I first met Deroju at a Women in Business, Management and Public Service- Wimbiz (yea Wimbiz again) Roundtable meeting last year and we struck up a conversation. She told me she had been invited by her mentor and was curious to know what the organisation is about. I shared my experience with her and she told me how she was solid 9-5 chick, happy with being in the corporate world. She in fact stated that she had a lot of respect for entrepreneurs, and that she didn't see herself in that space. Fast forward, a year later, she literally took the plunge (no pun intended, lol) started her Swimming school while still at her day job. At the recently concluded 2017 Wimbiz Conference, she won a WIMBIZ Impact Investment Competition! Love, love stories like this. Caught up with her for a brief chat. Enjoy.
1. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Aderoju Ope-Ajayi, 9 to 5 Chick turned Entrepreneur...I have extensive experience in Sales, Customer care Management & Business strategy. I’m the lead instructor and Founder of Dolphin Aquatic Centre of which Dolphin Swim School is a subsidiary. I’m married to my heartthrob, Opeyemi and have 2 wonderful boys.
2. What’s the story behind the Dolphin Swim School, how and why did you start? I know there’s history there :
I’ve always loved swimming. This was largely influenced by my dad, the Late Coach Y.A Amodu. He was a swimming enthusiast and introduced me to this sport at a very early age. I started off from when friends and family will harass me to teach them how to swim and I quickly realized I could charge for this. It’s still wasn’t a crystallized business idea until this year. I also started because I want more women and children to feel safe and secure while learning this life skill, especially in the wake of subtle molestations and harassment that is prevalent in our times.
3. What do you do exactly at the Dolphin Swim School?:
We teach women and children how to swim in a safe secure environment with certified female instructors. We also have available competitive coaching for advanced swimmers and it’s our dream to have a swim team in the Tokyo 2020 & Beijing 2022 Olympic Games.
4. Why swimming? What do you think will stand the Dolphin Swim School out?
Our uniqueness is our staff, attention to detail and excellence in delivering our services. What we offer is not common and we ensure we treat each client as important to us and they are.
5.What are the challenges you have faced and currently still face?
It's more of finding a suitable facility we can use temporarily while we get ours ready.
6. Tell us about your achievements so far and the latest Award by Wimbiz and the Act Foundation. What events led up to you applying? there’s usually a story there...
I’m a FINA Certified Swim Official, I’m preparing to finalize my certifications in WSI (Water Safety Instructor) ; Lifeguard Trainer & First Aid, AED & CPR Trainer. And then my latest.. 2017 WIMBIZ Impact Investment Competition Winner.
The weirdest thing about the competition was that I wasn’t even sure of applying.. after speaking with a couple of friends I was encouraged to go for it. I did, preparing the business plan and the business pitch. My partner Busola Tejumola was very instrumental in helping me get ready. We attended the pitch and gave it 110% along with a secret weapon we want to unleash using Technology and I guess it was strong enough. It’s been all God in this amazing water walking journey.
7.Any word of encouragment for those starting just like you ?
- Be bold, be fearless, be hungry. Never stop learning and improving. Never be afraid to ask questions and put yourself out there. Evolve, Evolve, Evolve
We are definitely expanding into Abuja & Port Hacourt.. so ladies get ready.
We would also be starting the younger kids classes by mid year and by God’s grace move to our permanent site.
Find them on Instagram: Dolphin Swim School ng