Sunday Ehigiator writes on the entrepreneurial drive by the Rose of Sharon Foundation, who recently held a Youth Empowerment Programme to bridge the knowledge gap for budding entrepreneurs
The Multipurpose hall of Yaba College of Science and Technology, Lagos-State, was the venue of the Rose of Sharon Foundation Youth Empowerment Programme (ROSF-YEP). The foundation recently held a one day seminar, themed “Young Entrepreneurs of the 21st Century: Bridging the Knowledge Gap, which recorded over 400 participants in attendance.
The epoch-making event, which was targeted at budding young entrepreneurs was facilitated by other wave-making young entrepreneurs from various walks of life including Media/Human Resoures Consultant, Ambassador Utchay Odims; financial consultant, Adewumi Oni; award winning Nollywood Actress and Producer, Chioma Chukwuka Akpotha; MD/CEO Moore Money, Yusuf Bilamin Moore; MD/CEO S-ophia ERP Ltd, Conrad Adigwe; and a Digital Media Consultant, Jude Oguta.
Harnessing Untapped Skills
In her welcome address, the founder, Rose of Sharon Foundation, Mrs. Folorunso Alakija, said YEP is the foundation’s career development and capacity building programme for youths associated with the Rose of Sharon Foundation. But following the desire to see as many youths succeed, she said YEP was expanded in this edition to include youths from all across the country.
With its core objective being to motivate and empower young adults to rise above the obvious socio-economic limitations to build and excel in their desired field and careers of interest, the foundation is poised towards assisting them harness their untapped gifts, skills and talent.
With an exploding global and local youth population of over 20 per cent and 60 per cent respectively, it is therefore imperative that all hands be on deck to continue to strive to enable the young generation navigate through the daunting path of becoming successful given that it is a necessity to build a nation and continent that is viable and economically competitive, globally.
Speaking further, Alakija said “YEP is the foundation’s career development and capacity building programme for graduates and undergraduates, job seekers, working class and self-employed youths of Rose of Sharon Foundation.
“It is tailor-made to address specific career needs of the participants. The aim is to equip them with knowledge and life changing skills they need for self-reliance to support their families and become a useful part of the society.
“The first edition held on April 22, 2017, at the Rose of Sharon Glorious Ministry International hall at Ogunlana Drive Surulere, where we had 115 participants in attendance. The modules presented during the program focused on learning employability skills required for employment such as preparing for interviews, do’s and don’ts of CV writing, how to compete in the market place, common mistakes at interview panels and how to change jobs.
“Based on the feedback we received from our beneficiaries who wanted to be skilled in entrepreneurship as an alternative to paid employment, we held the second edition on the March 24, 2018, with 194 participants in attendance. The participants were trained in five vocational skill areas such as wig making, fancy slippers making for male and females, Shea Butter processing for export, perfumery and soap production. The last two programs that we conducted were restricted to the beneficiaries of the Rose of Sharon Foundation alone.
“However, in our bid to reach out and touch more lives, we decided to make this program an open one for both our beneficiaries and the general public. A total of 441 participants had registered online to attend the youth empowerment program and others have also registered onsite today.”
She added, “the theme for the program is ‘Young Entrepreneurs of the 21stCentury: Bridging the Knowledge Gap’. This topic is very pertinent in this day and age because of the dearth of knowledge abounding among young entrepreneurs. It is imperative that before you embark on any venture, you need to get the requisite information and knowledge. You must understand the dynamics of the industry to avoid falling into landmines.
“Even the Bible tells us that ‘my people are destroyed because of lack of knowledge’. Therefore, make sure that you are armed with as much information as possible to enable you navigate through your area of interest or challenging terrains. Today we were privileged to have seasoned professionals who have carved a niche for themselves in their various endeavours. These ones volunteered their time, energy and skills to impact your lives by sharing their wealth of knowledge and experiences with you.
“They shared on how to leverage technology for global competitiveness, thrive in the Agricultural sector, develop your financial management skills, succeed in the entertainment and fashion industry and bring your business to light using online digital marketing.”
She further commended the facilitators, the Management of Yaba College of Technology for their continuous support of the foundation and all the administrative staff of the foundation, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the program was a success.
Addressing participants on the need of tapping the opportunities and wealth embedded in Agricultural entrepreneurship, Yussuf Billamin said, “agricultural entrepreneurship is one of the less capital intensive business every startup can easily engage in and have a head way even in the shortest period of time. It affords entrepreneurs diversified investment.”
With regards to the importance and effect of digital technologies in entrepreneurship, Jude Oguta asserted that, “If you can make a million effect without deploying technology in your skills-sets/services, then be sure that by introducing technology, you would make more than double of the effect you made without it”.
Speaking on the importance of financial management to an entrepreneur, Adewunmi Oni made it clear that “until you learn how to invest your profits into assets; thereby reproducing more income, instead of liabilities, you can never experience financial freedom as a young entrepreneur”.
Chioma Chukwuka who took participants through her growth process in the movie industry, which she has functioned in for over 20 years, posited that “only passion and determination to succeed can bring about growth, no matter the talent you have, or skills you have acquired”.
This was just as, Conrad Adigwe admonished participating the young entrepreneurs to “do what others won’t do for a few years, so you can have what others can’t have, all through the remaining years of your lives”.
Furthermore, as part of YEP, participants would be taken through a one week hands-on training in partnership with Alakija Skills Acquisition Centre in Yabatech; with focus on farming, website designing, entertainment and fashion and in skills acquisition such as turning rubbish into wealth.