I used to think entrepreneurship should focus on financial rewards or benefits derived from setting up ventures. Being a part of the 2021 IFA fellowship as well as insights gained from the experiences of entrepreneurs over time has helped set a new perspective on what it really entails. Entrepreneurship centres around creatively proffering solutions to the hardest problems and an entrepreneur is an innovative problem solver.
The fellowship began with an Innovation Readiness Training (IRT) conducted by a team of professionals and educators from top citadels of higher learning; Harvard School of Education and MIT Sloan school of management. These individuals are clearly passionate about developing talents into change-makers that add value to their immediate environment. Some of the IFA values that are important to the development of a startup include;
Being Innovative - re-imagine a better tomorrow through ideas.
Collaboration - seek collective agreement and hear other people's inputs to inspire.
Grit - think big, preserve, and execute no matter what.
Growth mindset - view mistakes as an opportunity to learn.
Inclusivity and diversity - solicit and respect opinions from all voices to succeed.
The training which spanned for 4 weeks was an amazing learning experience structured to ensure we imbibe these values in the course of our personal development. It allowed me to reflect and understand myself as a unique individual as I have learnt the importance of branding and I am ready to make a conscious and intentional effort to advance my career and expand my circle of influence and impact.
The IRT initially had about 40 fellows out of over 600 applications, and I was among 30 fellows that made it through the training which had a very robust curriculum that included design thinking, personal branding, strategic planning, and a hard skill lab session where I got to learn about product management and consult for a rental management startup in Boston; Splitspot.
An exciting part of the training was pitching a solution created during the IFA hackathon which helped provide a practical understanding of the design thinking process. I also learnt how to collaborate effectively in creating and presenting a solution to help guide Nigerian graduates moving into the labour market; JOB EASE. To create this solution, we had to understand what it meant to be strategic in researching and analyzing an organization.
It was quite inspiring when we had the opportunity to hear the experiences of speakers active in the startup ecosystem such as; Chibuzo Opara from Drug Stoc, Chiedo John from Github, Fehintolu Olaogun from Cred Pal, Vivian Nwakah from MedSaf, Efosa Ojomo from the Clayton Christensen Institute, Michael Olurunniniwo from Y-labs and Faith Adesemowo from Social Lender.
The training experience was worthwhile as I realized that it has further helped me to re-enforce my mantra that anything is indeed hackable. I truly admire the innovator I am becoming and I am committed to embody the Innovate for Africa values and accomplish my noble goals of building human-centric products that enrich lives, co-create enabling platforms for opportunities and empowering individuals to be their best versions.
Partnering with a startup like yours will be an incredible learning experience for fellows like Ademola, IN ADDITION to helping your startup accelerate with passionate African innovators.
Sign in to our IFA Portal to see the range of talent that can join your startup today.