Fara: The brainy amsel with business acumen
For the 25-year-old Faramola Fasuyi, who heads the School of Enterprise at Ibadan Business School (IBS), opportunities abound in Nigeria for those who think of solution to every challenge they encounter around them.
The young, single and brainy lady, who is deeply committed to youth empowerment is one of the few quiet African young leaders setting the standards for other youths to follow. She opined that the inability of many youths to see through challenges and use the unique opportunities of social platform to positively develop themselves and thge network is responsible for the large army of the unemployed in the country.
She regretted these several hours being spent on Facebook, Instagram and other social networks for chatting and gossiping did not allow for reading books that can prepare them for gainful employment or turning them to a high impact entrepreneurs.
She said: “I feel sad and disturbed at the manner our youths engage themselves on flippant issues of the social network. But unknown to them, the more time they spend on Facebook or Instagram, the more they contribute towards another person’s success. Facebook was created by somebody, it survives on the number of people that subscribe to it and active users. The people that have the highest following on Instagram, are being paid to post certain things that you are re-tweeting and laughing at.
“Recently Oprah Winfrey posted something on weight waters and she was on a diet and lost weight. Millions of people re-tweeted it, but unknown to them, she is a Board member of the company and the price of stock of weight watchers went higher. And what did she do? She promoted the brand of her company. I always tell people that instead of contributing to another person’s success, why don’t you think about what you can do, so others can contribute to your success.
“What we tell people during our employability training programme is that there are jobs out there, either through creation or being an entrepreneur.”
Speaking about the youth empowerment which has been the main target of government, she noted that as at October last year, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put the number of unemployed people in this country at 76.5 million. Besides, International Labour Organization (ILO) says 13 per cent of this fall within ages of 15 and 24.
“So, we have a large population of youth doing nothing while they supposed to be contributing their earlier years towards productivity and growing the economy.
“The truth is that there are jobs in the market, but the issue is that we have many unemployable individuals as graduates because they are not equipped with necessary skills. It is not necessarily their fault. When last did we hear they scrapped a course or programme in any of our universities? It was a programme my father had in the University of Ibadan (UI) that is still currently running. I am 25 years old now and I know my father did not marry early. Are we saying that the world is stagnant, is the knowledge that was relevant 60 years ago still applicable now?
“We now talk of hi-tech and Information Age but our educational system, there is a disconnect. We have not given them the right skill and knowledge that is required to get in tune with the current reality in the job market. As an owner of an enterprise, you only want an individual who is able to help you compete with your competitors, and your competitors are not in Nigeria; the world is a global village. The fact is that our Nigerian universities are not providing that, that is why some Nigerians are sending their kids abroad to get the required knowledge from schools where they take conscious efforts to revise their syllabus, and that is why some companies would only employ those with foreign degrees.”
While acknowledging the efforts of the government in trying to empower youths through providing access to funding and entrepreneurial skills, she said the resources provided are largely accounted for and monitored, the reason why it has been given the expected result.
She noted: “When our government talks of empowerment and give out N500,000 to somebody, what machinery can it buy? But for you to set up a high impact business which can contribute successfully to our labour market, it goes beyond that. In the US now, they have social business innovators group. What they do is that they allocate about N500 billion yearly in Nigerian rate to them for the development of high-impact entrepreneurs. These are the people that contribute to the creation of jobs. When you talk of Apple, its income is bigger than the GDP of the US itself. But do we have such instances in Nigeria, or are we working to have such instance in Nigeria? In my own opinion I will say no.”
Fara, as she is fondly called is among few young high fliers that take life as a school and always ready to learn or impact knowledge on the people especially in the area of creating wealth. Her school is currently training 200 individuals on how to become a successful entrepreneur free of charge under its Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative with a target of creating no fewer than 10 High-Impact Entrepreneurs in the next five years.
She said: “Our overall focus as a School of Enterprise is to help organisations or entrepreneurs to start, grow and to thrive. There are some people who have good business idea in their mind, we help them to articulate it and develop a feasibility plan and a business plan. We also provide them with entrepreneurial education. We have practicing entrepreneurs who want to expand; we provide them with programs that help to support and grow them in that business.
“We provide necessary insight, and for those who want to grow beyond Nigeria, that is high impact entrepreneurs, that growing beyond providing jobs but creating wealth for even the nation, that is where we talk of the likes of Alhaji Aliko Dangote etc. We link you up with entrepreneurs of high net worth that can finance your business.” How does she unwind? She said, “I only unwind through my mentorship programs. I am either being mentored or I am mentoring somebody. I was brought up with the mindset that you don’t see challenges; you see opportunities. When people say there is no shelter, you should be thinking of how to create low-income shelter for individuals, when people complain of no food, you should be thinking making low-cost bulk food and feeding these individuals and making money from it. I network for value creation.
“As a youth, if the system does not develop you, you should make it a priority to develop yourself and defy the odds. There are many programs free online run by Harvard Business School and IMT. You can use the social media to tap into the opportunities anywhere in the world. I have many e-mentors that I never met in my life. If you buy some original books, the authors put their email addresses or a platform you can communicate with them.
After reading the book, I send my comments when I agree and disagree and conversation starts from there. There are many experts in the world and whenever I have an issue I will just send them e-mail, and they will respond with required information I need to develop my brand and to position me as the best person on my job.
Fara is an Economics graduate from Covenant University, Ogun State, and holds two master’s degrees with merit at International Business and Corporate Governance from the University of Dundee and the University of Bradford, School of Management amongst other qualifications.
She is an experienced Management Consultant and a start-up service professional with a track record in organisation transformation, business process solutions, and change management. As the head of School of Enterprise, she brings to bear years of cognate experience spanning the banking, non-profit and consulting industry.
She has facilitated several workshops ranging from Performance Management to Personal Branding. She is passionate about helping organisations and start-ups turn around and/or optimise their internal operations, implementing action plans that ensure that the company has the right people, processes and systems to achieve, and exceed expected bottom-line results.
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