I have always been an advocate of variety in our growing entertainment and the leisure industry. Therefore, I am happy that some entrepreneurial Nigerians are beginning to put their money where their mouths are. So, when I stumbled on a synthetic ice ring at the Ikeja City Mall popularly, I was impressed.
Mrs. Ojikutu: owns the rink. We struck a conversation:
Sisi Calabar:: Congratulations on your innovations. Ice skating is unique in Nigeria and is the first?
Mrs. Ojikutu::: Yes, it is the first of its kind in the country.
Sisi Calabar:: What motivated this business idea?
Mrs. Ojikutu::: It came last year when I was thinking of what to do. I mean, the kind of business that I wanted to do. I just wanted a unique business that nobody has ventured into in the country. So, in other to get that, I traveled to Ghana in December 2013. I was looking around if there was anything I could tap into. At the end of the day, I didn’t see anything interesting in Ghana.
In April 2014, during Easter, I travelled with my family to Dubai. Thank God we have a friend there who took us around. We went to Dubai Mall, Emirate Mall and many other places. Doing this, I was on the alert to gather business ideas.
When we arrived at Dubai Mall, just moving around, my children showed me a skating ring. They said they wanted to skate. We went there. We met a long queue, people waiting to skate at the place.
But in Dubai Mall, they don’t skate 24 hours. They take time to freeze the ice to become block. You know it is artificial. It is after the freezing that they would just open the ring around 1pm. But what surprised me was that 80% of people on the queue were Nigerians. They were speaking Yoruba, Igbo and other Nigerian languages. When I saw this the idea came and I said to myself: if Nigerians can come here to skate, what about someone bringing it down to Nigeria? It would be fantastic! My children skated. We took pictures and had fun.
We returned to Nigeria. I discussed it with my husband. He endorsed it. But he asked me about the light to do the freezing since unlike Dubai, Nigeria’s power supply is epileptic. Nonetheless, after searching, I was introduced to this synthetic type of skating ring.
It does not require power. It’s a permanent material. To start, I wrote to the company in charge. And they agreed to do wok with me. Then, I searched for a location to place the ring. Fortunately, I got a place Ikeja City Mall (Shorprite). That’s how we came about this Philorem Ice Skating Arena.
Sisi Calabar:: What is the market target of the business?
Mrs. Ojikutu::: The market target are schools, children, adults and even dads and mums. It is a social sport.
Sisi Calabar:: What about the traffic?
Mrs. Ojikutu::: Traffic has been quite impressive. We started three months ago and we’ve been experiencing great turn out, especially from schools. They come for excursions and recreation. In fact, at weekends, this place is always as clumsy as markets. On Sundays too, we open here after 11am. I mean after church services.
Sisi Calabar:: The success of every business is determined by the future plans driving it. What are your plans for this business?
Mrs. Ojikutu::: My future plan for the business is to expand it to other malls across the country and also finally get to our own a site to operate.
Source: SISI CALABAR