AGAINST the background of increase in human trafficking, search for greener pasture through the Mediterranean Sea by the youths and dependence on government for their needs, the Entrepreneurial Empowerment Initiative (EEI) – a nonprofit organization founded by Dr Bosade Ogunlana, held an empowerment summit for youths and Startups with the aim of empowering them at the Nustreams Conference Centre, Ibadan.
The youths, 700 in number were charged on the need to be self-reliant and focus on contributing positively to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product through entrepreneurship startups and innovation.
There was mindset reengineering, special focus on agribusiness value chain, tech and digital skill for global relevance, sustainable business development as well as opportunities for grants and funds for startups.
Participants will be seconded to various organizations for hands-on practical training on the vocation of their choice and mentored till their business idea is nurtured to fruition.
Speaking at the event, Dr Bosade stated that her passion for youths and women birthed the Entrepreneurial Empowerment Initiative.
Youths are the future of our nation so there is a need to concentrate on helping them find their footing in the entrepreneurial space.
“Africans need to rise up and build their continent intentionally.
We can arise and transform this continent starting from here.
“The new gold and oil of Nigeria now is agriculture, and this is why we have decided to focus more on agribusiness. It is obvious that the jobs are no longer there as before; for a first class graduate to apply to be a sales girl, and a Master’s degree graduate working as bank security guard says it all,” she said.
She enjoined the youths to see themselves as nation builders who see every problem around them as opportunities, rather than risking their lives on the Mediterranean Sea in quest for greener pastures in Europe or getting engaged in atrocities that will mortgage their future.
She stressed that the youths should represent themselves well by taking their minds off Nigeria’s problems by focusing on the solutions and by following their passion and being innovative.
“Irrespective of the challenges in the nation, there is room for those who are ready to do things differently, and that is why EEI is ready to help them birth their ideas successfully through her various outreach programmes.
“Change your mindset of running away from your fears but find the problems that you can solve to help the general situation of this country. Running to foreign countries for greener pasture as fugitives won’t help the situation. Problem is equal to opportunity,” Bobade said.
In her opening remarks, Olujoke Aliu, a member of the board of trustees of EEI, highlighted that the objective of EEI is to empower individuals and startups for success by focusing on mindset reengineering, skill acquisition and execution of ideas.
In one of the sessions on mindset reengineering, veteran journalist and Director of Research, Bilificom Media and System, Edmund Obilo, cautioned youths not to blame the system for choking them and giving excuses for what they have become but should strategize and take charge of their environment.
He agreed that Nigeria is disadvantaged in the global system, but said that should not be an excuse for Nigeria not to scale up as a global giant amidst her talents and resources.
He called for sober reflection among the youths and the need to create a better situation in the society where they find themselves.
“Some of you are not created to be entrepreneurs. Don’t force it. Discover yourself, start small and create your own world. People might see you differently, define you differently, discourage you, but don’t hate. Test your actions and don’t follow the bandwagon,” Obilo advised.
During the same session, Mrs Bola Olusetan, the CEO of Up Leader Global Resources, charged the youths on the importance of having the right mindset, right attitude, self -confidence, and planning.
For the technology and digital skill for global relevance session, Precious Adedeji, a business consultant, financial analyst, and associate with RemotePro, spoke on how youths can leverage on digital skill on global platform.
He urged the youth to strategise on how they can be skilled in a digitised world as in the 21st century, adding that youths should prioritize their personal interest, the ease of learning such interest, as well as how relevant such interest is to the global needs.
The other sessions at the summit include how to set up a thriving business, which was taken by Omolola Falokun of Enterprise Development Centre, Lagos, focus on agribusiness value chain, taken by Ms Oluseun Ola, the chief executive officer of Agric Investor and Resources Development Forum, Odukoya Ayodeji of AM Konsult, who spoke on how forex removal would have a positive effect on local producer of agro-products and Modupe Oyetoso, executive director of Smart Farm, who spoke on leveraging technology with management skills.