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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Tolulope Aladesuyi on Entrepreneurship and Influencing Teenagers for Greatness

Meet Nigeria's Tolulope Aladesuyi, a young female entrepreneur and a graduate of Crop, Soil and Pest Management from the Federal University of Technology, Akure. She runs Eso-Ara, an outfit that deals in the sales of fashion accessories and costume-jewellery, a business she started in 2011 during her national youth service. In an interview with the vanguard, she talks about her business and how she is influencing teenagers for greatness. Read excerpts below:

Tell us about your venture?
The Eso-Ara brand is associated with excellence and we are carving a unique niche in the beauty industry in Nigeria. Primarily we run an outfit that deals in the sales of fashion accessories and costume-jewellery as well as a growing chain of distributors who deal in the same products. Beyond sales, we have a plush sense of beauty and unmatched customer service delivery; these things are responsible for our growing customer base and influence. Our business also powers the Make-A-Future initiative for teenagers.

Apart from the Esoara brand, I also run the MAKE-A-FUTURE (MAF) initiative – An initiative targeted at building visionary teenagers that will affect their world positively. Our vision at MAF is delivered through skill acquisition, peer mentoring and experience sharing. These teenagers will in turn become youths very soon and I believe what we are doing at MAF is very profound in that we are imbibing the right ideals in our teenagers. We have taught over 200 teenagers in 2 cities of Nigeria 3 different skills ranging from cake making to snacks making and Ankara accessories training. We are currently planning something bigger this year to impact more teenagers.

What drives you?
I think the question should be ‘Who?’ God drives me. God is my main drive, the fact that I do not just want to live for me alone. The fact that the nation I live in is termed a third-world nation and there is a lot l can do to make her a better place. I am aware that there is nothing, I have- either tangible or intangible- that I haven’t been given and this makes me feel obliged to leave everyone better than I met them. The passion to be the change I seek is what drives me basically.

What steps can the government take to curb unemployment?
A primary way the government can curb unemployment is by putting more active policies in place as regards the educational sector. Entrepreneurial skills and capacity building trainings should be included into the curriculum of our secondary schools. This would allow innovation set in and open up other new sectors. It’s obvious that what the present day education gives which is just ‘book knowledge’ is not enough to sustain people in real life situations. Entrepreneurial skills at secondary school level would allow people discover themselves early and will reduce pressure in the oil and gas and also the banking sectors. Conducive and well equipped environment for learning is also important.

How can woman make their mark in the society?

Women can make their mark known in the society by first discovering themselves and knowing that there is something new they bring to the table. I personally believe womanhood is a blessing to the world. The woman is blessed with the power to intuitively discern and see with a deeper meaning what others will just see casually. I believe the renaissance we seek in our nation will first start in the homes which will be championed by women with the support of men who love them. Women should know their place and stay there relevantly.

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