Thursday, 21 June 2012

Samson… Living the dream of better Nigeria

OLATUNDE Samson, the CEO of Business Impact Limited, Lagos, Nigeria, an online company, is a motivational speaker and author. He is the host of a monthly mentorship programme tagged, Entrepreneur Platform. Samson, the Principal of School of Wealth Creation, runs several yearly empowerment seminars that aim at making participants entrepreneurs. Recently, he was honoured with the International Peace Ambassador awarded by The United Nations. BISI ALABI WILLAIMS spoke with the young entrepreneur on his new role as a campaigner for peace, growth and development.

What was the selection process like?
  I was appointed based on my youth development programmes and my achievement in the three years period of the pursuit.
What are your roles as the ambassador of peace? 
  My major role is to be an exceptional crusader for peace. A strategic way to accomplish this is, to be not just an advocate for youth emancipation, but also an exemplary trainer of tomorrow’s leaders.

How do you intend to make other entrepreneurs partner with government to instill peace in the country?
  One of the ways to make peace reign in the country is to develop the youth. We have started different youth initiatives, which include the student enterprise in higher institutions. We have visited seven campuses within the last five months and through inspiring and life-changing talks, we hope to re-orientate the youths, direct their potentials to personal and career success, entrepreneurship and development of Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
   However, such a project is capital intensive and we may need to partner with government at all levels to take it to the nooks and crannies of the country.
   We are also embarking on book projects that portray exemplary Nigerians, and we believe this will inspire several youths not to see the Nigerian situation as an opportunity to dive into violence and mediocrity, but as a steppingstone to success.
 Why business impact and ICT training?
   Business Impact Ltd (BIL) is actually a product of my quest to become an accomplished entrepreneur. Our passion is to help individuals and corporate bodies succeed in business. One of the ways to accomplish this is by giving them quality Internet presence.
   Today, BIL has four departments: Business Impact Academy (BIA), which trains individuals and SMEs on Entrepreneurship (online and offline business models), ICT and Wealth Creation Principles; The Business Impact Consultancy (BIC), which provides solution to challenges of individuals and corporate establishments with respect to advertising, branding and enhanced exposure via the World Wide Web (www); and Business Impact Media (BIM) reaches out to youths, entrepreneurs and SMEs through conferences, TV shows, student enterprise, the Below 45 Entrepreneur Mentorship Forum and books. We are also into real estate with the establishment of the Business Impact Estates (BIE).

What were you doing before now and how has it been, building a brand like yours?
   I bade farewell to the job market even before I left the university. I only graduated from the university to continue with what I started while in school. Over the years, BIL and Samson Olatunde have been etched on the minds of several Nigerians and we will continue to inform Nigerians about opportunities that can transport them from poverty and mediocrity to desirable and fulfilled life.

With high rate of unemployment, corruption and dearth of infrastructure, how do intend to impact on your immediate environment in the country?
   The challenge before us calls for strategic approach. Most of the time, we only take away fruits of evil instead of dealing it from the root. As a matter of fact, the restiveness in various parts of the country, today is, to an extent, caused by idle youths whom the International Labour Organisation (ILO) refers to as ‘a costly group.’
  I am, therefore, devoting a large chunk of my efforts to youth empowerment. I believe if Nigerian youths are made to see better ways to channel their strength and intelligence, they will, no doubt, become assets and cease to be threats to the society.
How do you impart in the youth to embrace peace?
  It is not really about the designation, but about positively affecting lives and bringing the much-needed change in our country. I will still be an agent of youth emancipation, which will entail making young people to understand that they have no excuse to engage in vices. They can become outstanding personalities in spite of the challenges in the country.
  If a young person sees a bright future and the powers he possesses in changing things not by carrying dangerous weapons but by innovative thinking and positive attitude, he is bound to become a campaigner for peace, growth and development at his or her little corner.
   One of the greatest instruments that can help us to achieve this is for young people to develop a new mindset; we must begin to see possibilities in impossibilities. The Nigerian dream is a possibility and we youths must not focus on the ills of this country, but on the good.
  John Mason wrote that Edison was afraid of the dark — yet he overcame that obstacle in a big way and invented the electric bulb; that should be our attitude. We must cease to be complainers, but endeavour to be problem solvers.
 So, every youth must make sure to see gains even in the midst of pains and then take up the campaign for peace and positive change.  Firstly, however, we must take the words of the legendary Mahatman Gandhi seriously: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Today, many Nigerian youths are travelling abroad for ‘greener pastures’, is this a way out of our problems?
  Well, it depends. I believe the principal thing is for the youths to develop concrete vision for their lives. We have many Nigerians doing fine abroad while there are also many experiencing hardship. So, it is not bad to stay back in Nigeria, think outside the box and grab some of the opportunities available instead of travelling abroad to waste away in another man’s land. There is no place like home, you know.
    As I said, I became an entrepreneur at 22, as an undergraduate. I was studying Business Administration and, so much, loved to be financially independent. I did not despise days of little beginning, I so, I started a small computer-training centre, using my roommate’s computer system.
  I succeeded in that venture. To gain more insight, I attended one of Dr. Sunny Ojeagbase’s SADC seminars, which became an eye-opener for me. We were given the right to sell some e-products and I saw this as a great opportunity to make good money. And that was just it; I started smiling to the bank.
 From your experiences, what do you have for Nigerian youths?
  Now is not the time to give up, this will not help any unemployed Nigerian. We must always keep hope alive! Never be too tired to try. The best way to transform a nation is to educate its people.
  To be candid, faith in God, great conviction that I can make it, mentorship, passion for what I do, quest for sound information from any legal source such as books, Internet and others have immensely contributed to my success. Besides, I am always prepared to go after opportunities and it is certain that success is a product of intercourse between preparation and opportunity.
  Through the BIL, I have trained more than 6000 people since the inception of the company and initiative such as Student Enterprise is positively affecting the lives of thousands of Nigerian students.
  I am also an adventurous fellow, an avid reader, trainer, inspirational speaker and business growth strategist. I collaborate with anyone that has integrity, thinks big and has a positive mental attitude even in the midst of adversity — someone who sees beyond the challenges of the present.

What is the Nigeria of your dream?
   I look forward to a Nigeria where every citizen and, even, foreigners would take pride in. An icon in the league of nations, a country where poverty will be at the barest minimum; a nation of outstanding inventors, producers and manufacturers, and not a nation of only consumers. 
   Furthermore, in the next 10 years, I envision myself to have trained not less than 50,000 Nigerians yearly. In fact, I look forward to seeing at least a successful entrepreneur in every Nigerian family.

Do you believe in the President’s transformational agenda?
  The President’s agenda is quite extensive and sound. However, it is the implementation that matters and not just the proposal. Therefore, the President would do well to ensure, by means of the powers vested in him, that all the projects earmarked do not just remain on papers, but are embarked upon as soon as possible.

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