Meet Ayobami Oludele, the CEO of Kingseed & Queenseed Associate. He is also the convener of Campus CEO magazine. He is a business and educational consultant. He has imparted positively into lives of several youths in Nigeria especially in Kwara state. Ayobami Oludele is a youth passionate person. He sees positive seed in every Nigerian youth. His drive is majored on raising a generation of solutions. He has drives towards entrepreneurship and education. He believes that education is more than just going to school. Nigerian youths need transformative and leadership training for a better business venture. Eventnews Africa held an interview section with him during the Unilorin edition of the campus CEO summit tagged “CEO on campus”.
Why campus CEO
Campus ceo is a concept that was developed as an icing of entrepreneurship. This came as desire to bridge the gap between youths on campus and the reality in the real life. While I was on campus I discovered that great minds on our present day started while they were on campus. During an interview with Mr. Opeyemi, co-founder of Jobberman, he said the idea of Jobberman started while on Campus at OAU – Obafemi Awolowo University. And today that little idea has grown into a big brand and he is making millions through it. Check out Google, Facebook and other big brands. The idea behind them started while they were on campus. We came about this idea that if you would be a CEO, then the right place to start is on campus.
What’s the major problem you intend to solve through campus CEO.
The first and foremost problem being encountered by youths globally is the issue of unemployment. We want to address the issue of finishing school without a job placement. So we believe that creating job can actually be possible through skill acquisition. Those creating jobs now are entrepreneurs. Look at the likes of Aliko Dangote who has created jobs directly or indirectly for thousands of Nigerians. We are striking a balance for our youths to graduate with an entrepreneurial altitude. We want them to get a mindset that they can create jobs. Some youths have the mentality of graduating to get a good job. We want to change that through ceo on campus. Our youths need to get the orientation that they need to create jobs for themselves and others. Campus CEO is here to solve the problem of unemployment, idleness in our youths who are wasting their potential. We are creating a platform where their skills can be developed and opportunities around them can be fully harnessed.
We believe in potentials of Nigerian youths that are waiting to be harnessed. Recently, we have been crying over the dry oil wells, but we have not been crying over the abundant of potentials that are yet to be tapped. These are youths that are just roaming the streets. Some are traveling outside the country looking for greener pasture. Whereas they are meant to be solutions to the problems of Nigeria. We are creating a platform to bring back the heart of our youths so they can take up the challenges and be a part of the solutions to the problems of Nigeria as far as unemployment is concerned. However, we still believe there are potentials in Nigeria and we are ready to give it all it takes.
Do you think the Nigerian youths still have the zeal to embark on entrepreneurship?
Nigerian youths of today seem to be seeing entrepreneurship as the way out. I will divide Nigerian youths into categories. A category that were once like “I can’t go into business”, “I will get a job”. Looking at the current statistics, almost every Nigerian youth graduate will have a sibling who has graduated and still unemployed. With this, they have the urge to find a way out. I see Nigerian youths awakening to realities.
Formerly, they had the mentality that the easterners are the business people. But recently, it has dawned on them that the business people are the ones creating the opportunities and making the big money in Nigeria. That’s why I believe there is a revival going on now. Looking at the event we just organized today, the attendance was massive compared to if it was organized few years back. As at then, you might not see any youth in attendance. But now, the difference is clear. The tension of the current youths is that there is no job. They now know that unemployment is real and there is no longer job out there. We believe that a better percentage of Nigerian youths are sensing the need to better their entrepreneurial skills and passion. Some categories still think that no matter how hard it may be, they will still get a job. But this depends on their parents and the kind of connections they have.
What has been the motivating spirit behind this vision?
When it comes to entrepreneurship, I do tell people that I stumbled upon this when I finished my first degree. Though, before my graduation, there was a time when I had a passion to getting a masters degree. I had an ambition for lecturing. But after then, I discovered that there was no even lecturing job out there. As you know this believe that if you can have your Masters degree, then good job is assured. So I later discovered that what I was really looking for was inside of me. I found my entrepreneurial passion out of the reality that dawned on me after graduation.
One other thing that has motivated me is the fact that I’m actually part of the solutions to the problems of my great country Nigeria. I’m the one Africa and the world at large is waiting for. Whenever I see any problem, I ask myself, where will I stand to solve this problem? My driving factor has always been “Be a Solution”. I have a keen eye to see problems and associated opportunities and I also have a network of people that will help me to achieve because I believe I won’t be able to solve every problem. Right here, at the tip of my fingers, I can network with potential minds that can move things and we can solve problems together. I still believe that through this, we shall make our world better than we met it.
Where do you see campus CEO in the next 5 years?
It’s a big plus that CEO on campus has been launched in University of Ilorin. We give God the glory for making this dream a reality. This is a vision we have been working on. It’s over 3 years we submitted the proposal to universities. We have a 5 year goal of achieving a massive campaign across Nigerian institutions of learning. The project is tagged “Project Seed Initiative”. The SEED stands for “Skill Empowerment and entrepreneurship Development”. There are seed potentials inside of every youth.
The reality of every seed in them will be materialized through campus CEO. As we go to various campuses, we bring entrepreneurs who have launched their businesses and have made great success out of it. They will be able to tell the students the difference between whom they were and who they are now. Not just by teaching theories in the classrooms but bringing practical life stories of entrepreneurs who have successfully launched businesses. We are not talking of lecturers that teach businesses they do not practice. We need people who are swimming in the flood of business ventures. The road to the top might be rough, that’s why we need people with such experience, passion, doggedness and determination to come back into the campus and relate with the students. And with God on our side, we are making a difference in our generation.
There is a very big gap between what is been taught in the class and what the real life actually required. How do you intend to bridge this gap?
Ceo on campus is the bridge. This will serve as the ladder to connect graduates with the reality that is waiting for them outside the four walls of the classroom. CEO on campus is set to open classroom prisons and doors of those students who have been locked in the activities of reading, having bundles of lecture notes without practical experience.
We are here to make life on campus fulfilling rather than boring. We are bringing entrepreneurs to inspire them and bridge the gap. This will bring answer to the difference between what they learnt in school and what is being learnt in the real life. Remember that life itself is learning. You have to learn till the end of your journey on earth. We will be teaching them what school will not teach them. There are several windows of opportunities that school curriculum might not entail, these are some of the things that we are focusing on. The society is no longer looking for people with certificates. Certificate is just to show that you went to school. It’s not a meal ticket. It does not guarantee the future. Campus CEO is about the business of life.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered as an entrepreneur?
Many people want to identify with success both they don’t take time to study the process in becoming a success. There are challenges associated to entrepreneurship and that’s why passionate young minds need to learn through the process. One of the major challenges I have faced as an entrepreneur is the problem of getting the right minds. I don’t have problem with ideas. God has always blessed me with great ideas that can solve problems. You need the right team to be able to fulfill your dreams and aspirations.
The question has always been “Who will be the right team to fulfill my dreams”? While I wait for the fulfillment of my dreams, I work towards getting the right team. If you have the right team, then your dream will become a reality. When I find wrong people, I try to dissociate myself from them. And when I find right minded people, I connect with them. I have had staff that are unfaithful. People who don’t see anything good in what you are doing. People who will discourage you. They will tell you to leave your passion and go get a job. I do have problem with people whose mentality are different from mine. Some people don’t believe in the future. They don’t believe that they can make a difference in this nation. There are some people full of negative mentality. They are my major challenge in life. My second challenge might be money. But most time, once I have the right people, money becomes a secondary need. I have held programs that money did not really come out of it but people came and it materialized to money at the end. Just make the right relationship with people and money will actually flow towards your passion. Many people think that money is the biggest challenge but it’s not so. There are so many things that can be achieved without money. That’s why entrepreneurs should learn to think outside the box. You hear people say, I don’t have money, I don’t have this, I don’t have that. These kind of people need to think out of the box. They have ideas but they find it difficult to harness.
The first law of creating wealth is to serve for free. What does it take me to serve for free? Things I’m doing now might not be directly profitable in monetary terms. There are so many things we can do for free that can set us at the channel of creating wealth.
Being an entrepreneur, CEO of Kingseed & Queens Associate, Campus CEO magazine, a husband and at the same time a religious person; how do you manage your time?
Balancing is one of the main problems of entrepreneurs especially in Nigeria. Inclining towards one direction more than the others denies them the attention they require. Entrepreneurs are people who have strong passion and this makes it difficult to take their attentions from areas they have found prospects and profit oriented opportunities. In trying to balance my time usage, I schedule my time into modules. I set goals and they must tally with my daily activities. As a husband, I have a home. My wife needs my attention, my children need me too. So whenever I’m home, I know I’m there for them. When I’m in the office I face office work and when I’m in church I know I’m there for that purpose. So in every aspect I find myself I always want to be relevant. Not business relevance and family irrelevance. Even students who have ventured into entrepreneurship also encounter the issue of balancing. You can be a business owner as a student and still be successful academically.
Recently, during an interview with one of our young student entrepreneur that featured in our magazine, he narrated how he started his business. He also stated how he has been able to manage his time and balance between school and business. In his words he said
I do my reading and every other academic activity during the day and I do my business production at night. While his counter parts were busy sleeping, he was busy burning the night candle just to make sure that his business moves ahead. This tells you that balancing needs extra commitment.
What provision do you have for entrepreneurial minded youths who are outside the four walls of school.
Campus CEO is not only four students. We also have provisions for youths that are not opportune to be in school but are passionate about building a business of their own.
What advice do you have for young ones out there?
My word of encouragement for young people out there is that there are millions of opportunities. They should make a decision to take action today. They should think outside the box.