If you ever think you are too small to be effective, then you have never been in bed with a mosquito! – Wendy Lesko
The Banquent Hall of the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, was all bubbly as men and women of substance gathered to celebrate with one of their own, Rotarian Omobolanle Oyebade, who launched his latest brainchild called Bola Oyebade Foundation (BOF).
In his speech, Rotarian Oyebade, who doubles as the Founder and Trustee Chair said that the essence of the Foundation, was to inspire Nigerians especially youths to reach their full potentials while creating avenues for empowering them through Agriculture and vocational skills.
He noted that being too small to be effective or relevant are expressions that should not be in their thoughts because even as litte as a mustard seed is, it is what usually grows to become a giant oak, he therefore encouraged the youths to start from where they are even if it is small.
Oyebade’s welcome message was followed by a thorough lecture delivered by a seasoned Chartered Accountnt and Founding Partner, SIOA Mr. Ladi Smith.
The guest lecturer spoke on the theme “Sustainable Economic Empowerment”.
Smith, who is a Knight of Saint Westley and Chairman Olashore Group of Schools, started by expressing the importance of a tradesman, stressing that “abroad, they value people who are tradesmen” and informed that there are businesses all around if only one could be alert to his environment.
He summarised his lecture by telling a story of the Plantain Chips industry, which according to him is a N2 billion monthly business.
In his example, he mentioned that an Indian business woman came to Nigeria to set up a business, discovered sellers of plantain chips. This discovery changed the woman’s business idea because she found out that an estimated eighty to hundred million naira is made daily from the sale of plantain chips and up to two billion naira is made monthly.
“We are a unique set of people in Nigeria and it will be difficult for a government to send people out of the street selling because they contribute largely to our economy,” he noted.
He also advised youths and entrepreneurs to always appreciate technology in all they do because technology has displaced many businesses and will still displace more businesses.
“In whatever you do, look at the next five to ten years and ask yourself if you will still be able to do it,” he said, adding that there things youths can do to better their lives such as Crypto Currency, Blogging, Coding and digital marketing among others.
He advised youths seeking employment that the four walls of school shouldn’t stop anyone from getting adventurous, stressing that “In what you do, be an entrepreneur.”
Adding to the long, rich and educative speech, Rev. Canon Akeredolu added that youths should find out their God given talents and make sure they know what they are good at so as to make a better living for themselves.
The inaugural lecture coincided with the birthday of the Founder, and it was marked with fanfare and cutting of the cake in the course of the programme.
The paramount ruler of Abigi Kingdom, The Ojotumoro of Abigi Kingdom, HRM Oba Olusegun Ogunye, was on hand to shower heartfelt royal blessings on Mr Oyebade and the Foundation.
Established in 2016, the Bola Oyebade Foundation has been in the forefront of giving helping hands to the needy and has so far successfully executed some projects. Among the many projects is a donation of one unit industrial sewing machine to a young lady, Shitta Hamidat Omolara, who is passionate about developing a skill in the art of making bags, shoes, slippers and belts, using local cloth fabric (Ankara). Today, Omolara, according to her testimony is a made entrepreneur.
The Foundation has also donated to different women across the nation, units of pepper grinding machine as well as helped in setting up barbing business for four young men in Lagos, Oyo and Ogun states.
That is not all, the Foundation has outlined gigantic projects with which to further better the lives of regular Nigerians, and these projects include empowering a cluster of women through cassava processing plants in five different rural communities namely Abigi, Ota, Epe, Ikorodu and Akure; Agricultural Outgrower scheme for the unemployed youths and gradutaes; provision of insecticides and herbicides to selected farmers in rural areas and others.
It also plans to establish Agricultural Out Growers Schemes for unemployed youths and graduates, Agricultural Training Schemes on different areas and new practices for better productivity and increased yield, initiate vocational training programmes, micro-credit schemes, entrepreneurial mentorship schemes as well as scholarship for primary, secondary and tertiary education.
The Launch proper, saw friends of the Foundation making donations for its proper takeoff.
Speaking to The Boss, Oyebade said: “The Bola Oyebade Foundation is a registered private Non-Governmental Organization incorporated in Nigeria in July 2016. Since its inception, the foundation has been working with local partners around the country to economically strengthen members of the communities.
“The vision of the foundation is to uplift lives of individuals through economic empowerment and improve the overall quality of living of Nigerians.”
He informed us that the Foundation was inspired by the need to reach out to as many Nigerians as possible, with sustainble ideas that will make them entrepreneurs or contributors to the economy.