Olajide Olutuyi @50: Appraising His Transformative Leadership, and Transition to Social Entrepreneurship

Olajide Olutuyi @50: Appraising His Transformative Leadership, and Transition to Social Entrepreneurship

As Social Entrepreneur, and Co-founder of the Samuel Olutuyi Foundation, Olajide Olutuyi, celebrates his golden jubilee on March 27, 2024, Sunday Ehigiator in the report, chronicles giant strides in the corporate world, transformative leadership sojourns, and selfless act of philanthropy to the society

Only a few have been able to epitomise the spirit of transformative leadership and unwavering commitment to societal progress like Olajide Olutuyi.

From humble beginnings to becoming a beacon of hope and inspiration, Olutuyi’s journey is a testament to the power of resilience, vision, and a deep-seated desire to effect positive change.

Olutuyi’s metamorphosis into a social entrepreneur and development analyst is a tale of passion, purpose, and perseverance.

Early years

Born into the family of High Chief Samuel Olagoke and Deaconess Celina Olubunmi Olutuyi from Irun-Akoko, Ondo State, Olutuyi’s early years were shaped by a rich tapestry of cultural heritage and familial values.

Despite the challenges of frequent relocations due to his father’s professional duties, Olutuyi’s upbringing instilled in him a profound appreciation for his roots and a sense of duty towards societal progress.

His educational journey traversed diverse landscapes, from elementary schools in Kaduna and Warri to secondary institutions in Delta State. It was during his teenage years that Olutuyi’s entrepreneurial spirit began to take root while working with his dad.

A stint in the corporate world

After completing his education, including a Bachelor of Technology degree from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Olutuyi ventured into the family business, Top-Olax Nigeria Limited and Kay-Precious Nigeria Limited, where he honed his entrepreneurial skills and spearheaded ground-breaking initiatives for the company.

He then embarked on a career in Financial Accounting. His role as a Financial Accountant provided him with valuable insights into the intricacies of corporate finance and business management.

Yet, his ambitions transcend conventional accounting norms. This impelled him to pursue further education in the non-profit sector, acquiring a Certificate in Social Impact Leadership from the renowned HAAS School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

In parallel with his career pursuits, Olutuyi emerged as a respected development analyst, contributing insightful perspectives on Nigeria’s socio-political landscape through his columns in prominent publications such as Business Day Nigeria and Financial Nigeria.

His thought-provoking analyses and pragmatic solutions have earned him accolades and recognition as a thought leader in the field of development analysis.

He is pursuing another Master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration from Louisiana State University.

A life of service

Despite his success in the corporate world, Olutuyi’s ambitions transcended mere profit-making. He recognized the immense potential for entrepreneurship to drive social change and economic development, particularly in underserved communities. Thus, he embarked on a journey of social entrepreneurship, leveraging his business acumen and resources to address pressing societal issues.

Driven by a deep-seated desire to make a tangible difference in the lives of others, he embarked on a journey of social advocacy and community development. His foray into politics in 2002 marked the beginning of a new chapter, where he sought to leverage his influence for grassroots empowerment and inclusive governance

Despite facing setbacks and challenges in that political adventure, Olutuyi remained undeterred in his pursuit of social change. His impactful endeavours, including volunteering, supporting non-profit organizations, and championing grassroots movements, underscored his unwavering commitment to uplifting marginalized communities and promoting sustainable development.

Olutuyi recognised the importance of community service early on in life; according to him “It was during my NYSC where I embarked on a community service project that I first had the fulfilment of adding values or making an impact.”

The community development project is a program of the National Youth Service Corps that Olutuyi believes should be made mandatory and fully expanded. He opines that Nigeria needs selfless citizens more than ever.

On migrating to Canada Olutuyi aside from volunteering for a local Church in Toronto volunteered as a Bookkeeper for a community non-profit organization in Ajax, Ontario taking public transportation that takes him about 45 minutes each way.

Moving from there he transitioned into non-profit executive and board volunteering. He served as Secretary of the Yoruba Foundation Calgary from 2008 to 2012, Director and Treasurer for the Independent Living Resources Centre, Calgary (ILRCC) from 2012-2013 and Director and Treasurer of Calgary Quest School from 2012 to 2015 where he managed over $ 1 million in operational budget and over $10million in capital budget.

He also served as the Director of the international service committee from 2020-2022 on the board of the Rotary Club of Calgary Heritage Park.

Olutuyi, speaking at a Rotary event in downtown Calgary, admitted that one of the greatest things he has learned in his living in the diaspora is how active community service and volunteering can build a society.

In December 2021, the Global Goodwill Ambassadors Foundation recognised him for his outstanding humanitarian work.

Celebrating Olutuyi @50

As Olutuyi celebrates his milestone 50th birthday, his legacy resonates far beyond the confines of boardrooms and political arenas. He stands as a shining example of visionary leadership, social responsibility, and unwavering commitment to the common good.

His journey from entrepreneur to social advocacy and development analyst serves as a beacon of hope for future generations, inspiring them to harness their potential for the betterment of society.

As the co-founder of the Samuel Olutuyi Foundation, he spearheaded transformative initiatives aimed at uplifting individuals and communities across Nigeria.

Among these initiatives are the Water for Education Project (WAFEP), the Petty Traders Grant, the Womanpreneuer Grant and the Apprenticeship Grant amongst others, each designed to address specific socio-economic challenges and empower marginalized groups.

And in 2023 the Civic Engagement Essay Competition for Secondary schools was introduced.

His works with the foundation have earned him names like philanthropist by admirers and by those whose lives have been impacted by the organisation he leads.

However, Olutuyi does not consider himself anything of such. In his words, “I am not even close to anything like a philanthropist”. Olutuyi identifies as a social entrepreneur, persistently seeking solutions to address pressing social issues that will reshape the fabric of his local communities.

With his network, he has been able to secure collaboration from the Rotary Clubs of Calgary on some of the Foundation’s projects and some other private organisations. He believes with more collaboration more can be done.

As Olutuyi continues to evolve in his role as a social entrepreneur and development analyst, his legacy resonates far beyond the realms of business and finance. He stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and social advocates, demonstrating the transformative power of visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to societal progress.


The Water for Education Project (WAFEP) stands as a flagship initiative of the Samuel Olutuyi Foundation, driven by Olutuyi’s vision to ensure access to clean water and enhance educational opportunities in underserved communities. Recognizing the critical link between water accessibility and educational attainment for the girl child, WAFEP seeks to provide sustainable water solutions to schools in rural areas, thereby improving sanitation, hygiene, and overall learning environments

Through strategic partnerships, WAFEP has successfully implemented water infrastructure projects in communities, particularly in South West Nigeria. These projects include the installation of borehole water systems, and sanitation facilities, ensuring safe and healthy water for the communities.

By addressing the fundamental need for clean water, WAFEP enhances educational outcomes and promotes health and well-being within communities.

The ‘Womanpreneur’

In addition to WAFEP, the Samuel Olutuyi Foundation has provided support to small-scale traders and women entrepreneurs through the Petty Traders Grant and the Womanpreneur Grant, respectively.

Recognising the vital role of micro-enterprises in driving economic growth and poverty alleviation, these initiatives provide financial assistance and capacity-building support to aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Petty Traders Grant offers inventory funding to very small-scale women traders whose inventory is not more than N100,000  enabling them to expand their businesses and improve their livelihoods. By providing capital and entrepreneurial skills, the grant empowers individuals to create sustainable sources of income and contribute to local economic development.

Similarly, the Womanpreneur Grant targets women entrepreneurs, who often face unique challenges in accessing financial resources and business opportunities.

Through mentorship programs, networking events, and financial assistance, the grant equips women with the tools and resources needed to launch and grow successful businesses. By empowering women entrepreneurs, the initiative not only promotes gender equality but also fosters economic empowerment and social inclusion

Overall, Olajide Olutuyi’s initiatives through the Samuel Olutuyi Foundation exemplify his dedication to creating positive change and uplifting communities. Through innovative solutions and strategic partnerships, these initiatives address pressing socio-economic challenges and empower individuals to realise their full potential.

As Olutuyi continues to expand the reach and impact of these programs, his legacy of leadership and service continues to inspire others to make a difference in the world.

A call on NOA, other

As Olutuyi commemorates his birthday, he expresses a desire for the National Orientation Agency and other relevant organizations to lead efforts in promoting the importance of volunteering among younger Nigerians. He believes that volunteering not only benefits communities but also enhances personal growth by expanding networks and boosting career prospects.

The vision

Regarding the future of the Samuel Olutuyi Foundation, Olutuyi envisions the establishment of a social enterprise akin to a thrift store. Here, individuals can contribute their gently used items for resale, with the foundation overseeing the sales process.

The proceeds generated would then be reinvested into local communities. This innovative approach fosters job creation and facilitates access to quality, affordable goods for those with limited income. Furthermore, the profits derived from this venture would be channelled back into community development initiatives.

As Olutuyi hits the golden age he firmly believes that in a world marked by transience, only a life defined by impact holds greater value and trumps all other pursuits, and he is determined to pursue that path.

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