Harnessing the Power of Networking in Entrepreneurship

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Sunday Ehigiator writes that the need for entrepreneurs to think big and capitalise on the power of relationships viz-a-viz networking, was the focus of discussion at the just concluded Rose of Sharon Foundation 2019 Youth Empowerment Program tagged, ‘The Big Picture’

The Youth Empowerment Program YEP is a Rose of Sharon Foundation’s (RoSF) career development and capacity building program for graduates, job seekers, working-class and self-employed youths.

Since 2017, the RoSF youth empowerment program has served to re-orientate the minds of Nigerian youth and equally motivate them on the need to be diligent in their dealings, as this will cause them to succeed in their chosen professions.

The event which had over 500 youths in attendance from various educational and professional backgrounds, also served as a platform to equip them with prerequisite skills and knowledge that would enable them standout and be successful in their businesses, careers and professions.

It had as facilitators, the Founder, RoSF, Mrs. Folorunso Alakija; Representative of GMYT Fashion Academy, Mr Adebola Soboyejo; Head of Partners Relations, Christian Broadcasting Network Africa, Mr. Enoch Oyeduntan; Accountant and Seasoned Entrepreneur, Mr. Seyi Peters and IITA Communications Specialist, Ms. Timilehin Osunde, among others.

In her welcome address, Alakija sensitised the youth on the need to seek knowledge by learning from mentors and allowing their experiences to serve as a guide to them in life. She further spoke on the importance of teaching people how to fish rather than giving them fish as this would ensure their true independence.

She said the “program was borne out of the need to address the problem facing youth as a result of the lack of skills and knowledge required for them to integrate into the business world, either as entrepreneurs or as employees.”

This was followed by a talk show which was anchored by Osunde and Oyeduntan, who discussed with a first class graduate of Economics from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Miss. Soyode Esther, alongside Miss. Iyara Rebecca, a graduate of Philosophy from the University of Lagos, now a banker; Miss. Adesanya Adewunmi, a graduate of Accountancy from the Ekiti State University; also a fashion designer and Mr. Uzoma Kelechi, an undergraduate of the Mechanical Engineering department at the Imo State University.

While addressing the audience, they all spoke about their life experiences, shared their success tips to inspire all others in attendance, and thanked the foundation for helping them to achieve their dreams.

Addressing participants, Peters, spoke on the importance of starting small and working towards the big picture. He stressed that youths should always ask themselves about the impact or solution their intended business would bring to society, before venturing into it.

Representative of GMYT Fashion Academy, Soboyejo advised youths on the need to be focused, hardworking and determined. He also encouraged them to “be passionate about their career, and bear in mind that you all will experience some challenges as you strive to achieve your dreams. But you must never give up”.

In her presentation, Osunde spoke about the power of leveraging on relationships. She encouraged the youth to cultivate their networks as such contacts play a major role in achieving the big picture.

While speaking, she stated that “one may not always have information but the people around you may have access to such details”. Similarly, she stressed on the need for volunteering, even when it is done with no financial benefits attached.

Adding more voice to other speakers, Oyeduntan emphasised on the need to be practical and realistic with oneself before venturing into any business. He advised the youth to “look out for problems in your environment, for there lies your leverage”.

He further encouraged them to solve problems, stating that “the problem you can solve without being paid for is your purpose, the idea is to provide that service better than anyone else”.

On leveraging on technology to grow their businesses, a Staff of Google, Miss. Bunmi Oluwasade, spoke on the importance of digital marketing for career and business purposes. She likewise took out time to train the participants on some basic aspects of Google marketing and advertisement.