CEO of Black House Media Group, Ayeni Adekunle spoke at the June edition of the monthly business meeting organized by Junior Chambers International (JCI), a nonprofit organization of young active citizens.
The event, which held on Sunday, June 21, 2015 at Protea Hotel, Ikeja also had the duo of Titus and Tobias Igwe of Speed Meals Mobile Kitchen as speakers. During his session, Ayeni gave a detailed narration of his background and how he managed to overcome the challenges that came with being raised in a middle class neighbourhood like Okokomaiko.
He stated that his resolve to succeed despite his humble background helped him discover his talent early enough and put it to use. He said, ‘I’m a bit fortunate because I had done a lot during the five years I stayed at home writing JAMB and I had been talking to entertainers during those periods. By the time I left school, I realized that I wanted to be a journalist so I got a job with Encomium, one of the biggest entertainment magazines’.
He also encouraged the participants not to lose sight of their dreams but to stand firm even in the face of adversities that may seek to discourage their desire to be entrepreneurs. According to him, being an entrepreneur in Nigeria comes with several challenges which must be well prepared for, ‘A lot of times, the soul of businesses departs because they are not prepared for what the future holds. There are challenges entrepreneurs face on a daily basis, that is why I follow MKO’s words where he said, “you should never invest in a business you know nothing about. Before you start a business you should take about two years to understudy the business’ he said.
Ayeni whose organization currently employs around 70 Nigerians, also shared his thoughts on the lack of human capital in the country describing it as a lingering problem that must be tackled in the country.
He said, “People have graduated with first class but when you give them a task, they can’t perform. I don’t blame them because they have not been prepared for that challenge. Graduates can’t be blamed because, usually they are not prepared from a young age to serve in leadership positions and this makes it increasingly difficult to find the right quality of people to help carry out your vision as an entrepreneur. I think our educational structure is flawed. I think just like other countries our educational system should be structured to reflect the economy’s need. Courses of study are mostly chosen based on prestige,”
The Igwe Twins while speaking advised participants to avoid getting a loan to start a business; they encouraged participants to embrace the concept of failure, as success cannot be achieved without failure. They also told participants to avoid letting material benefits drive their businesses, “Don’t think of the material benefit you will get from doing what you are doing. Just do it well and let it be your driving force. Dare to be different and it will endear you to a lot of people’. On the need for entrepreneurs to dream big, they said, ‘You don’t plan to become great, Life presents the circumstances, and you either accept the opportunity to transform your life or not. We all can become whatever we choose to be. It’s allowed to dream big.”
Kehinde Adedeji, the president of the Junior Chambers International, Lagos city chapter, who moderated the session, thanked the speakers for not holding back and sharing their vast experience with participants at the Business Meeting With Entrepreneurs.