Parental perception plays a vital role in the life of children, including their academic, professional and personal lives. The actions from that is usually both intentional and inadvertent. Onyinye was not immune to that system, so her upbringing informed her choices to build a fintech company.
As a child, Onyinye’s parents had a reward system for the children when they carried out household chores. When we spoke to her, she mentioned that their house was always spotless because the children always tried to outperform themselves to earn money.
At intervals, the children were asked to give an account of how they had managed the money earned, in view of savings and expenses. The most prudent child then got their savings account doubled. Onyinye describes this system as her earliest introduction to money management and value system.
Growing up, Onyinye was surrounded by entrepreneurs who were family members. This entrepreneurship spirit led her to trade, while in primary school to get money.
I sold sweets, cakes, pastries, etc. and for every income, I earmarked a particular percentage for savings.Onyinye Oguego, co-founder MyStash
Faith Academy, where she got her secondary school education, gave students a monthly purchase check they could use for miscellaneous expenses. Onyinye was known to manage the finance of other students.
I was like a mini bank, dispensing money for offerings, lunch and snacks.
It is, therefore, no surprise to know that Onyinye, alongside three others are founders of MyStash, a personal finance management platform for savings and budgeting.
“I think my upbringing influenced the way I think about opportunities and placing value on the work that I do. I never set out to create a savings platform. It feels like different points of my life have been leading to this point.”
Journey into tech
Onyinye’s professional journey into tech started from her course of study, Management Information System at Ashesi University, Ghana. She describes the course as a well-rounded one because it enabled students learn about business practices and also computer languages.
She then proceeded to the Nigerian University of Technology and Management where she met the co-founders of MyStash. They exchanged different business ideas before settling on a savings platform, as they wanted to make money a comfortable topic, instead of the hushed tones in which it is usually talked about.
Launched in August 2021, MyStash lets users choose a percentage of their spending or their earnings for saving.
These options are described as money moves and users can set mandates – choices on how much they want to be saved on their money moves.
“We have lifestyle based savings which is basically allowing you to save as you spend/earn so you don’t have to be more disciplined. Depending on what you set up. For every 1,000, you save 100. That way you don’t have to shuffle on your lifestyle in a bid to save. We also allow you have control over your mandate-money move.”
Influence of community
Communities are important because they’re often an important source of social connection and a sense of belonging. Participating in a community bonded by attitudes, values, and goals is an essential ingredient to having a well-rounded life.
While speaking with Onyinye, it is easy to see the impact different communities at different times have had on her. An alumna of Tony Elemelu Entrepreneurship Program, she describes her biggest takeaway from the program as the network she built. Having that network at an early stage of her journey made things a bit easier.
“For me, it was the network of people. We learnt a lot and something that also helped was the Abuja hub, a small intimate community we created that allowed us to grow. There were entrepreneurs at different stages so there was experience to draw from. My biggest win from that experience is the people I met.”
Onyinye’s mother studied banking and finance, but is currently a fashion designer. In this case, she describes access to her mother’s network in that sector as a privilege.
“One solid foundation I’ve had is my relationship with my mum and the access to the network that she has. Learning from those people has proven really helpful in my journey into fintech. I can pick up the phone and say oh Mummy, I need someones advice and she connects me to the right person. It has truly been a privilege because what are the odds that I have access to the right people at the right time.”
MyStash was recently one of the selected startups for the Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) program. Being accepted to the program automatically qualifies the startups for the grant of $10,000. Selected startups of the WE4A initiative will also enjoy three months of personalised support by an entrepreneur-in-residence that will provide hands-on support in the growth of each startup.
For Onyinye, the process leading up to the selection for the program was the exciting part. Over one month into the program, the impact of the program can already be felt.
The classes are very relatable and actionable. It is a game changer. Usually, we learn so much and never implement. But being in this program, they have given you everything you need to implement and all you have to do is act.
With the grant gotten from the program, the startup is going to invest in its product and talent acquisition to enhance efficiency.
“We have over 5,000 users now. We know that people need, like and enjoy our products but we need to be able to create a seamless product. That’s the goal. We want to expand our engineering team and ensure that the product is top notch.”
Only available in the web version, MyStash app will be available in the second quarter of this year, with more interesting products in the works.
Positive role models influence our actions and motivate us to strive to uncover our true potentials and overcome our weaknesses. Onyinye wanted to be a ‘big woman’ like her mother and that was her motivation to take maths seriously, a subject that eventually became her favourite.
As a woman in tech, Onyinye says seeing other women succeeding in the industry is a game-changer. Although she has knowledge of coding, she does not do it as she has found her own niche.
Her first job out of school was as a consultant in a management consultant firm. During her time there, she was able to look at businesses objectively and help them improve. In tech, she has continued down that path as she has discovered that it is where her skills are most valued.
It is an interesting time to be alive, to be a woman and to be a woman in tech. There are so many opportunities for women in tech. The game changer is seeing women do it and succeed at it.
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