ADEKUNBI ADEOYE: APOSTLE OF AFRICAN YOUTH EMPLOYABILITY

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Adekunbi Adeoye, an Obafemi Awolowo University trained lawyer, is a social entrepreneur whose business, SESEWA Support Services, is poised to fill a vacuum that has made many Nigerian graduates unemployable. JOSEPH DINWOKE of BROJID.COM highlights her strides, challenges, survival tactics and winning secrets for youths aspiring to pursue their passion.

She was inspired to start SESEWA Support Services when she discovered that internship is an important exercise that could get undergraduates better prepared for the labour market, yet there are hardly available platforms where they can get it.

As an undergraduate, she has always wanted to acquire skills to develop herself so as to change her world and she reasoned that holiday job would be a good option but her efforts to get the opportunity for that became frustrating as firms she wrote applications to could not understand

Though she turned down MTN job offer to start her business, she does not have any regret whatsoever saying that touching lives are better for her than just making cash. “I have no regrets… Not then, not now, not ever. Looking back, I am glad I did. For me, working as the executive director of Sesewa is…. the essence of my life. It moves from just making the cash… to getting fulfilment and touching lives.”

what she wanted and even those that understood refused to give her opportunity even when she offered to work for no pay.

Unrelenting in her quest, she went out another holiday looking for job and she eventually got one in a small business where she reveals that “although I was not paid a dime, I found it thrilling because I learnt a lot of new things and skills.” Another holiday, she got another opportunity for internship in a law firm which she described as her first touch with a law firm and  testified, “Three things then happened to me after the internship – my networking abilities improved, I could talk in public, I improved my writing skills and as well as my Microsoft office knowledge.”

Because of the impact of the internship programme, in 2006, on her she resolved to start a social enterprise which is committed to

Three things then happened to me after the internship – my networking abilities improved, I could talk in public, I improved my writing skills and as well as my Microsoft office knowledge.

proving platforms for improving the employability of the African youth through provision of internships, work shadowing programs, and volunteering programs. However, she kept the idea in the shelf until her final year in 2009, at age 23, and kicked off.

She believes that the cost of starting a business is beyond finance saying, “The cost of starting a business is beyond finance. From my personal experience, I have learnt that every entrepreneur must answer the “relevance question”, which is: what problem have I identified that my business idea is coming forth to solve? That for me is really expensive. Every entrepreneur needs to fill a vacuum in the lives of people and only then can they get value for their work.” However, she started SESEWA Support Services with her personal funds though she now gets more funds through the training they offer. Meanwhile, she adopted lean capital model to operate her business to ensure that the available resources they have will be sufficient. From then they moved from being just a student organization to entering partnership with cooperate organizations in creating internship in their firms.

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She has learn quite some business lessons running her business these few years and shares “I have learnt to start your business one step at a time. Settle one step before you move to another start. I have learnt that it is good to start. I have learnt also that for this kind of business we do, you need to constantly reach out to our target audience. If we don’t reach out, they would not know the services we are rendering to them. As an individual you must be strong enough and well equipped for you to successfully man a business. I have learnt personally too, that women are not given the opportunity to start and own corporate businesses, so for a woman to display herself and succeed, she must have an extra arsenal for her to power and lock horns with the men.”

She shared her secrets of undertaking a social enterprise like hers. “You must be focused. Another thing is that, you must avoid shortcuts and make sure you are bold enough and have the courtesy to get into the field and make the desired difference that you seek. You must be a problem solver. All the problems and challenges along the way must be recognized as one of those things. Another thing I will say is that you should make sure that you are open to partnership and to collaborate. There is no need having more people and multiple, duplicates of something when you know you can collaborate with somebody or partner some of the people already doing it.”

Though she turned down MTN job offer to start her business, she does not have any regret whatsoever saying that touching lives are better for her than just making cash. “I have no regrets… Not then, not now, not ever. Looking back, I am glad I did. For me, working as the executive director of Sesewa is…. the essence of my life. It moves from just making the cash… to getting fulfilment and touching lives.”

Though for her entrepreneurship has not been rosy, she admitted that it has not been explained that she learns lessons from her

Young people should know that their future does not start when they are given an NYSC certificate. They should learn to prepare themselves for the real world, even while in the university. They can achieve this by being part of the structures of the various clubs and societies on campus. Truth, is when you work within these structures, you learn to work more with people; and you become better in terms of intellects.

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mistakes and gets motivation from her successes.  She went further to advise fellow entrepreneurs, “First start. Wake up. Believe in your dreams and just start. One of my greatest quotes is from Steve Jobs, which says: “Those who are brave enough to think they can change the world are those who actually do”. If you sit down in your room and think about it, it won’t come to true, just wake up in the morning, believe you can and then make an effort to start.”

To youths, Adekunbi preaches, “Young people should know that their future does not start when they are given an NYSC certificate. They should learn to prepare themselves for the real world, even while in the university. They can achieve this by being part of the structures of the various clubs and societies on campus. Truth, is when you work within these structures, you learn to work more with people; and you become better in terms of intellects. Most of the times, I advise students to engage in volunteer works while on vacation.”

She has chosen not to remain on the ground when knocked down because her drive to fulfil her purpose in life which is “guided by my principles and motivated by an undying passion to change the world.”

 

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Joseph Dinwoke

Chief Content Officer at Brojid World
Joseph 'Brojid' Dinwoke, Radio producer/OAP at Radio Nigeria Voice96.7FM, and publicist, is the curator of Brojid.com. At Brojid World, he creates contents and provides training, mentoring, coaching and inspiration for peak performance in your life and work through blog posts, podcasts, books and training. You can follow him on social media by clicking on any of these social media icons. To get his daily inspirational and insightful broadcast on WhatsApp, connect with him with: 0810 550 4664

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