A week ago, I was at Eko hotels for the Youth Enterprise Conference organized annually by Akin Alabi, the CEO/founder of nairabet. I initially didn’t want to go but made my decision at morning mass and I don’t regret it one bit. I stood through the whole event in uncomfortable shoes, but, I tell you, it was worth it. There’s something about being in the same room with highly successful men and women and hearing their grass to grace stories that makes you feel like “Yes, I can do this, even if its not in the same industry”
At the event were Jason Njoku, founder of Iroko TV; Opeyemi Awoyemi, Co-founder of Jobberman; CEO of Ventra Media, Daryn Wober; founder of naijaloaded, Azeez Makinde; Craze clown /Dr Craze from Instagram (to be honest I came because of him lol) ;Tiwa Savage, and others.
As much as I wish I could talk about what each of them said, that would be impossible without writing a small book, and so I’ll try my best to summarize. One thing they all had in common was that they had PATIENCE and they were ALWAYS LEARNING. Another thing I noticed they had in common was that they began in unusual, even hard circumstances but their persistence prevailed. Jason Njoku had to go to Alaba market and do his thing from the grassroots, and even though the guys there didn’t quite understand him, they were able to work out a functional relationship that has made Iroko tv the brand it is today. Jason hammered on working with honest people. I completely agree with him. Opeyemi Awoyemi began trying to make something of himself from the time he was an undergrad student in Ife. He got tuned down by investors but after he decided to pour his energy into developing his brand, he got his Major breakthrough through a million dollar Investment that came when he was at NYSC camp. Yeah. You heard right. A million dollars. Daryn Wober left a comfortable job in the UK to pursue his dreams and landed in Lagos. He’s been here for 3 years and doesn’t intend to leave anytime soon. His Instagram handle says it all:@oyinboinlagos. Lol. He’s very successful in his own right. And it all began under the stairs in his London home. Craze clown had written jamb about three or four times before his father finally decided to send him to Ukraine to study medicine. He’s in his final year now, and has been sponsoring himself for a long time. He was actually forced to, because times became too hard for his family. He currently earns 7 figures annually from doing what he loves : comedy. He still intends to complete his degree as a medical doctor. Tiwa, dear Tiwa. She says the stats read that each time she trended online, she trended for the Wrong reasons. Handle your brand well, she says. You are your own brand.
There were impromptu giveaways too! A lady came up to tell Tiwa that she was a shoe maker, a very talented one at that(we all saw her work), but each time clients reached out to her after seeing her work online, they would say, “Oh, you’re a lady?” and that would be the end. Tiwa ended up giving her a free endorsement. I don’t know if you guys know how much it takes for Tiwa to endorse a brand. But she did it there and then for free. I envied her. Opeyemi showed interest in a woman who spoke about production of brazilian wool, and said he would invest. Of course he won’t invest two kobo.
Another thing I noticed about them all was that they clearly had passion for what they did. Loads of it. It had sustained them when the money was not there, and still drove them now that the money was there. In short, I was infected by it. Not that I’m about to begin a huge Internet business, but because their principles could be applied to any sector one wanted to excel in. I even managed to take a picture with Jason Njoku and a fellow UNN alumnus I met at the event. Anyone who knows me knows this is a big deal as I’m camera shy.
For more pictures from the event, you can check out Akin Alabi’s blog post here. In my last post, I spoke about a small surprise. Its really simple. The first person to share this post on social media and leave a comment telling me what has changed on my blog gets airtime. Now, it should be in this format. Your name, your email address, what platform you shared this post on, what you like about this blog, what has changed on this blog, and how I can improve. First correct comment gets the airtime. May the fastest man win!