‘Keep to your vision, if you must succeed in business’

‘Keep to your vision, if you must succeed in business’

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Ayanbajo Ibidapo Oluwafemi is the chief consultant of Edufountain Consulting Limited and EducationforAll, an educational and research organisation. In this interview with JONATHAN ADEROJU he explains how his organisation helps to become a voice against youth apathy, cybercrimes, wellness, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, among others. Excerpts:  

 

Can you tell us about yourself and some achievements in the industry so far?

I am Ayanbajo Ibidapo oluwafemi, a native of Ijebu-Ode Ogun State. I am a graduate of Economics from Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye (Ogun State). In 2015, I also had my second degree in Entrepreneurship and Business Management from National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Agidingbi-Ikeja.

I am the Consultant at Edufountain Consulting Limited that has been solving educational and socio-economic problems of the benefiting communities and the convener of EducationforAll Organisation, an educational and research organisation as a community-based organisation that has been a voice in the fight against youth apathy, cybercrimes, wellness, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and youth poverty via SYROP, a student & youth re-orientation programme.

Could you please tell us how you founded your company?

First, all glory to God, because all was birthed in a course of some prayer sessions in the quest of discovering my divine purpose in 2008. Then EducationforAllOrg was founded which is a driving force behind Edufountain Consulting Limited that was established in 2016 on the 5th of February.

Can you tell us about some of the places you have worked before and how will you describe the experiences?

Well, I worked at Ijebu Northeast Local Government as the personal assistant to the secretary to the local government chairman on youths and social development which helped me in learning more about public administration and grassroots governance 2004-2005.

As a Marketing Executive in 2008 at Zain Nigeria now Airtel Nigeria at their Ilupeju office and Power High Quality paints both helped in testing and sharpening my marketing skills same year. All changed as I felt I wasn’t fulfilled and decided to opt for teaching job as an Arts teacher at Meu Victory Comprehensive School at Idimu Titun-Lagos in 2012. I was a teacher at Fame Comprehensive College Ejigbo-Lagos as an Arts teacher, where it dawned on me that am on my path of purpose. Due to poor working conditions and not feeling valued I went to another private school with more challenging opportunities at Queenmaris Group of Schools where my managerial skills and leadership skills were tested and harnessed though the working conditions weren’t far better than the former, but there was an enabling platform that made EducationForAll thrive, as we were able to develop a joint students gender-based and academic-based initiatives which helped in gaining the trust of both teachers, parents, students and the school management from 2015-2018.

What milestones have you achieved since you set up your organisation?

Still counting, in the sense that, we have been able to be only community-based organisation i.e. a household name in the heart of all as an education problem-solver not only to the schools but also to the authorities in these communities and students across the schools for all ages to all ages, in partnership with other existing players in the sector.

May we know a little about how your organisation is funded?

This has always been a determinant because at a point you have spent more in terms of marketing, space rent for office and tutorial centre, the headaches of overheads even when you are not recording sales and profits.

How do you address the issues of expertise, completion, tariff and security?

Thanks you. We have available very good personnel that can give you and your clients’ 1100percent satisfaction despite the surplus labor. On competition; this is one of the reasons we are still in business because virtually everyone offers our kind of services, but the ability to learn and do things uniquely as a result of trainings and offering some discounted or unpaid services helped in gaining the confidence and trust of our esteemed clients.

Talking about tariffs, as an entrepreneur who is poised to last longer than the first 10years because our research at Edufountain Consulting Limited shows that businesses in that particular business district hardly survive 10years due to ignorance and unforeseen circumstances, e.g. rates such as Association dues, LASAA fees, Signage fees, we have remained afloat and determined to weather the storm.

On the issue of securityas a certified project manager, it is our company safety policy to ensure good care of service from the meeting point to the delivery point, i.e the interest of our clients comes first. Issue of safety is our utmost concern.

Considering the number of clients you have managed at less than 40 years of age, what has been your drive?

My drive is my Creator. My passion and purpose is for a desired change that adds good value to people and puts long-lasting smiles on people’s faces. Our Lord Jesus Christ saw the problem of hunger amongst the crowd, he first enquired (he was given 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish) he prayed, he fed them and he finally impacted their lives and they smiled.

What do you think has sustained your client’s patronage and contributed to the growth of your business?

Wow! This is what every entrepreneur must take note of  integrity; that isyour words must count because if your immediate families, friends and colleagues don’t trust you, then you are out of business. Just like heart of a child is the heart of your client, because when trust ‘bonding factor’ is broken it can never be business as usual. You can’t imagine promising a student client 5As in one sitting and such student hardly came out with 2Bs, 2Cs, 3Es and 2Fs, it can be very embarrassing! In addition to integrity, there are other factors that help in this regard. Delivery system: You must ensure your client gets your 110percent of your service even at delivery point where good customer relation is pivotal.

Communication: Always ensure that you update or inform your clients on the decision and policy changes made by your company via bulk sms, social media platforms and ads.

Think as your clients: This means that you must read the mind of your clients to help you know how exactly and why they chose you.

Have or develop a good listening ear because, in some cases you get your services feedbacks on the spot or at your back.

Leveraging on your connections, it was found out according to a research at Edufountain Consulting Limited that very few Nigerian youths or youth entrepreneurs attend paid or unpaid seminars and trainings, not to mention that they don’t follow up the new connections at such meetings because everyone needs someone if you want to succeed.

Having visited other countries, how will you compare Nigeria education sector with what is obtainable outside the country?

The educational sector size in Nigeria is extremely large. Nigeria is one of top 5 countries in the world that is highly proliferated with schools at all levels in all the communities either rural or urban. A major factor is also the fact that, Nigeria is densely populated as a result of poor birth control particularly in the Northern, South-Eastern and Western part of Nigeria.

The high level of technological advancement and improvement, adequate funding by the government and a regularise framework that ensures the bars are continuously raised to provide well and enriched qualitative education not undermining the strong public and private partnership which is seen absent in the Nigeria educational sector.

Who are the people who inspire you and how have you emulated their examples?

Rev. Sam Adeyemi of Daystar Christian Centre, Pastor Joseph Adebamowo of Intercontinental Harvest Church, Richard Branson, founder at Virgin Group and Stowe School also known as Dr.Yes.

Were there times you almost gave up building your brand and how were you able to manage those moments?

Yes, there were times I felt like throwing in the towel, but you know if you quit you can’t win, then you become a lie to yourself because life only smiles at those who embraces challenges and the beauty of a success is how many times you have failed, also the beauty of breakthrough is not the number of times you break-even but several and countless times you were broken. So, give in but don’t give up! So I was able to manage and weather such moments by watching movies, listening to mentors podcast, share my success stories with like-minds and most importantly, seek God’s help and direction.

In your own way, how are you creating employment opportunities for youths through your business?

Well! This is made possible due to my involvement as a youth entrepreneur in politics as a technocrat not as a full-fledged politician, which has enabled and positioned me to attract support from all quarters in line with our empowerment initiatives due to demand, change, technology and taste via leverage.

Do you have certification for your company?

YES! I do

What are your expansion plans for the future?

God’s willing with all things been equal; we are aspiring to have our offices and more partnerships beyond the shores of sub-Saharan Africa in the next 10years.

What advice can you give to other entrepreneurs?

Be swift to embrace change just like smallest fish, which is always on the look, prepared and determined to be the next Pride of Oceans and the Seas and put your trust in God and your gut.



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