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In this conversation, Ngozika Victoria Onyekwelu shares her journey as an entrepreneur and the work she is doing with The Bright Future Project, a waste management and recycling company in Zambia. She discusses the challenges she has faced, including the lack of support and resources in Africa, and the importance of mindset and resilience. Ngozika also highlights the need for support and investment in her company and the initiatives she is working on, such as providing shelter and counselling for victims of gender-based violence. She emphasises the importance of following your dreams and not letting others discourage you. 

Key Takeaways

  • Follow your dreams and don’t let others discourage you.
  • Resilience and a positive mindset are crucial for success as an entrepreneur.
  • Support and investment are needed to make a positive impact in communities.
  • Gender-based violence is a pressing issue that requires attention and support. 
  • Offering affordable pricing for SMEs can attract more clients.
  • Future collaborations can lead to exciting opportunities for both parties.

Connect with Ngozika:

[email protected]


Désiré Mir • The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative

Website —> www.TILTcreative.agency 

WhatsApp —> https://wa.me/447955805340

Youtube —> https://tilt.ltd/yt

Podcast —> https://tilt.ltd/pod

Linkedin —> https://tilt.ltd/li

Instagram —> https://tilt.ltd/ig

Transforming Trailblazers from Meh to Heck Yeah!

Désiré, The Brand Maverick, is more than an international brand extraordinaire; she is a catalyst for turning aspirations into triumphs. 

Désiré’s work is a fusion of artistry and strategy, infusing your brand’s narrative with abstract creativity. She crafts a unique experience that resonates individually with your customers, seamlessly aligning with your business objectives. Her commitment to excellence is evident in a meticulous research process, an unwavering attention to detail, and an unrelenting pursuit of perfection, enhancing every facet of her work.

Born in the UK, raised in the Caribbean, and enriched by Indian and Persian heritages, Désiré possesses a unique perspective that sets her apart in the realm of branding. This cultural richness informs her storytelling, making her a potent communicator and a true unicorn in the branding landscape.

Known for her exceptional efficiency, Désiré’s accelerated work pace, propelled by intense hyperfocus, ensures high-quality deliverables in significantly less time. It’s as if her brain operates on rocket fuel, consistently achieving exceptional results.

TILT Creative Agency: Désiré is the force behind TILT Creative Agency, a brand consultancy tailored for service-focused B2B Gen-Z and Millennial solo/entrepreneurs, consultants, startups, and micro, small, and medium businesses. TILT offers an intensive yet cost-effective service to clarify messaging, define brand DNA, and refine voice for increased revenue, market visibility, and competitive advantage.

Her Brand Maverick Nexus sessions offer accessible options for those seeking improvement but are constrained by budgets. This includes a low-cost group option and a more involved level with a premium newsletter, bootcamps, and 1:1 WhatsApp support.

TILT.social: Désiré’s commitment to fostering a supportive entrepreneurial community led to the creation of TILT.social, a free-to-use entrepreneur social network. With over 10,000 like-minded users, this platform offers an advertising and algorithm-free space to connect and promote businesses and events.

Désiré is not just a brand consultant; she is a dedicated educator. She offers free branding tips and advice directly on WhatsApp and provides a free brand self-audit for entrepreneurs on TILT.social.

As a podcast host and prolific content creator, Désiré shares her insights through various channels, including social media, Youtube, The TILT Creative podcast, the weekly Elevate Your Brand free Zoom session and the Idea to Enterprise – Entrepreneur Think Tank live event on LinkedIn. 

With an active LinkedIn following of 23,000, TILT.social crossing 10,000 users in under four months, a WhatsApp contact base of over 25,000 people, and an email list of over 14,000, Désiré is a digital influencer with a substantial and engaged audience.

In her pursuit of elevating brands and changing lives, Désiré Mir continues to challenge the status quo, demonstrating that branding isn’t just a business endeavour—it’s a transformative journey.

If you want to work with her, use the contact points on the TILT Creative website (www.TILTcreative.agency) or her content portfolio on www.DesM.uk 


Transcript: AI Generated

let’s get to it. So, um, do you want to tell us your name, your company, a little bit about what you do? Sure. So my name is Gozika. My middle name is Victoria. And my last name is Onyekwil. I always give my first and my middle name in case people are not comfortable with my first name. So

PA Team @ TILT Creative (14:32.934)
And my company is called The Bright Future Project. We are a very small waste management and recycling company in Zambia. The company, the concept started in 2014, but I don’t really think you want me to run through all of that. You’ve probably read it on my LinkedIn, but we registered in 2016.

We didn’t start operations until 2nd of March 2020. And that was because all that time I was looking for investment. And it suddenly dawned on me that the more I was trying to look for this large amount of money, the further away my vision was going. So, and the more demoralized I was actually feeling. So I said to myself, let me start with what I have.

which was basically $30 and three clients. $30 for fuel, I borrowed a friend’s truck and we went to collect for three clients. And as the weeks progressed, more and more clients joined. We collect separated waste and the idea was to have our own recycling facilities so we can recycle the waste.

We wanted to compost the organic waste, turn the glass waste back into sand because there are currently no glass recyclers at all in Zambia. So if ever we get the chance to, we would be the first. Unfortunately, I was never able to reach the recycling stage because I just never had the investment, never had the team, never had a…

a proper financial advisor to help with, you know, funding, grants and all of that malarkey. And I was basically just running the company, you know, on a day-to-day basis. And we now have 80 clients, just over 80 clients. Wow, that’s amazing. Including the American embassy, the Irish ambassador, a huge business park.

PA Team @ TILT Creative (16:57.478)
In 2021, I actually had over 100 clients, but due to lack of capacity and bad service delivery, we lost a major client, which was a big shopping mall and a few others. But that’s always expected. So it didn’t really, it wasn’t something that really knocked me back. I’m very stubborn and I’m a very determined person.

So once I have a goal in mind, it’s just, I just go right ahead and I don’t get demoralized that easily. So…

PA Team @ TILT Creative (17:42.282)
During the whole process, the company evolved into consultancy. We were asked by Nando’s specifically to do an impact assessment on how their restaurants can use less plastic. We were asked to Lake Tanganyika to see how we can help the harbour.

minimise the amount of waste that’s in the lake. We were asked to do some proposals by Coca Cola and Nestle but I learnt my lesson. I was excited dealing with big companies, didn’t make them sign NDA or anything like that, gave them the proposals and off they went. Never heard back from them ever again.

Well, these are all teething, these are all teething things. And, you know, you’ve really got that entrepreneurial spirit about you. I absolutely love that. I love the stubbornness because I do think that stubbornness, that persistence, that insistence is really, really what we need as entrepreneurs. Yes. Yeah. Because even as a woman going into the waste sector.

I didn’t realize how cartel the waste management is. You can say some really nice, very, one of the directors of the company is a Scottish gentleman called Steve Taylor. And he was telling me the same thing. You can meet some really nasty people in waste management because it’s very territorial. So even going into it as a woman in Africa, you can just imagine the kind of responses.

I was guessing one gentleman just said, do you know what, I’m sure you’ve got better things to do. Why don’t you just go home and forget about all of this? And even the council, even the council, the municipality, they just weren’t being cooperative at all. So I just said to myself, you know, I don’t need any of these people. Yeah. Let me start and then let them see what I can do.

PA Team @ TILT Creative (20:01.002)
And then when they’re ready, they’ll come to me, which is exactly what they did. So occasionally I do give the council some advice, not too much, because there’s still things that I would like to barter from them. So we went into some consultancy, we get, I do presentations for the Ministry of Commerce and other ministries.

around the circular economy and innovation, because I think innovation is a very important aspect that Africa lacks. And when you use the circular economy, the green economy, and talk to people about the potential it has, you never know, you might be speaking next to Mark Zuckerberg, not the next Jeff Bezos, I go into rural areas and I teach young women

women, even young men, about the potential that waste has, the fact that waste is a resource and you actually can earn some kind of living from it. And I think just by talking to people, you can inspire people, you know, you don’t necessarily have to give somebody money or anything, you know, physical for them to make a success of their lives. All you need to do is just plant an idea in their head.

regardless of whether they have had a formal education or not. So I did spend a lot of time traveling around to rural areas, talking to organizations, speaking to women, speaking to girls especially, because part of our CSR is gender-based violence and helping girls who’ve been sexually abused there.

are no facilities available for women at all in Zambia. There are no shelters, there’s no counseling. The police don’t care. So, you know, if nobody cares, who’s going to care, you know? And if you’re trapped in a house with a bully and you can’t leave because you’re financially dependent on somebody, you know, it’s sad, it’s heartbreaking. So I felt it was important.

PA Team @ TILT Creative (22:24.954)
to teach them rudimentary business skills and rudimentary ways in which they can start their own businesses at home so that they can start generating income so if need be and they want to leave then they don’t have an excuse a financial excuse anyway to stay in the house so that really was um it was so that is it’s

It’s actually quite surprising because, you know, we, we sit in here in the UK and don’t realize how incredibly lucky and privileged we are here because we’ve got a lot of these services. We’ve got everything here. I mean, I know that we do come, everyone complains about the NHS, but they’re doing their best. But yes, overall, it’s an absolute privilege to live.

in a first world country because I grew up out in Trinidad and there are two women’s shelters that I’m aware of and there are some communities. But to be completely honest, it’s the community that actually pulls together and deals with stuff like that. So if you have somebody who’s being abused, then people, your neighbors will actually jump in. People do get involved. They’re not afraid to go.

Hey, you’re not supposed to be doing that. Or what do you think you’re doing? You know, and I think that’s the, my experience of living abroad and now coming back to the UK, it, you know, you, you kind of also get used to it and you do get comfortable thinking, well, you know, well, this is, cause this is now, this is now my, my new normal. Whereas you forget that there are countries out there that don’t have these kinds of systems in place.

where the police do not get involved with, you know, domestic abuse and sexual violence. Yeah. Especially violence against women. And it’s very sad. It’s very sad because they may catch a paedophile or a rapist, but all they need to do is bribe them, is bribe the police, you know, and they’re out in the same day.

PA Team @ TILT Creative (24:49.158)
And it just goes to show you the mindset that we have in Africa. And to be honest with you, the mindset of my own people is what disappointed me the most when I went there. It was incredible. Firstly, because of my accent, well, the fact that I’ve been privileged enough to go to the best private schools in this country.

you know, and I use that as an advantage. And people just think, oh, they just have these preconceived ideas of who they think that you are. And then you also have the cultural barriers as well. The man is the head of the house. The man owns his wife. The man can beat up his wife. There’s some cultures that allow paedophilia to happen. And

and such like. So, you know, it’s the minds that we have to change. And you can go on as much as you like about colonialism and so on and so forth. If you’re a slave in your mind, then you’re just a slave full stop. And once you decide to break free and to open your mind and to welcome ideas and not be frightened of change.

then I think Africa really has got a better chance of evolving, but as it is right now, our evolution is stunted. And it’s not because of colonialism. It’s not because of white people. It’s not because of foreign investment. It’s because of our own selves We are our worst enemies, our own worst enemies. And it was saddening, just the hatred between the people.

is what was depressing enough, but not depressing enough for me to not want to do what I was doing. And you know, No, I think sometimes situations like that give you a little bit of fire as well. It gives you a bit of fire in your belly to go, do you know what? I want to be the change. I want to push change in this place. I need to push change in this place. You have to. You have to push change. Why isn’t anybody

PA Team @ TILT Creative (27:15.902)
advocating for it. But what you have in Zambia instead are people wanting to drive big cars, people building mansions. The gap between the poor and the rich is just massive. It’s terrible. Yeah, I can relate to that entirely. It is exactly the same in the Caribbean where you’ve literally got, there’s no middle anymore.

It’s literally, it’s either you’re wealthy or you’re not. And if you’re not, then you are literally living in poverty. And I didn’t realize that I was living in poverty for most of my life out there until I moved here and was no longer living in poverty. And then I was able to look around and go, actually, this is what life, you know, really kind of should be. Not that I was-

even like well off here, it was just, no, this is normal. This is, I’m no longer fighting to survive every day. I’m now okay. Bills are paid. I don’t have to worry about, you know, if I have enough money for food on the last week of the month. That is, it is heartbreaking to see a large percentage of the world

that still lives like that in 2023. We’re moving into 2024. And I think we talk about climate change, we talk about all of that stuff. And the biggest, biggest issue that we have really is global poverty. Yeah, it is, it is. And what’s even worse is how the rich people treat the poor. When it comes to like,

domestic workers, you know, employees. It’s just incredible. It’s really incredible. It’s like the indigenous Zambians have stepped into the boots of the colonial masters and are just picked up, you know, where they left from. And it’s just, I…

PA Team @ TILT Creative (29:41.966)
For as much as I am a very stubborn woman, I have slightly lost my faith in humanity because I think that there are less and less good people out there. Yeah, I get that. You know, it’s very difficult to wake up in the morning. And from morning to evening, you’ve actually met somebody who’s actually pure, who wants the best for you.

who inspires you, who motivates you, you know, more and more, you know, everybody’s becoming more selfish. You know, everybody always has an agenda and you just never know what that agenda is. So because I’ve been through so much trauma from the hands of people, I am so weary now. And I’ve never been, ever since I was a child, I’ve never really had friends, you know,

Now I can say that my only friend is Jesus because I can’t see myself opening up to people and that includes family members as well because at the end of the day they may be your family but sometimes family can be the worst. They are the worst. They are the worst and you know I mean this year for me

I was actually, when I came back from Zambia at the end of 2022, I had to come back because I had micromanaged the company so much. My everything, my whole being was focused on the Bright Future project that I just completely neglected myself. And you know, I wasn’t controlling the lupus very well. So I had to come back and see my doctors.

and um

PA Team @ TILT Creative (31:44.126)
Usually I would be with my aunt because I’ve always, I mean, I was in boarding school, but when I wasn’t and when I was in the country, I would stay with my aunt. But she lived, she sold her house, bought a new one, and she was also squatting somebody else because her house wasn’t ready. So I went to live with their great aunt who just turned out to be so evil and wicked. I actually ended up a mess.

So from January to say March, I was in shelters. Oh my gosh. And we were sleeping in a different church. We would sleep in different churches every night. But during the day, you didn’t have anywhere to go. And you know, it’s really cold during that time. And my social worker found me a temporary shelter in northwest London.

from the end of March. And even there, you know, there’s murderers there, pedophiles there, rapists there, crackheads there, you know, as grateful as I was that I had a shelter, it still wasn’t something that brought much joy to me. But strangely enough, throughout this whole process, I just gave thanks every day.

Until this day, I give thanks for that experience because it opened up a whole new world to me. And I met the most incredible people. The kind of community and love and camaraderie that there is amongst the homeless is just absolutely unbelievable. And I’m still in touch with a lot of my friends. They still call me, you know, and I’m still in touch with them.

And it’s like, yeah, there’s a little family. I was the only woman in the group and we’re a group of 10 and the rest were gentlemen from Iran, from Afghanistan, from Eastern Europe, from the UK. And just listening to people’s stories as to how they ended up where they are, it was heartbreaking for me. And it left…

PA Team @ TILT Creative (34:07.871)
me feeling.

if I’m not doing enough, you know? Yeah. I’m not showing enough love. Because what people really want at the end of the day is to feel loved. And of course, everybody, I think that’s, that’s part of the human condition. It’s just, we want to feel loved and we want to belong somewhere. We are forever hunting for our tribe. Yeah. And you have to excuse me. I have to get my charger.

and for somebody to listen to your story. So if I can incorporate anything that I’ve been through this year into what I’m doing in Zambia for the women and the girls there, then that will be a bonus for me. So because counseling and giving somebody a voice.

and letting them tell their story is so important, just for somebody to be listened to and for them to feel that, okay, somebody is listening to me. Yeah. Is really important. And I feel that maybe that’s where my work really hasn’t been done yet. So I’m grateful. You’re young, you’re young, you’re vibrant, you’re an incredible inspiration and

I have no doubt that this is part of, that’s gonna be a huge, huge part of your future. And I mean, so- I don’t know. I’m going to be 46 in a few months. So- Oh, I couldn’t tell. Could not tell. But like, for those listening, I mean, you have an incredible story. You have literally seen every part of life. Like-

PA Team @ TILT Creative (36:02.403)
What can people do for those who are listening and who’ve been inspired? What can people do to support your vision?

Well, I’m looking for, I’m actually looking for investors for my company. I have equity available.

people that can sponsor the beginning of a shelter. I’m looking for counselors who are willing to come to Zambia and train people on how to counsel women who’ve been in violent relationships, girls who’ve been sexually abused. I’m looking for doctors who can at least come to Zambia two or three times a year and give a medical care.

Because unfortunately, you’ll find that a lot of the girls that have been raped end up with HIV or some horrible STD. And as I said, a lot of these, I mean, the medication is there, but when it comes to children who’ve been abused, they need extra special care. So I’m looking for any professional in that way.

that can help this become a reality for me and for the women in Zambia. And I should actually emphasise that it’s not just women, you’re getting more and more cases of men who are being abused in their home, more and more cases of boys being raped, you know. So it’s not just women and girls, it’s everybody.

PA Team @ TILT Creative (37:56.51)
and it’s people suffering in silence for no reason. And I feel that this is where my heart really is. When it comes to the actual Bright Future projects and the investment and the evolution of the company, we are currently looking at…

starting tree planting programs to so that we can take advantage of the carbon credits facilities that are there. And we also have MTN which is the equivalent of Vodafone or EE who want to work with the Bright Future Project when it comes to our environmental agenda and the workshops that

to women in rural areas on how they can, you know, generate businesses. But it’s not just about generating businesses. We teach them about the links between bad waste disposal and public health. We show them the links between landfills and climate change, you know, and then we go into the circular economy. We teach them that waste is a resource. Every bit of paper, glass.

plastic on the floor actually equates to something, it actually equates to some kind of money in some form. So yeah, so our workshops, you know, have really helped a lot of people actually. I don’t get paid for them, I just do them for free. And then the local hotel or lodge will put me up for free.

because of the work that I’m doing. So that’s really how I’ve been operating. As for our client base, it’s growing more and more, because yes, there are really big waste management companies in Zambia, but who of course are much bigger than me. You have to forgive me about this, something going on with my plugs.

PA Team @ TILT Creative (40:17.998)
There are very, very big waste management companies in Zambia, but they just take their waste to the landfill. Yeah, I’m guessing it either just gets buried or burned. Yeah, buried or burned basically. And they don’t seem to care. So we have a niche. We actually have a niche.

PA Team @ TILT Creative (40:47.178)
It grows. The big companies have realized that we have a niche and now MTN would like you to come on board. They’ve been quite busy in the last week because they had a competition that was happening, but this week we’re going to finalize on what they need, how they want to work with us.

and what the future holds, which is a very exciting project for me. So that’s something that keeps me going. And, you know, I feel very excited about tomorrow. We’re talking with a potential investor as well, which is which I feel lucky to really have found, to be honest. And he’s been in waste management for 26 years.

So he has some experience, that’s really good. He has experience that I need. I always knew that I couldn’t be MD forever. I knew that at some point I’d have to step down and let somebody who actually has the know-how to evolve the company. Because from my end, it merely just began as a passion when I was lying in a hospital bed. But I am ready to step down to be honest.

What would be your parting gift of wisdom for those who are listening? Like, if you just had, on a personal level, if you had one thing that you wanted to impart today, what would it be? My parting gift of wisdom is that people will always tell you that your idea is, oh, it will never work.

You know, oh, you know, people will make you feel like a dreamer, but what you realize, what you have to realize is that our dreams are big for a reason, and that’s because we’re supposed to act on them. Regardless of whether you succeed or not, the fact that you’ve tried in the first place goes a long way. So never let people, never let anybody, whoever they are, tell you that

your vision is not going to go anywhere or anything negative to deter you. If you have peace in your heart, if your vision and your dream gives you peace, then it’s the right thing to do. And don’t listen to people, just go for it 110%. Put your focus on it, be prepared to suffer, be prepared to find haters.

but that’s all part of entrepreneurship. You know, suffering is part of being an entrepreneur, unfortunately. And if you’re not ready to suffer, if you’re not ready to sleep hungry one or two nights, miss a few bills, then you know, have a zero balance in your bank account, then entrepreneurship is just not for you.

PA Team @ TILT Creative (44:50.382)
That was really well said and I cannot agree more. Oh, entrepreneurship is tough. So yeah.

PA Team @ TILT Creative (45:04.83)
Yeah, my family never supported me. They never asked me, you know, till this day, they’ll never ask me, you know, how’s your business going? They, they just don’t care because once people think that you’re a loser, you know, there’s nothing that you can actually say to them for them to, um, not to think that it’s only your actions. So actions speak louder than words.

So speak less and act more. Yeah, that’s for sure. I love that. I absolutely love that.

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