Saturday, 8 July 2017

High School Entrepreneurship: Excerpts from my interactive session with students of Hillside School, Gwarinpa


Guys!! It's taken a while to get my creative juices coming up, hopefully they don't dry up before I get to the fun part.

So here goes nothing...

You all know that from time to time, despite my busy schedule, growing my company and trying to get a few heads around the idea to build the prototype. I still take out ample time out to tell you about my journey and the amazing things I get involved with. 

Yeah?! Alright, this one was even more amazing!!!

 S/O to my brother, Leslie Ume for linking me up with a Public Speaking gig at Hillside School, Gwarinpa.

This is where it gets interesting...

After finalizing the times and everything. My creative juices on what to tell the kids dried up. I remembered what life was as a kid and I had a deja-vu on what the experience around getting speakers talk to us, were like in secondary school, especially how my clique and I used to boo speakers off the stage. Don't blame me, I was doing it then because it seemed cool.

On the day I begun my preparations, I got some inspirational videos to spur them on. Put some pictures of some amazing tech businesses around and slotted in some gifs to make them laugh.

I got set to give them a time of their lives and drove in.

As I got there I introduced myself and then I went straight into it.


I started with the story of my life, how I felt that my first time on stage after school would most likely have been as a comedian, but as God has buttered my bread of life, Oluwa is cooking up something that would not only give me money, but will touch lives around me as I play my part in making Nigeria a better place, because, I am not that funny. LOL.

I then went on to ask them to think about an amazing idea that if they were able to implement would not only make them good money but make Nigeria a better place. I promised a gift to a child with the most amazing idea.

What is Entrepreneurship all about?

They had a lot of answers. All ending up being around, owning a business.

I told them for me it meant more than that, to me  Entrepreneurship means creating value and providing solutions to the society. I told them if you provide an amazing product or service, people would pay for it.

Well I then talked about what led me into Entrepreneurship, and what gave me the wake up call to actually start pursuing my dreams head on, rather than wait for the dreams to meet me watching 'Persons of Interest'. If you have not watched it. You need to FYI.

I told them the story of a school mate of mine, a couple years ahead of  me, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and his entrepreneurial journey from Univeristy right up to when he built Andela, getting funding of $24 million right through to this point, where he launched and runs  Flutterwave. As much as I know of it though.

Then I asked them if they knew any Entrepreneurs?

They wowed me with their responses. I expected a silent hall. They mentioned Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill gates. They even went ahead to mentioned Nigerian Entrepreneurs like Aliko Dangote, Ibeto.

One of the students went ahead to mention his brother that runs a shawarma spot.

Through their answers I realized that they had  good a grasp of Entrepreneurship. It soon turned from a public speaking event into a truly interactive session. I let  them dictate the pace and direction of the event and it truly took the stress off me and got the children more involved.

Aha moments

The kids explained what an aha moment was for them as a moment of surprise when they had figured something out or when they had an idea of what to build.

In Entrepreneurship, I explained aha moments to be when Entrepreneurs have a had an epiphany of sorts most likely when they realize the business they would want to do.

I used the example of the founders of AirBnB, and how they started their company after they had rented out a mattress in their home.

Entrepreneurship and Technology?

I talked to the kids and spoke to them about how young Nigerian people are building their companies around pressing problems with the use of technology.

We spoke about Jason Njoku and how he started IrokoTv from the need of creating a hub to watch Nigerian movies when his mum visited him from Nigeria and needed to watch Nigerian movies.

We talked about Dr Femi Kuti and how he used technology to respond to the need of many Nigerians to access medical advice and this is very important as hospitals are either not readily accessible or they are not affordable for a large majority of Nigerians.

We then talked about Mark Essien and how he saw the market to enable people check hotel room availability online and build a platform to ease the process of finding somewhere to spend a night, weekend or holiday and expect a certain level of service. The children knew straight away what was about when I started talking about it. Their parents or siblings have probably used the app to check out hotels and book rooms around their Nigerian holiday destination spots or they might have read about it.

Information age! Nawa!

I went ahead to talk about my school mate, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, whose success was my wake up call, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and his journey from University, starting and selling off a few of his startup companies, prior to starting Andela and attracting funding from the Zuckerberg-Chan Initiative to the tune of $24 million and how he eventually left Andela to launch, run and build a fintech solution company called, Flutterwave to serve the African Market to enable individuals and businesses transact seamlessly online. He realized that there was a massive market for it and with his experience in Andela and the previous companies, he has the capacity to go all in. 

The hitch

As we could have it, this was supposed to be my finisher move, but internet refused to let me be great. I had set up some videos up in the presentation to let the kids know that kids their age around the world were starting up their own companies and getting funding to build them up.

I wanted them to be aware there is an increased awareness that jobs tomorrow would be less available than they are now, which deepens the importance of them understanding that rather than building skills for a job that might not be available in a couple years. Why not build your skills towards solving different problems that we currently encounter in the world today or would encounter in the future. The world in a couple years might not need a regular accountant, engineer, or scientist but a problem solver. The world would need solution providers.

Here are some links to the different High School Entrepreneurship competitions I came across and was going to share with the kids if the internet did not fall all our hands. 

3. (Nigerian based)

If you own, manage or run a secondary school or run a club within a school that is related to Entrepreneurship, It is vital that these sort of opportunities are things you should take under deep consideration and get the kids involved. They are the future of Nigeria and unlike generations passed, their future starts now.

Idea Time

Now that I think about it, I was actually rushed to complete the session and they were a lot of things I forgot to tell the kids. And I had to quickly end the session.

But before I did that...

Remember I had told the kids to tell me an amazing idea and win a prize. So I had three kids that tried to answer the question to get a prize.

The first, told me that he wanted to build a solar powered car, to solve over reliance of fossil fuels.
The second told me that she wanted to start a hospital after she had become a doctor.
The third child told me he wanted to build .... I really don't remember, something related to banking...

The first kid, with the idea of a solar powered car won the prize. I gave him a book titled, "Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren.

Q & A Time!!!

Because of time, the teachers and I allowed the students go about their routine activities while ththat that had questions and interested in learning further were asked to stay back.

Unexpectedly, twelve students stayed behind to ask me questions ranging from how to raise funds, how I knew it was the right time, and how I thought of my idea and how easy it is to run a business in Nigeria.

This was my response,

First off, it is not easy to run a business anywhere, talk more of Nigeria. I do not know whether there is ever a right time. I am just going for it and trusting God to lead me through the right path. I just raised funds from family and friends in addition to a grant called The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme. I also spoke to them about other funding platforms that I was considering, like the Ventures Platform accelerator programme amongst many others.

Then there was the wow factor,

I saw two girls, struggling with each other, going back and forth, before actually summoning the courage to talk to me. They told me that they had developed albeit created a sample of lip gloss made from chocolates and sweets together with some binding agents. I was so dumbfounded that all I had in me was an applause.

I asked them whether they had tried to share the sample with their mates, they said they didn't because they were playing safe so as not to flout the school rules and regulations.

My major concern which I told them was the safety of their product. They said it was that they had used their own lips to test their own product and they didn't seem to be experiencing skin irritations as a result of the product. They scored an A* in my book. They also told me that they were also planning on creating their own skin care product and definitely I cheered them on and I told them to unleash their inner Entrepreneurs.

PS. This is also an open call to Entrepreneurs especially women that are into make-up to get in touch with me and get these two little girls involved in their business over the course of their holidays so they can explore their abilities and learn to grow to be amazing Entrepreneurs. We should not let their talents die!

My experience with all the kids were amazing. I learnt a lot. I also appreciate the management and staff of the school for helping to get the children together and support me as I did my best to spur their interest in Entrepreneurship, not just to start and build businesses to earn money but to build businesses around creating solutions for Nigeria in a bid to make our country a better place.

I appreciate the opportunity and I would love to inspire more kids to think about Entrepreneurship and build business ideas around providing solutions as well get them involved in Entrepreneurship challenges as a good extra-curricular activity to enhance holistic learning even in an academic environment.

Here is a video of my thoughts right after the amazing experience with those kids.

Thanks for reading and watching,

God bless,


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for reading. Share with others that would be interested in supporting High School Entrepreneurship. You can subscribe to read our subsequent articles. We would appreciate it. Thank you.

  2. Wonderful... This is inspiring
    I am glad Nigerian Children are planning big things.

    1. It is amazing what kids are thinking of right now. The information age we are in makes knowledge readily available to those that look for it. The onus lies on us to create an enabling environment for these kids to build their amazing ideas. It is our responsibility. Subscribe and read our subsequent posts. We would appreciate it. Thanks.

  3. Great great great!! More of this will go a long way in building just the right entrepreneurship foundation our children need

    1. Thank you. Definitely the journey has just started, we would look to establish entrepreneurship clubs in both primary and secondary schools, to enable the students explore their Entrepreneurship abilities.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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