Earlier this week, I received the letter below from a mentor of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme – Mrs. Fatima Aliko Mohammed. In this appreciative letter, she extols our entrepreneurship programme, and highlights the role the Foundation is playing in creating value not only Nigeria, but across Africa. Fatima’s mentee, Abimbola, is one of our 2015 entrepreneurs, who according to her mentor, has utilized sheer resilience and creativity to overcome numerous obstacles. I’m sharing this letter today with you my Facebook family, to show deep gratitude to our mentor Fatima for both her kind words and dedication to our programme, and also to Abimbola, for being a remarkable ambassador of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. I am indeed proud of all of our entrepreneurs who demonstrate every day that they are TRULY transforming Africa.
TEEP: Giving them the opportunity to create themselves
I had the honour of being accepted as a TEEP mentor earlier this year. I expected a rewarding and enriching experience, but it has been so much more: a real learning curve. To mentor is to “strive to maximize human potential,” and I observed pleasantly that one of my mentees, Abimbola Oligbinde illustrated great potential from the very beginning. Early on in the programme while we exploring creative ways to enhance her new business, she came up with an idea she pursued till she made it a reality and resounding success on all counts.
Organizing and holding a Youthpreneur Summit in Lagos on the 16th August 2016, she overcame numerous obstacles with little to no resources. But using the sheer resilience and creativity of a natural born entrepreneur she was able to achieve it. The event was attended by: Mr Muda Yusuf, Director General Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI); The Lagos Commissioner of Wealth Creation and Employment, Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti was represented by Mr Tunde Dauda; Head, Entrepreneurial Department of the Ministry; Mr Sola Dawodu of SMEDAN; Mr Eke Ubiji, the Executive Secretary of National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises; Orhiunu Ibironke and Mr Eguakun Osasere from Deloitte, to name but a few.
There were over 250 young and renowned entrepreneurs at the event. Many shared their success stories with the participants. They include, Mr John Zedomi, CEO JZedomi & Associates (Real Estate), Mrs Adepeju Jaiyeba, CEO Mother’s Delivery Kit (A Social Entrepreneur and a Mandela Washington Fellow), Miss Adejoke Lasisi; a textile designer and a 2016 Alumna of the Enterprise Development Center (EDC) Lagos/ Cherie Blair Foundation Road to Women’s Business Growth in Nigeria., Kikelomo Kolesoho, Photopreneur, Enayon Anthony , an Agropreneur specializing in fish farming.
The Summit analysed the challenges faced by young entrepreneurs in Nigeria while exploring several ways to tackle them. The role of mentoring was identified as one of the most helpful ways to set budding entrepreneurs on the right path to success. This was attested to by the convener herself as a TEEP mentee.
TEEP should be as proud of her as I am and consider ways to encourage, recognise, celebrate and partner with young entrepreneurs like her, who not only work hard but are selflessly dedicated to promoting other young struggling entrepreneurs like themselves.
Well done Abimbola, well done TEEP for giving her the opportunity to maximize her potential.
Fatima Aliko Mohammed