Elumelu Awakens Entrepreneurial Spirit in Youths

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Funmi Ogundare

The Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has called on the youths to begin to display entrepreneurial spirit and develop strategies that would make them achieve success in life.

Elumelu, who made this known recently at the first distinguished lecture on ‘Entrepreneurship: The Challenges and Opportunities for Nigeria’s Future Leaders’, of the Lagos State University (LASU), said they have to think about the future and weigh the opportunities. He said they have to be resilient and think of a business plan for the long-term.

“You can think of an idea for the long-term such that after you have made up your mind, you define what you want to do to achieve success at the long run. You can dream big and have a milestone. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”

He advised the students not to ever give up in their endeavours, as nothing is said to be impossible, while pointing out that he graduated from the university with a second class, lower division, but that did not deter him from succeeding in life.
“Whether you are leading a team of people or just yourself, your responsibility is to generate, secure or deliver results. I believe you can be a leader at any stage in your life and career, and in any career path you choose.”

On what it means to him to assist budding entrepreneurs across Africa, Elumelu said: “What value is wealth or money in an individual’s bank account if we cannot use it to positively impact society? The seeds we plant today will help us move the needle as it relates to the development of Nigeria and Africa.

“Embrace entrepreneurship, develop yourselves as leaders. For your dreams to come true you need to be courageous, optimistic and bold. There are no shortcuts.”
He called on the students to embrace entrepreneurship as a career, saying, “if you pursue entrepreneurship, your options for advancement will not be limited to just finding a job. You can create your own employment opportunities and create jobs for others. You can help to transform your communities and the country.”

He also advised them to be disciplined, saying that they have to take opportunities and make sacrifices to grow well. “Sacrifices are meant to give you experiences that will keep you going.
“Hunger drives us to achieve greater success. As an entrepreneur, you must be hungry to achieve more and expand, be disciplined to get things done, be prudent; if you don’t save, make sure you invest and ensure a high level of integrity.”

The state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by the Director of Creativity, Ms. Toyin Ademuiya, said the choice of the guest speaker and the topic underscores the thinking of his administration in strengthening the capacity of the institution and supporting its mission to mould leaders out of students.

While commending Elumelu for sharing his knowledge on entrepreneurship, he promised to continue supporting the university, saying, “education is the bedrock of Nigeria’s future.”
In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion and the Chancellor of the institution, Justice Adesola Oguntade (rtd), said entrepreneurship is an essential topic given the current wave of youth unemployment in the country. “The choice of the guest speaker demonstrates the university’s passion and commitment to excellence. Elumelu is indeed an icon of success.”

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lanre Fagbohun urged the students to follow Elumelu’s advice, describing him as a serial investor and quintessential philanthropist who has continuously impacted on the continent through the creation of jobs and building young Africans in entrepreneurship.