Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m Chiugo Aghaji. I have my Masters in International Energy from Paris School of International Affairs. I’m a 26 years old entrepreneur from Anambra, Nigeria.
How did you start your business and what motivated you to stick with it?
While undertaking my compulsory service year at the ECOWAS commission, I noticed that there was a dearth of translators and the few available translators was frequently under pressure. Trainers often came in from francophone countries and it often fell on me to interpret or learn the skills the trainers were imparting, and pass it on to other members of staff- often my bosses! Because of the quality of my translation, more and more translation work kept on ending up on my table. I enjoyed the work and had the motivation to stick with it. I love languages. Learning, speaking and reading a new language is second nature to me. I ventured to educate myself more on the skills and got the necessary certifications. There is a huge gap in the translation and interpretation market- one that [my company] CEA can fill with dedication and hard work.
Tell us a bit about what a busy workday is for you.
As a womentrepreneur, a student of life, a language teacher, a translator, a serial volunteer and an advocate for Human Rights and SDG implementation in Africa; delegating and multitasking is the key to surviving busy workday. From classes in the morning to teaching children the rudiments of the French language and how to communicate effectively to settling down to complete the translation of a 500-page thesis from English into French to writing an article about human rights in the city for the French Institute…it can be hectic!
Do you freelance or are you under a brand?
I have my own company which is CEA CONSULTANCY AND TRANSLATION SERVICES.
How do you deal with challenges at work?
I’ve had to learn alternative dispute resolution techniques, building and motivating my team, and having clear objectives and key performance indicators, to reduce challenges and ensure that everyone is on the same page, working toward a common goal.
Dealing with challenges at work is dependent on many factors, my spiritual health, mental health, and physical health.
I start my day by attending morning Mass at 6 am and walking for an hour after Mass. I feed my mind with motivational books for 30 minutes, eat a good breakfast and then I am spiritually, physically and mentally prepared to deal with any challenges.
Do you have any other side hustle?
As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life and diversification is the entrepreneur’s watchword. CEA is the main hustle, but I am involved in various other projects. These will be revealed in due time.
What does your competition look like?
On a local level, there is currently limited competition. However, on the global level on which we wish to compete, I think there is a lot of competition.
Would you say it is a profitable business?
Yes, though it is currently too soon to say. We have officially been in action for about seven months and we hope to keep growing.
Who are the people who inspired you?
My primary inspiration in life is my parents. Professor Martin and Dr. Ada Aghaji are both surgeons, highly intelligent and, two of the best in their fields. They inspire me daily to improve on myself and improve the lives of others around me; to plan, troubleshoot and achieve. “Never leave for tomorrow what can be done today… Do it to-now, not tomorrow!” my dad would say. Venturing into a different field away from the family’s medical legacy was difficult, and I hope to make myself and them, proud.
Kofi Annan has inspired me since I was nine years old. The first black African United Nations Secretary-General was living proof that Africa had within it the answer to its problems; as well as great men and women who defied the stereotype of the “Dark Continent”. My dream to work with him to make Africa great again is still alive. I followed his tenure as UNSG very closely and was opportune to see him speak at an event at my school. It was one of the most inspirational, life-affirming and motivational moments of my life.
To be honest, numerous industrious men and women have shaped my life in various ways. Titans like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dambisa Moyo, Cheryl Sandberg, Fabienne Hara, Trevor Noah, Ayoade Alakija, Isabelle Allende, Yvonne Ike and Indra Nooyi are my heroes, my motivators, and my inspiration.
How do you promote or share your work efficiently?
It is mainly e-commerce and thankfully when jobs arrive at our main database; it is distributed to our language consultant with the most expertise in that area and proofread by 3 other consultants.
Where do you see your business in 3 years?
As the language McKinsey of Africa, we see a world with limited barriers to business communication; acting as a link between foreign governments, start-ups wishing to break into the international market, diplomats working in Nigeria and every firm wishing to scale its business to a global level.
We are also working to scale up our activities in the creation of awareness and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in Africa; especially with regards energy security and access to clean energy.
How do people contact you if they need to?
Twitter: CEA CONSULTANCY (@cea_consultancy) https://twitter.com/cea_consultancy?s=03