Funsho Elizabeth Fagunwa is not the typical tech sis that sits in an air-conditioned room with bright lighting, a cup of coffee on her desk, a to-do list on the side, and a big monitor, with different code colours in a markup language.
Imagine a woman from a polygamous family who dropped out of school to pursue the closest thing to financial freedom she saw, an opportunity to explore and compete with the thick blood of men in their domain expansion, Computer village. That is who Funsho Fagunwa is.
The story of a university dropout who started a career in the tech field, selling phone gadgets. She found herself in a niche she wasn’t familiar with, with little to no gender-inclusive backing.
After spending more than 10 years in the field of sales, Funsho Fagunwa has created her success ground, expanding her services and today, playing the role of a consultant to starters also in the space and tech gadget lovers.
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Her journey into becoming a gadget seller in Computer Village
Funsho Fagunwa’s golden opportunity came during her undergraduate days at LASPOTECH, ten years ago. Being from a polygamous family and without serious financial support, Funsho started a recharge card business to sustain herself. While the business was not a very big one, it provided enough to put food on the table.
One of her customers urged her to join him as a one-time distributor of laptops at Computer Village, a paid gig. This was happening at a time when harassment by some law enforcement agencies was rampant in that location, especially for men. Until now, tech bros or guys with laptops continue to be the targets of such abuse.
As a woman, it is slightly different, making Funsho the perfect distributor for the business. However, a one-time business became like a sweet, savoury, flavoured dish on Funsho’s taste buds. She did not want to let go. Show me the way became her next line of action.
She decided to drop out of school, especially since her family struggled to afford her tuition so that she could concentrate on starting her business, Elizabeth Communications. Funsho’s family protested, but she was more motivated to make at least one aspect of her life succeed, and this initiative took precedence.
I sat down, checked the family nobody will raise me and I saw that, guy, immediately I left school… nobody can help me, I can only help myself…when I saw this opportunity I grabbed it as it is the surviving way for me…
However, money became a significant obstacle. Funsho Fagunwa was only able to raise less than ₦200,000 to start a tech gadget business in the computer village, the Lagos “Silicon Valley“. She could only purchase a space (not shop) by the roadside for ₦100,000 and a display case for ₦40,000, which was a huge sum of money ten years ago. Her first set of products, she collected on credit.
In no time, business began to move swiftly for Funsho Fagunwa, and soon after, she became more of a consultant for people looking to start a business like this or buy tech gadgets. She learned all about tech products and descriptions and followed up on trends in launching new products in the space.
Her struggle to fit in – in a male-dominated environment
As a young girl in her early 20s, Funsho Fagunwa wondered how her business life would be in a male-dominated environment.
Her family had advised her against the idea, claiming it would change her into a “tout“. But, Funsho knew what she wanted and, as a goal-getter, created a persona to blend in perfectly.
I change my voice because if you want to be a strong person here you have to act like a tout.
Her focus is far beyond the gender biases in the environment. Funsho has been more passionate about being successful. Although, she has faced some challenges, especially from the typical thug “agbero” which she claims was because of her gender, as her male counterparts were not harassed in similar lights.
With customers, it is instead a new experience for them to trust and try out the services of women in the space. For Funsho Fagunwa, most customers even prefer to patronize women as they believe their compassion and understanding is greater than their male counterparts.
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From grass to grace
Just two years in the business, Funsho Fagunwa had made enough money than she had expected. The life she had always hoped for was slowly becoming her reality. It was a surprise for her. At age 21, Funsho sponsored her trip to Dubai. She could afford the lifestyle, and she dove right into it.
At 22, she bought her first car. Since then, it has been back-and-forth, shuffling vacation trips between Dubai, Qatar, and Turkey; she could finally give herself all she ever wanted.
With 10 years of experience in the business, Funsho Fagunwa has established three more shops in the industry and other businesses out of the industry.
She has created a mini-empire, offering apprenticeships for young people to learn entrepreneurial skills and empowering them with the knowledge they need to excel in the tech gadget industry. She has over 7 apprentices at the moment.
Despite being the only dropout among her mother’s four children. Funsho claims she is financially better than most of her siblings. She also sometimes acts as a consultant for customers on what product works best for them.
Although, for some intellectual conversations that she sometimes gets lost in, Funsho always made sure to reach out to her husband, who is a graduate, to help her in the situation. But for what she does. selling phone gadgets, Funsho Fagunwa has grown to a pro level.
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