Taking a career risk to join a Start-up

Taking a career risk to join a Start-up

In every person's career journey, there comes a time when something has to change, and change may be good or bad, which probably makes it risky. A career risk for Stephen Abah, Group Head of Financial inclusion services and Business development at Kippa, was moving from Itex integrated services Ltd and leaping to join the Kippa team to start afresh and build something new and nonexistent in the Kippa ecosystem.

Can you run us through your career journey?

My career journey fully commenced in 2012, when I worked with Union bank. Then, in 2015, I moved to eTranzact international PLC, a Switching, mobile banking and payment service provider that allows customers to pay for goods and services without stress. My role there entailed managing financial inclusion projects. Getting the grassroots included in the financial ecosystem. Then I moved to Xpress Payment in 2018—My position there was centred around leading the agency banking unit at Xpress Payment Solutions Limited.

Before Kippa, I was head of financial inclusion at Itex integrated services Ltd, and before that, I worked at eTranzact International plc in the same role.


So what is your role now at Kippa?

My key responsibilities are managing and supporting Kippa's expansion into the payment space. So I work around answering questions like how we can build financial inclusion and payments partnerships and grow our agent network in that space. So I'm in charge of growing the financial inclusions and business services side of Kippa; that is what I do, simply put.

So what motivated you to give Kippa a chance?

What motivated me to make that move was Kippa's impact on SMEs even before getting a CBN license. It was a relatively new start-up. It already catered to over 300,000 businesses, which stuck with me because it would be a way for me to reach those at the bottom of the pyramid, dish out opportunities, and enable them to better their businesses. They were creating better value and avenues for SMEs to grow.

Another aspect that sold it for me was that it was a remote opportunity; it got me thinking that it would be a way to set up and prepare strategically. And talking to Kennedy just keyed me into the dream, honestly.

Was taking that career risk scary for you?

To be very honest, it was one of the most challenging decisions I've ever made in my career-unlike when I had to go back to eTranzact; that was an easy decision; because I understood that space. But with Kippa, it was a whole new thing for me; I had sleepless nights thinking about it.

It was hard because I had grown and achieved substantial progress in that role at eTranzact, so leaving it all behind for a company that I had to start from scratch was not easy.

What aspect of the work style at Kippa was new to you?

In all my previous jobs, I've worked in physical places where I could see my other coworkers every day, but for the most part, in the Kippa team, many people work remotely from different parts of the world. So you couldn't just hold on to anything; it was a culture shock for me.

Do you feel like you made the right decision in the few months that you have worked at Kippa?

Yes, I believe I made the right decision. So many long-term goals have been actualised in such a short time. Within these few months, we've been able to get a CBN license and complete some of the significant company aspirations we had. It's pretty remarkable to have achieved that in just 2-3 months; it's something that rarely happens.

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We have also been able to roll out and properly plan with agents as well, and the most satisfying thing for me was recording transactions in April. So now we have Kippa Pay and agents around the country working already—it's just so amazing. So to a large extent, I would say it's a success.

Finally, what is working at Kippa like for you?

It's been great, you know, working with a team that provides all the support you need. Everyone comes together to grow that business, everyone corporates—it's a place where if you put in your value, it's always noticed and appreciated.

Want to work together?

Kippa is the simplest accounting & Invoicing software for small Nigerian businesses. Over 300,000 small business owners currently use the bookkeeping software to manage their business transactions, create and send professional invoices and collect debts 3X faster. To do this, we need a team of thinkers; in return, we give them the resources to do their best. View our open jobs and help us make business easy.

Hafeedoh Balogun

Hafeedoh Balogun