The first time we contacted Dr. Saeed about wanting to do a feature on him was about a year ago. He welcomed the idea warmly and asked us to send in our questions for his consideration. We did. And then there was silence. We waited and waited, but no reply came. We tried contacting him, over and over again, but the result was the same. We concluded he was no longer interested and we moved on.
But just a few weeks before we were scheduled to publish this magazine, when we were deliberating on essential contents, Dr. Saeed got back to us. There couldn’t have been a better time than then.
In this interview Saeed tells us about his motivation and where he sees his business in the coming future.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Saeed Jumah. I am a Dentist and graduate of University of Benin. I am the founder/CEO of The Smile Shop; a dental service provider. We provide dental clinic services and sales of dental hygiene accessories/products.
What motivated you to start the business?
I was motivated to start the business as a result of the lack of quality dental service providers in my community and the low level of dental health awareness in Nigeria. I wanted to create a platform to give people the best in private dental practice and also build dental health awareness in my community.
Did you consider doing a residency in dentistry before starting the clinic?
I had always known I wanted to do Private Practice. Residency was never an option I really considered.
Was the business in existence before you got the YouWin award? If yes, what was the scope of the business before the award and how has it improved with the award?
Before the YouWin award, I focused the business mainly on sales of dental accessories (tongue cleaners, toothbrushes). With the award, I was able to set up a standard dental clinic with modern equipment’s and also expand the sales of dental accessories/products.
How many people do you employ, directly and indirectly?
How was the procedure for applying for the award, did you have to know someone?
The procedure was transparent; I did not know someone while applying or even before receiving the grant award.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to expand the clinic operations to at least 5 more major cities in Nigeria within the next 10 years.
Do you think the number of beneficiaries for YouWin award should increase? And why?
Yes. To give more young people the opportunity to start up new businesses and multiply the impact of the pro-gram.
Beyond the YouWin awards, what else do you think can help SME businesses to develop?
Access to funds for expansion, training and networking opportunities/ forums.