Start-ups Network #2: Feat. Ukoabasi Ezinne, CEO and Co-founder of YAMI.

It is the end of the month and another Start-Up feature is live! It is one thing to start something you are certain will add value asides making you some cash but it’s another thing to find the people who will damn the challenges and bring your ideas to light.

Today’s feature is a one of such creative ideas that is set to get you to put on your thinking caps  for the next few minutes you will be spending here. Remember every startup today, can become a million dollar enterprise tomorrow.



IFL: Let’s meet you? Name academic qualification hobbies/interest, marital status, number1 item in your bucket? birth date

Zinny of YAMI: Hellooooo!

Name: Ukobasi Ezinne Maureen, CEO and Co Founder of Yami.

Yami is an online community based market platform, where users like you and i have the opportunity of monetizing our spare or barely used event related items. Now in a simple example, Many of us today in our homes have a million items useful for different kinds of event, which we barely use. It could be those utensils packed in your store, or for some of my ladies out there who are married, it could be their wedding gowns now laying idle in the wardrobe (of course nobody prays to wear a wedding gown twice lol). For the guys out there who own different types of sound systems, decks, games etc, whatever it is that can be used for any event, they are not left out. With Yami, you now have an opportunity of renting these items out, through this secured and safe platform to someone at an affordable price, to serve as a means of earning some side cash (what i call side hustle…..mehn everybody suppose get side hustle oh! the economy isn’t smiling) whereas providing affordable rentals.

Academic qualifications: I am a B.Sc Graduate of Microbiology and Biotechnology, and currently pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Computer Science

Hobbies and Interests: Hobbies and Interest Hahaha i like this part. Uhmm my hobbies includes engaging in different outdoor activities, dancing ( fun fact: once danced for 3hours nonstop without even realizing *hides face* ☺) , travelling and surfing the internet.

Marital Status: Single *winks winks* ….. I had to wink back ☺

She adds;

My interest spans into different areas of life, from Technology to Media & Beauty to Nature and finally to Charity/Volunteering. I have been so far lucky enough to be involved in these areas, both as a full and part time job. Also in the nearest future, I am striving to build bigger brands around these areas to expand what i already have now on the side. I freelance as a commercial model, Presenter and Beauty pageant/Modeling coach to aspirants. In my spare time if I am not doing something on a computer, i love volunteering to help youths and kids in any way i can.

Number one item on my bucket list? Haaaa this one, there are plenty items on my bucket list ohh! Where do i even start from *sighs* ermmm okay.. Number 1 should be under water Scuba Diving in Mexico.

Birthday: March 14th   Pisces baby.

IFL: What was your biggest challenge starting out and how did it transition from a simple idea to a business system?

Zinny of YAMI:  Phewww!

 Okay by now you should know that you have to grab your popcorn for this one

My biggest challenge starting out, which is still somehow a challenge is seed capital. You have the whole CAC registration, Web hosting, payment for our security features which is very important, because we made sure to inculcate some interesting features (Verification with BVN, Pre authentication of money at point of payment etc) which will compel a user to return these items when they rent from another user.

Another challenge has been environmental concerns. Gosh lightttttttt! During the time my team and I started out building this Web Application (Shout out to my founding team by the way Subomi Oluwalana, Nifemi Sola-Ojo, Deji Quadri and Ogban Ugot you guys are the real MVP’s) power supply was a major problem, even the fuel sef to buy and power generator to put on your PC was even a bigger problem. In fact eeh! I refuse to be frustrated in this country.

So Yami was inspired by my personal experience growing up. Then in my house my mum had and still has over 15 coolers, dozens of plates and spoons, table covers and a whole lot of different event items (which i think she acquired as gifts on her wedding and attending weddings ). They were packed in our store then and never used except for maybe Christmas, Birthdays (who is even throwing birthday parties for you every year? or Burials. Even her very own wedding gown was still in my house occupying space up until two years ago I told her I was going to detach it and use it to sew crop top lmao…LOL.

Well after graduation, you know that period of searching for a job and asking yourself “you sure say nobi my village people they do this “ ? lol I noticed that a lot of people around us then had needs for renting one or two stuffs, cos there’s always going to be something to celebrate, and specifically rentals summed up the majority of their spending. So gradually I started approaching them to tell them how i can rent these things to them at cheaper rates from those ones packed in our store, and of course who doesn’t like the idea of being able to get something that will still perform the same function at a very affordable rate? Slowly I started earning some little little money from it and in turn they were happy they had cut their initial high cost. In the end everyone was happy.

Fast forward to now, getting into technology and moving to a new location, i still noticed that same niche. In fact i think now there are more events unlike what we had then and due to importation, buying and renting almost everything brand new is you know, now high. So that was when the idea to create a simple online community based platform where anybody can use whatever event item they own as a means of making some money (No money is a waste trust me even if its 10 Naira).

You simply sign up to create an account, take clear pics of the item, upload IT, fill out the form on your dashboard and you are good to go. The very interesting thing about Yami is that security and safety is our major priority so you are required to include your security charge along with your renting/asking fee. Security charge will be returned to the person renting once he/she successfully returns what they rented, after the agreed date. Now don’t be sacred how this is even possible! Your money aint getting missing because your dear money will still be chilling in your account. We make use of a pre authorization technology feature which enables the platform have a very secured controlled access to ONLY!! the total required money you need for the renting transaction.

How cool is that guys?



IFL: How many small businesses do you own and are you looking to add more streams of income?

Zinny of YAMI: 

Well for now Yami incorporated is my major Co owned business and priority. it is a business that was born out of my passion to solve the problem of high cost of renting new items for events, supporting your finance and promoting the life style of reusing to reduce waste amongst Nigerians. Prior to this, i do own a small business which is my braided wig brand “Zee wigs “.

Baby girls check out my page on IG & Twitter @ziniex to treat you to a nice braided wig.

And yes in the future i am open to expanding and capitalizing on all the gifts which God has given to me.

IFL: Why did you venture into entrepreneurship? What’s the most advantage being an entrepreneur has afforded you? If you had a white/blue collar job will prefer to be on both ends?

Zinny of Yami: Venturing into a technology enhanced business wasn’t something that i initially planned, but you know, in life you have to be open to new developments.

The biggest advantage for me now at my level, is that i have learnt and still learning to analyze and be able to see things deeper than they appear. Managing my time is another thing i have become an expert at. Other than those my life is even busier now because i juggle a 9-5 job with every other thing going on in my life. But, i wouldn’t complain cause working for someone has taught me leadership and many other things.


Zinny of YAMI

IFL: What is the challenge you face in growing your business, that is peculiar to you by virtue of being a Nigerian?

Zinny of YAMI: Hmm lol ….  Some of the challenges peculiar to being Nigerian is the high dollar exchange rate to pay for web hostings. Being that Yami is a community inspired web application, we host our various servers  on very  reliable sources. This is to both ensure that our users identities are protected and their experience on the site  is seamless.

IFL: What is your number one secret of success that you strongly preach?

Zinny of YAMI: That should be always try to be innovative and find out what your costumers need and how they want it.

IFL: What misconception did someone ever have about you/your brand/entrepreneurs that you found yourself wishing you could change? (you know like setting the record straight 🙄)

Zinny of YAMI: Being an entrepreneur i must say isn’t all rosy as many would paint it to be. I haven’t even gotten to that stage where i can proudly call myself a full blown entrepreneur, but i believe its a process which am gradually owning.


YAMI online community


IFL: How old is/are your business? What are the future plans for your brand and what do you want your brand to be remembered for?

Zinny of YAMI: Well Yami as a brand of its own is a few months old(4). We’ve launched the first feature of the website. This is to allow users sign up and upload pictures of the event items they would be renting out. Being that we want to be the go to platform anyone planning any kind of event, be it  individually or as an event planner, we are calling on everyone. Look around your home, bring out items or wedding dresses  you think are relevant for events and begin your side hustle of renting out. Remember everybody can do with some extra cash.

IFL: Where are you located? How affordable are your products/services ? 

Follow Yami on twitter and Instagram for updates, feedbacks or complaints on @YamiNigeria very responsive on weekdays and partially responsive on weekends also sign up on to upload and rent out any item for event. Cheers to an interesting #YamiExperience

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”- Chinese Proverb

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? or Are still stuck in trying to decide? Are there any answers you will want to get? Did you find this post helpful? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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The last of such interview post as this one, I spoke to another Mrs Maduekwe, The “Bake n Swallow” Boss here. Thats another woman doing great stuff, you should check it out if you missed it.

I hope you are inspired to take action today.


Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. Ecc 11 vs 2

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What are you thinking? Leave a Reply

    • This will definitely bring financial relief to people planning events on their tight budget. Entreprenuership is not easy, many startups must understand delayed gratification as a center point of lasting success in business.

  1. hmmmm people are not sleeping ooo! This is such an original business idea/ start up! I would’ve never thought all these things laying around most homes could actually be monetized specifically at events. I wish her all the best in her business venture! I am constantly cracking my head, trying to come up with something brilliant to venture into. I have told myself I cannot just be an employee. I have to be an employer. So everything I’m doing now is saving up for that help me God. This post motivate me to think some more!

    • Amennnnn! Originality definetely sells. There is an idea for everyone just keep brainstorming babe, while you are gathering the money because money is the great facilitator.