Some of us out there may have heard about the “I’d Rather Be Self Made” project currently being carried out by our very own LINDA IKEJI. It is basically a self funded project that is aimed at empowering young girls to be financially independent by providing them with capital to startup a business of their choice.

WOW! You must think this is the best thing any Nigerian celebrity has ever done for their people. Wait until I pretty much dissect the story…

First of all, before I go into the story proper, I would like to humbly state that this article was not in any way written as a result of a personal vendetta or out of contempt. I am an opinion blogger and as you know, I write my non-biased, non-conforming opinion on societal matters.

So here goes my opinion:

In 2013, Linda Ikeji who is one of the most influential bloggers in Africa made a commitment to Nigeria where she promised to donate 10 (ten) million naira of her personal money every year to empowering young girls who have a great business idea but no available capital. She promised to provide the capital needed so as to enable the girls become independent and in her own words, “stop sleeping with men for money”. Read it here.

Now I don’t have a problem with Linda helping her fellow Nigerians. I think it is a beautiful and selfless act. After all, ten million naira is a lot of money to give away to people that are not even related to you. That is hands down philanthropic behavior!

Here is what I have a problem with: THE WAY SHE DID IT!

For the first half of this year, Linda gave out 5 million naira to a total of 15 girls who were the beneficiaries of the first half of the project. She received business proposals from over 800 girls across the nation. Then cut them down to about 50 after proper scrutiny by a panel and finally shortlisted the proposals to 15.

One of the girls got 400k startup capital. Others got 300k, 200k and 150k.

Let me reiterate that to make my point.

Some of the girls got ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND NAIRA as startup capital for their business. For our foreign readers, that is LESS THAN SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS.



Now I ask you all to be very honest with yourselves. Is there really any profitable business in the entire world (talk less of Nigeria) that you can start with 150k? Do you really think this is a reasonable investment?

Rather than divide the 5 million naira between 15 girls, don’t you think it would be a lot better to reduce the number of the beneficiaries to about five or less? That way when you split the 5 million amongst them, it comes up to about a million naira each.

Now one million naira (over $4000) is a substantial amount of money that can be used to startup any type of business.

I don’t mean to be pessimistic but I highly doubt anything tangible can come out of this giving the high cost of renting a shop and the outrageous prices of goods.

Even if they opted for a business that doesn’t require a place of operation like selling human hair or clothes for example, is 150k really enough to buy supply of clothes or human hair? Unless you are buying OK (okirika) clothes then you might have a shot. But how exactly are you going to become “Self Made” from selling OK? Or isn’t becoming “Self Made” the sole purpose of this project?

Chances are that 98% of these girls will not succeed not because they failed to try but simply because they find themselves at the same place they started off (with little or no capital) even after being a beneficial to Linda Ikeji’s “I’d rather be Self Made” project.

Linda my advice to you is that for the next batch of beneficiaries, kindly put this into consideration and reduce their number so as to enable the capital you are giving to them be sufficient enough to even start up the business. Remember, the major reason why 98% of SME’s fold within a year is due to “LACK OF SUFFICIENT CAPITAL”.

However, i must thank you Linda Ikeji for even having this initiative and I say MORE GREASE TO YOUR ELBOW!

Do you think Linda got it right with the large number of beneficiaries to her project?

Feel free to comment, ask questions, share your opinions and suggestions.

For instant email updates on recent post, click the “Follow” icon on the side bar or follow on Twitter @alocovivavoce1. You can also join the “A Loco Viva Voce” group on Facebook and follow on Instagram @alocovivavoce

PS: Words are an expression of opinion; WRITING is SPEAKING!



45 replies »

  1. Lmao! This is beyond hilarious! I never really thought much about the Self Made project by Linda Ikeji, but with the way you have dissected it has thrown more light on the issue. Truth be told, 150k is ridiculous to start a business in Nigeria BUT I wanna assume that these panel of judges must have put into consideration the kind of business that was being proposed and the amount of money needed to sufficiently kick off the project. In this case also, we must assume that these businesses were either hair dressing, recharge card selling or pure water selling business. That is the only way this 150k seed capital might make sense. But like they say, half buns is better than none! Good job Rani!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment Isioma. I do agree with you that half bun is better than none. But Linda best look into this so she doesn’t end up wasting her hard earned money helping people through the wrong means.


      • Get your facts right before you post.

        Linda only gives you what you ask for.
        Some people need as little as 50k to start up their business, while others need more. Everyone was awarded according to what they stated in their business proposals.
        I know this because i was part of this years beneficiaries. I got 700k, some 500, some 250 and the least was 150k cause thats what they asked for.

        Thank you


    • I totally agree with you isioma because I want to believe that the variation in startup capital reveals that those girls needed a certain amount to startup a business of their own. As I am, I need only 200k to start up a business of my choice. Which I will get 60-100% profit back which may vary. Business ideas vary and her capacity is limited and also she’s trying to reach more people. So, for me, I think she’s doing a great job.


      • Oh wow Grace! Thanks for your comment. You should totally prepare a proposal in lieu of when Linda calls for Batch B. She is giving out another 5 million naira to a bunch of girls before the end of the year.

        So since she is giving out exactly what you need then you should definitely apply. I wish you all the best.


    • Hi Kike. Thanks for your comment. No I didn’t read the proposals but off the top of my head, I cannot think of any lucrative business that requires 150k startup capital. If you can, kindly enlighten me.


      • Well i pretty well know if you want to set up a soap making business, 150k will be too much to start with. Just to buy things and you can make over 50% to 80% profit on that. Na small small na.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Interesting! I definitely didn’t think of that. So that tells me that her project is probably only open to people with a not so broad business idea that require very little capital. Then maybe she should say so!


  2. Linda has done her bit, may be you and I can add ours and with that our world would become a better place. Kudos Linda Ikeji and God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you Wale. Linda is trying to reach out to as many people as she possibly can, hence the large number of beneficiaries.

      I really hope other celebrities join in and do what they can to help society. It will be easier on our dear Linda if she doesn’t have to carry the burden all alone.

      God bless her indeed!


      • U sound like u trying very hard to just bring her down..

        Oooo… u dint knw there are businesses that 150k cud b use for.. u really must be from a wealthy home where billions are made monthly…

        2 to 3 diff ppl stated up there u cn also start giving if u feel wot linda is doing is too small… u stylishly pushed to d celebrities… how much dis u use in starting ur own blog??

        For her to have given sum 500k, 400k 150k, then u shud knw dere must hv bin an evaluation of wotever buisness plan proposed.. not every1 needs to start big… not every1 needs to hv a 1million b4 being successful..

        Even after sum said dere re businessea that doesnt require up to 50k, u still went on giving annoying talks… mtshewwww…


  3. I go back and forth on how i feel about Linda Ikeji. I read her blog pretty frequently, but sometimes she posts stuff i would call a non new. Also I understand that she makes money from advert (as she should), but I don’t like when i see too many of them in place of actual news that i want to read. That being said, I think she is trying to reach more people instead of less. So rather than 5 people getting 5 million, 15 people did. Therefore, even if those girls aren’t getting enough, I just care that a Nigerian celebrity gives money back. As you know Nigerian celebrities can be annoying. With the exception of Don Jazzy who frequently gives money to fans, I don’t know anyone else that appreciates fans instead of rubbing our noses with their success. What we get instead is a picture of a new house, or car, or watch with hashtags like #blessed #Jesuschild or most annoying #hardworkpays. Some even go on and on about how God blessed them because they worked hard. Well boo boo, don’t want to take away from God, but he used us to bless you. If we hadn’t watched your crappy movie, or listened and bought your dumb song, God would have had to find a more difficult way to bless you. As I say that, I understand it’s their money and they can do what they want with it. So again, I didn’t really consider what the girls are getting and what that can do for an actual business, but Linda tried and I’ll make this a plus for her.


    • Very interesting point Lydia and I must say that’s the angle a lot of Nigerians are looking at the entire initiative from. But all I can say is that Linda best look into the project’s “self sustainability”. Otherwise she may just be wasting her hard earned money and no business minded person would want that. BTW lol @ #Jesuschild. Our Nigerian celebrities can be quite dramatic on social media.


      • Oh btw that was non-news but i am sure you figured that out lol. And to your point she might just be wasting her money but again better her than me… says the pauper. lol


  4. Posts like this remind me of that popular Ebenezer Obey’s song titled “The horse, the man and his son” Never try to satisfy humans, just do your best at what you are convinced morally or otherwise is the best


    • Hello Anonymous, I totally agree with you about humans being insatiable. But personally, this is not about being insatiable.

      Imagine if at the end of the year, all the people she gave 150 and 200k did not make anything out of it and ended up squandering the money, do you think she will be motivated to bring out another TEN MILLION NAIRA next year?

      Then imagine if she reduces the number of beneficiaries to 5 and each of them are able to successfully start a business with their ONE MILLION NAIRA. Which of these two do you think she would prefer?

      It’s not about giving out money. It’s about the people she’s giving the money to actually making use of it. Otherwise, her aim is defeated as no one will become “Self made”.

      Then naturally, she will end up quitting the project because no one wants to give away free money with no result.

      My point is that she should look into it and possibly prevent this negative outcome. It would be much more beneficial to us if she continues the project for decades to come as opposed to shutting it down due to lack of self sustainability.


  5. 150K would go somewhere. It might even be enough. At the very least it’s 150K less money than you need to source for.

    And for a fact there are more failed businesses than successful ones. Probability dictates that even if 15 girls got 10 million each, not all would succeed in the end and there would be varying levels of recorded “success”.

    It’s her money. I think she is allowed to give it out as she sees fit.

    In retrospect 150K is quite a sum, if you are comfortable with humble beginnings.


    • Thanks for your comment Teliov. The key words are “humble beginnings”. It seems more like the project is intended for small scale business that require very little startup capital.

      But permit my misconception. I simply assumed the “title” of her project spoke for itself. And we all know to become “Self made” might require a little more than 150k capital.

      But like Kike said in her comment, “na small small”


  6. Interesting.

    I don’t visit/read her blog, unlessba friend sends me a link on something they think might interest me, so I haven’t heard of the project before now. However, I think it is really awesome.

    It will amaze you how much 100k could do for one person to start up a business. It is a lot a of money for quite a number of businesses in Nigeria right now. I’ve seen people beg for 50k for businesses that worked, and they’re doing well and expanding.

    There used to be a page in Business day (I stopped reading it so I don’t know if it’s still on) that had requests for people that needed capital for their businesses. For the short period I read it, I don’t remember seeing anyone that asked for up to 200k.

    So I think she’s doing quite well with it.


    • To be honest Syca, I think I need to tap into the minds of these people that came up with good business ideas for such little capital. Because I really cannot seem to think of anything at all.

      Maybe you’re right and maybe there are lots of businesses one can start with 150k. I guess I’m probably thinking about it from a large business idea perspective and this requires a smaller scale hence the low startup capital.


  7. First of all, I would like to absolutely commend Linda for such an initiative. Most of our celebrities and those in higher power should key into initiatives like this to alleviate poverty; no matter how little.

    With that being said, maybe Linda chose to fund the really small scale businesses like hawking pure water and biscuits, frying akara, cooking booka,opening Kiosks etc.

    However, I think that those brainy enough to write business plans and all of that, in my opinion should be looking at start up capitals from AT LEAST N1 million. If the vision of the project is to alleviate poverty, then I would humbly suggest she share the money between at most 5 people, of which she would hire a team that follows up on them and ensures that the money is well spent, from that she can encourage those she has helped out to contribute to the alleviation of poverty.

    I, for one, enjoy it when those I help out are in positions where they help other people out. It motivates me to do more and more.

    My 2 Kobo 🙂

    The Naija Teacher


    • I can not agree with you any more Mama Naeto. If the aim of the project is actually to alleviate poverty like Linda claims then there’s NO WAY a business that requires 150k startup capital is the right way to go.

      She must restructure her entire approach the the project. Otherwise, she might not like the outcome in the long run.

      Having 15 extra people hawking pure water and frying akara on our streets DOES NOT in away solve the problem of poverty or unemployment talk less of making anyone “self made”.


  8. Honestly, I see this act of philantropy as a publicity stunt. Many people have given out much more money without making it a head line. No amount is actually to small to start a business but the real point in al this is
    1. to make sure a comittee or something is put in place to make sure the money is used for business and not frevolities before another 5M is given out
    2. To ensure the money is given to people who dont need it e.g ladies who receive 100k as salary or alawance normally


    • Thank you for your comment F.F. As you must know, Linda Ikeji is a favourite amongst our Nigerian celebrities so I choose to give her the benefit of the doubt with regards this project.

      However, no one likes to waste hard earned money except the project was intended to be run for only one year.

      Otherwise, she has to look into this properly. If not, she might as well go to the nearest junction and hand out wads of cash.


  9. I strongly agree with ur position to reduce the beneficiaries. That way the start up capital is much more substantial and the aim of the initiative can be achieved. Secondly we all know Nigeria is a tough place to start up businesses and Linda is doing are own bit to empower as many as she can within d confines of her finances. I suggest other people should support Linda financially and buy into the project or start up a similar projects.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment Eddie. I think majority has the vote here.

      Linda we can’t all be wrong. Reducing the number of beneficiaries may mean reaching out to less people but it also creates a better chance of success to the chosen few.

      At least put it into consideration.


  10. Another suggestion is since Linda gives out 5million twice a year she can accommodate the low capital with 5mill and the other half for those who require more capital. That way she reaches out to both ends


  11. First, i just want to qoute one of your comments

    ‘to be honest syca, i think i need to tap into the minds of these people that came up with good business ideas for such little capital. Because i really cannot seem to think of anything at all’

    The fact that you cant think of anything at all doesnt mean others are not thinking or that a viable business that requires that amount(150K) of capital does not exist. I believe your opinion is highly fallacious. I have seen and known people who started a very good business with far less. That’s why its called business ‘you use something small and turn it to something big’ by the way you are sounding like that guy in the Bible that was given 1 talent and went to bury it.

    You talked about giving 5 people 1 million naira each, wait is it oil well they want to buy? When 800 women submitted proposals you talking about giving only 5 people? You want the rest women to curse you right?

    If i was part of the panel screening proposals, i’m sure i’ll consider background(family members willing to help),business type, your start up capital base(the amount you already have) , the viability of business(how quick are you expected to start earning,rate of turn over) location of your business, etc. So just giving out 1million is a statistical/business errorno matter how much you have to give.

    So many things i should say,i dont even read her blog but i damn well know whatever she’s doing for this ladies is something worth emulating.


    • Thank you for your comment naijacarrot. But remember at the beginning of my post, I stated that this article was in no way written as a result of a personal vendetta or out of contempt.

      I am actually an ardent Linda Ikeji supporter and it is this ardentness that brought about my current opinion all because I of all people would hate for my dear Linda’s money to more or less go to waste.

      Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong. Only time will tell. But I would hate and so would Linda if the reason their business(es) doesn’t flourish like 98% of SME’s don’t (as stated in the article) is due to LACK OF SUFFICIENT CAPITAL.

      I wish them all the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hello there,

    Apologies in advance, this is going to be long.

    I followed a link from TNC to this blog, and I must say this is a very disappointing read. I don’t think running an opinion (see definition) blog is a reason not to put in little effort in getting proper details for articles. Some people will just come here, read, and it’s become a creed for them. I do believe writers have a responsibility to write based on facts.

    Opinion is defined as a personal belief or judgement that is NOT founded on proof or certainty

    I hardly write comments on blogs but this really got me upset and sad at the same time, hence, the comment.

    First of all, the project as described is towards “empowering young girls to be financially independent by providing them with capital to startup a business of their choice”, with a tag “I’d Rather Be Self Made”. I’m sorry, but if this is not clear to anyone, then it’s just sad.

    Understanding what it means to be financially independent/self-made is very important in the context used. In the simplest form, financially independence – “free from external control and constraint” with respect to finances (money), self made – having achieved success or recognition by your own efforts. I did read the post she talked about what inspired the project and that brings depth to the keywords I described above. She didn’t promise that they’ll become millionaires or billionaires. Financial independence using your own efforts to achieve success is what she’s giving them a chance at.

    Secondly, what people require to become financially independent (with respect to their business) differ greatly in terms of start-up capital. Small start-up capital does not in any was imply the business will be small or unprofitable, in fact, being able to reduce capital (which is essentially debt) and grow a business is what entrepreneurs are made of, not just about writing proposals that’ll require a million naira start-up. It is such a person I’ll recommend giving one million naira to either start-up another business or expand the existing one.

    It is worthy of note that this is why many businesses will never take off and the people will die waiting for a loan or some big break to start a ‘viable’ business. They are waiting for a “million naira” start-up which may never come, while turning their nose down at a 100k that will allow a humble beginning of the same business or even another.

    Thirdly, your comment “Remember, the major reason why 98% of SME’s fold within a year is due to “LACK OF SUFFICIENT CAPITAL” is baseless. Sufficient capital is a key part of the survival of SMEs especially in Nigeria, but it is NOT the reason why 98% of SMEs fold. A lot of SMEs fail right from business plan. There are many other factors which could lead to SME fold up other than capital. These include, but not limited to, government policies, competition, location, lack of knowledge and experience in the field, bad debt, lack of entrepreneurial skill etc., ultimately, it comes back to the entrepreneur – this you’ll understand when you see two or more businesses in the same environment and some succeed, others don’t. In order words, the (decisions of the) entrepreneur is the singular reason that accounts for the major reason SMEs fold. Ironically, one of the reason SMEs also fail is as a result of too much capital.

    Fourthly, not know any business that can start up with about 150k has absolutely nothing to do with Linda or the way she’s running her project, rather that’s all you. In fact, hearing that such was happening should make you wander which SMEs can start-up that way and actually do some level of research. FYI. I run a business that I started on zero capital,. The first capital expenditure on the business was spent on branding (which could have been done without). My charge per Client is from 400k going upwards of a million and minimum profit is from 60% of project cost. I might add, it’s not even full-time but grosses more annually than my full-time. Could it be made bigger? Yes. Do I need up to 150 to double income, clients? NO.

    Here’s the point, you can do business with little or no capital, just as there are business you shouldn’t even consider with some ‘’real heavy’’ capital.

    Lastly, my thought on Linda’s project is that it is a laudable initiative. As much as I’m a private person, and naturally won’t tell about what I’m doing to help the less privilege, I also understand the need for people to talk about what they are doing as this encourages other people to do same. If she keeps at this and it’s successful, you’ll find companies wanting to sponsor the initiative (hence more funds for more people) as most people prefer to join moving trains.

    Thank you.


    • Hello Mayowa, thank you for your comment. I’m going to address your reservations one after the other.

      1. I did do my homework before writing this article. As you said, some people prefer to be discreet which is why I didn’t quote anyone in my article. I actually happen to personally know one of the girls that is a beneficial to the project and she absolutely agrees with me. She said in her own words and I quote “It would have been a lot better if Linda gave out more money”. Now, if one of the beneficiaries who is directly affected could say this, why crucify me for doing same?

      2. Like I said in reply to naija carrot’s comment, I am an ardent Linda Ikeji supporter and I also read her post about what inspired the project. First of all, she needed a total of 500k to print 2000 copies of her magazine and bare in mind that she had already come up with over 300k and needed 190k balance. Moreover, need I remind you that this happened back in 2009/2010 before the recession. You can take a walk to a printing company now and find out how much it would cost to print 2000 copies of that kind of magazine in this recent time. Probably three times 500k if not more.

      3. According to the beneficial to the project that I know, Linda actually planned to give out much more money but it turned out some of the consultants cut down a lot and I’m guessing since she outsourced the project to them, she let them control and run it as they pleased so she doesn’t seem too bossy. My point is even Linda knows 150k is too little. Yet you antagonize me for thinking the same?

      4. I have a Professional Certification in Business Administration. It may not be a PhD from Harvard but believe me when I say 98% OF SME’S FOLD WITHIN THEIR FIRST YEAR DUE TO LACK OF SUFFICIENT CAPITAL. Even Linda Ikeji’s FM&B magazine struggled to survive all because she DID NOT have sufficient capital. If she did, she definitely wouldn’t have ended up getting arrested like she did.
      The problem is that Nigerians never plan for contingency. That is unforseen circumstances. Which is why they end up running into debts and their business ends up suffering.

      5. If there are really lots of businesses one can start without any capital, why don’t you enlighten us. Better still, tell us what your business is so we can be like you when we grow up 🙂

      In conclusion, I don’t expect everyone to agree with whatever opinion I have. But I am 100% certain that a lot of people (including the beneficiaries) are thinking the same thing that I am. And like you know, I write a non-biased, non-conforming opinion. So rather than just think it, I will say it or in this case, write it!


  13. Usually I do not read article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very great post.


  14. This reads like an ignorant post. 150k is enough to start many ventures. The fact that you think otherwise shows how out of touch you are.


    • Oh wow Layrite. Thanks for your comment. I guess all I can do is hope everyone comes up with 150k business ideas so that way there will be enough money to go round 🙂


  15. There are a lot of people out there that started business with 150k but without a shop and now they have shops, everything in life is planning. and programming your self.


    • I agree with you but you must also agree that it would be a lot easier if you have a decent amount of capital. The whole point of helping someone is to take the person out of struggle.

      But then again a beggar doesn’t have a choice. Like you said, it all boils down to planning and programming yourself.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s