Achenyo Idachaba-Obaro is a Computer Scientist turned Social Entrepreneur. She is also the Founder and CEO of MitiMeth, an award-winning Social Enterprise transforming waste and building livelihoods through the transformation of water hyacinth, typha grass, banana bark, coconut shells and bamboo culms into useful,  aesthetic products.

Her passion lies in rethinking, designing and producing unique home décor, art décor, gifts, stationery, baskets, fashion accessories, dining-ware and rope from these environmental menaces and agricultural residues.

Achenyo discovered water hyacinth which has been a persistent aquatic weed infestation problem in Nigeria and saw that as an opportunity to practically express her message on converting waste into something beneficial. It wasn’t difficult for her to choose crafts because it requires less capital to start and the technicalities involved are minimal. She thought it was a wise move to start small, have physical, marketable products and have economic proof that would serve as motivation to people who want to learn how to transform the waste in their environment to substantial and beneficial products.

Along the entrepreneurial journey, set realistic expectations. Disappointment is a given and so are detours. Being resilient and agile are essential attributes to have as an entrepreneur.

With over NGN17M in wages transferred to 100+ home-based Artisans, MitiMeth is impacting lives and the environment for good and has  received recognition and favourable coverage from organizations

They have received accolades including the 2015 Tony Elumelu Foundation Award, the 2014 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, the 2013 YouWIN Award, the 2013 Local Raw Materials Content Award.

As an entrepreneur, Achenyo has learned several valuable lessons on the journey to significance and impact at MitiMeth. Here are some of the valuable lessons:

  1. For those who want to embark on the entrepreneurial journey or who are already on the journey, weigh your options carefully. Think through them, reach a decision and stick with it. Know your risk tolerance levels and take a calculated risk. Be confident and just do it! You do not want to look back several years down the line and wish regretfully that you should have done it.
  2. Prepare for the journey. Research the idea, solicit advice as to the potential of your business idea from as many sources as possible: friends, family, colleagues, business associates, or any industry specialists you may have access to. Map the trip (write a business plan, apply to incubators, join network organizations and events, embark on professional development and training, “give-away” services and sample products, form partnerships, assemble the right team).
  3. Enjoy the journey. Pace your business and don’t run ahead of yourself either due to peer pressure or ill-informed advice. Don’t drive more miles than your business is capable of handling.
  4. Refuel along the way and don’t allow your tank to get dangerously low. Retreat every now and then to rejuvenate. Self-care is important. Make stops along the way to make sure you are still on the right track (take stock and evaluate the business to ensure you are meeting objectives and you are working towards the vision and mission of the business).
  5. Celebrate your achievements.
  6. Know that there’ll be unanticipated diversions along the way (like a change in government policy, a recession, a pandemic etc). Identify those potential threats to your business (your SWOT analysis) and devise ways to mitigate the impacts. Don’t panic or get overworked about the diversions. Make the most of the “distractions”. Focus on the positives by making lemonade out of lemons!
  7. Take it all in.

From inception to date, MitiMeth has trained over 400 women from communities across Nigeria and Ghana to make eco-friendly home décor and lifestyle products from these natural fibres. She is passionate about creating employment opportunities through sustainable textiles and accessories from renewable materials.