Bestman Games Founder Nimi Akinkugbe Talks Gender, Education, and Business

Sylvana Lewin, Thursday March 22nd 2018

Founder of Bestman Games Nimi Akinkugbe shared her journey with the MEST community at March Guest Lecture Weekend, alongside Brightpearl cofounder Andrew Mulvenna, V8 Ventures managing partner Tobi Oke, and Dean of Microsoft 4Afrika Academy Lutz Ziob. Akinkugbe’s talk focused on financial literacy in Africa and how board games can be used as an educational tool. We’ve recapped some key highlights from her speech!

Gaming as a tool for education

Akinkugbe started her career in banking discovering that after Nigeria became a democracy in 1999, wealthy Nigerians started returning and bring money back with them. With this there was a need for private wealth management and this is how she began her career as a banker, even working as regional director at Barclays. Then after 23 years as a banker, Akinkugbe entered the world of gaming. Having worked in private wealth management and seen wealth decimated from one generation to the next due to poor money management skills, she realized the importance of teaching wealth management in Africa - and it needed to start from childhood.

She turned to one of the most effective methods of learning she knew: board games.Akinkugbe traveled up to the Hasbro HQ looking to create the first African version of Monopoly. She wrote up a business plan for a Lagos edition and set to work. Soon after, she was given the opportunity to create custom Monopoly games for 48 African countries..

Akinkugbe believes games can be used to instill community for Africans all over the world. She explained, “I was tired of the narrative of Africa. I thought in our games we could showcase the best of Africa.” Beyond highlighting some of the most well known areas in each African city, the board games have become a tool to teach things like saving, investing and moving away from cash-based transactions. Today, Bestman Games  leverages gaming as a tool for financial education.

“Gaming is one of the most powerful tools for education. It encourages innovation.”

Never forget your business plan

“Don’t forget your business plan,” Akinkugbe said. ”Keep coming back to it.” She also encouraged entrepreneurs to recognize the importance of good record keeping.

Akinkugbe stated, “If you’re thinking of building a global business, think like one.” Making sure entrepreneurs knew the importance of building plans with vision in mind.

Don’t overextend yourself

Akinkugbe hit again and again on the topic of avoiding overextension, whether it comes to yourself or your business. She emphasized the importance of maintaining good health and making time for yourself, including taking time off. She also asserted the need to manage inventory and not lose sight of cash flow.

“Over hiring kills; hire for attitude, train for skills. In a small business, attitude spreads quickly.” Managing how many people you can feasibly hire and expectations was a key point in Akinkugbe’s talk.

[caption id="attachment_6592" align="aligncenter" width="665"] Nimi Akinkugbe speaks with MEST EITs.[/caption]

Have focus and set goals

“Have purpose and set goals. When you have this it’s much more difficult for people to sway you,” explained Akinkugbe. She encouraged entrepreneurs to take deliberate and calculated risks to achieve their goals.

If you’re interested in learning more from industry experts, follow the MEST blog for recaps on the lectures by Brightpearl cofounder Andrew Mulvenna, V8 Ventures Managing Partner Tobi Oke, and Dean of Microsoft 4Afrika Academy Lutz Ziob!