange and what is a living wage there may help them be competitive. It may be bad for people in other countries that are charging so much for the design services as they should be. It is an interesting dynamic.
It could be a competitive advantage. One of the things that we should mention is what was successful about him pitching us. He continually got in touch with us throughout the mentorship contest. First, we had a little problem with the entry form that we didn’t know about because he was our very first applicant. He let us know on Facebook. He sent us a Facebook message and said he had a problem. He didn’t get a referring page back that said that his entry was accepted. He asked if it was okay. I looked in there and unfortunately, his pitch was missing. He had to go back and reapply it. Instead of getting frustrated with us, he went back in and tenaciously applied again. He alerted us to it and alerted us to him and what he was doing. He was in our mind as we sifted through all the pitches.
Through that experience and also talking with him on Skype after he became a finalist, it was very clear that this guy is going to do whatever it takes to make this business work.
We hear it all the time from various entrepreneurship shows, you invest in people. This is a person you want to invest in. He has passion and skills. He’s in a situation in which he can make the most of the resources that he has too because the money goes a long way. He’s keeping his business lean and he’s doing all of those right things. More importantly, he’s out there reaching for help and that sometimes is even more telling.
It says a lot about someone’s character when they realize, they have a lot of skill and know a lot, but they don’t know everything. They’re willing to go out there and gain what they don’t have themselves.
I want to put a call out to all of our readers, to anyone interested in coming into the African market who might be willing to come in as a partner for bringing in printers, software, materials, any those things. If you’d like to be involved in this project with us and partner with Kelechi, we will facilitate that for you. Please contact us anywhere. You can go to our website, HazzDesign.com.
You can find us on Twitter and anywhere on social media @HazzDesign.
Reach out to us and let us know you’re interested and then we’ll be in touch with you.
We look forward to continuing to mentor Kelechi over the next six months. There will be times at which there are interesting subjects that come up through that and we’ll have those as a part of our show on an ongoing basis.
Whenever there’s a big general topic or a problem, a barrier that you come up against in processing your business in 3D printing, we definitely will share it with you because we know some of you out there are building your businesses too.
Stay tuned for that. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed learning about the winner of our contest.
Thank you for all the participants, especially Eduardo and Michael. You did a great job and it was a hard choice. All of the people who participated, we appreciate your interest in growing 3D printing as a general market and we wish you the best of luck. Congratulations, Kelechi.
Thanks and we’ll talk to you next time.
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