Uche Eze of Bella Naija is one of those rare species of Nigerians that have added color to being a Nigerian.
Born Uchenna Jennifer Eze, she is fondly referred to as Bella Naija.
The Story of Uche Eze of BellaNaija
Uche Eze is only 28 years old this year (2011) and has achieved a lot of success.
She was rated #22 of the Top 100 people, places, events and things that shaped 2008 by PUNCH.
Uche Eze was a 2010 Future Awards nominee for “Best Use of Technology”
She was also given Outstanding Contribution to Fashion Communication Award at the 2010 Africa Fashion Week held by Africa Fashion International (AFI) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
She was featured on Oprah Winfrey show, Beauty Around the World, in February 2010 along with stars like Jessica Simpson, Lisa Ling who also talked about beauty trends in their localities.She was interviewed by Isha Sesay for CNN i-list in September, 2010. Watch the video here – (You can also read the transcript of the interview here).
In January 2011, Uche Eze emerged a finalist of Future Awards’ “Young Person of the Year”.
Her company, BainStone, was chosen as one of 50 high potential Nigerian SMEs and awarded a British Airways Opportunity Grant.
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Uche Eze’s Journey to Entrepreneurship
According Uche Eze, Bella Naija began as a time-filling hobby. During the little break she had between graduation and resumption of job, she began to blog to fill those boring moments.
Being a big lover of fashion, she started by posting scanned magazine articles, pictures and interviews of Nigeria fashion personalities. She continued this under a disguised identity until she began to have over a million hits every month and decided to unveil herself before the media would expose her in a negative way.
She founded BellaNaija in July 2006 and served as the Managing Director and Founding Editor. She later established Bainstone Limited in 2009 which has other arms apart from BellaNaija.
The Background of Uche Eze
Uche Eze began her schooling in Nigeria before moving to Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario in Canada where she graduated with distinction in 2006. In the past, she worked at Shell Canada, Cadbury Middle East & Africa Unit based in the UK, and Cadbury Nigeria.
The Mind of Uche Eze Exposed
It is very obvious that Uche Eze has always had a large heart (a heart for huge achievements) from her interview with Isha Sesay for CNN i-list. She said,
“We are building before us … it is just a first step into something much larger.”
She reiterated her dream when she told LADYBRILLEmag.com that,
“Bella Naija’s vision is to provide relevant African content online to inspire!”
Interestingly, Uche Eze revealed that she always prepares for the worst when she said,
“When I moved to Nigeria, I did not move with ‘rose colored glasses.’ I knew the issues and prepared for them by crafting a solid business plan and PRAYING!”
From experience, it was easy for her to advise upcoming entrepreneurs that,
“There is no fixed career path. My advice is to look inwards, find your passion, find your niche and go for it! Don’t over-think it. While you are ‘thinking’ someone might launch your idea.”
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