One thing that makes me happy is seeing people do their best; hence, my love for education. I was given a chance to push myself this January as I prepared my mind for the Innovation Readiness Training(IRT) by Innovate for Africa(IFA). I started this first part of the IFA fellowship with a surge of energy as the curriculum involved me honing certain values essential to a startup's progress. They include; grit, collaboration, creativity, innovation, and inclusivity and diversity. I will forever hold on to these values that have been greatly beneficial as they have helped me and the teams that I have worked in to make progress with tasks that we were given.
The IRT curriculum involved sessions around personal branding, design thinking, strategic analysis, and a hard skills lab. While going through the personal branding session, I understood that branding is restricted to businesses alone. Positioning oneself as a professional brand is very important, the level of branding that IFA was putting us through paid off as employers had a lot of information on the fellows before even meeting them. The strategic analysis sessions helped me with critical thinking. Carrying out research and analysis including SWOT and STEEPLE, to define strategies for various levels of the organisation’s development process.
As an entrepreneur who likes to solve problems and create a business from the solutions, the design thinking process gave me insights for going through this process more constructively. I was able to collaborate with my team on a user-centric solution for graduates seeking employment in Nigeria called JobEase.
For the hard skills lab, I got exposed to the product management track and its tools. I also had the opportunity to work with my colleagues on a real-life consultancy project for Afya Pamoja; a health startup based in Tanzania. I took advantage of this opportunity to learn from my mentor; Quadri Oguntade, and as many other materials as I could to learn and practice.
I enjoyed listening to inspiring innovators who came as guest speakers as they told us wisdom stories that made an impact on me. These startup owners gave their time to tell us about their entrepreneurial journey, the lessons, the struggles and the victories. Fehintolu Olaogun of CredPal really impacted my thinking and I learnt from him that in entrepreneurship, you just have to keep moving forward, you will make mistakes but keep recording improvement.
Finally, the IFA team. It was a huge relief to know that they were available to offer support, mentorship and reminders. They did all these with a constant air of positivity and I am certainly imbibing this value. It was a whole month of forming habits that will help in a startup experience or my entrepreneurial journey.
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