Martwayne | Power Through Fashion: What Happened @ Yaba College of Technology...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What Happened @ Yaba College of Technology...

Right!  So I was @ Yaba Tech yesterday talking to students about what I know how to do best... Entrepreneurship. :-D  Well Fashion Entrepreneurship actually... but seeing I was talking to the Engineering students, I needed to go beyond just fashion and shared my experiences with them.  It was all part of the Entrepreneurship Week organized by the Center for Entrepreneurship Development of the Yaba College of Technology.

How did I become a mentor?!  Very strange story!

SO I was going through group discussions on Linked In last year when I saw a request from one of the members requesting for any entrepreneur who was interested in sparing an hour of their time to talk to students on Entrepreneurship.  Of course I responded and got a mail a few weeks later inviting me to confirm my attendance at the event.  Which I did...

So lo and behold I arrive at the venue, Unilag, thinking I'm speaking to young students and voila I walk into a room filled with older people, lecturers and the likes.  Initially I was confused and thought ok, perhaps I'm too early but it turned out that the "students" Lionel was referring to were the Heads and Lecturers of the Entrepreneurship Schools of the University of Lagos and Yaba College of Technology!  I was completely stunned.  

It was an initiative of the Entrepreneurship Schools of both Universities and the University of Central Lancaster, UK.  The concept was pretty much to develop the Entrepreneurship Schools and try to change the mindsets of students and steer them away from focusing on getting white-collar jobs and focusing on entrepreneurship seeing there were pretty much no jobs out there.  I met the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Unilag (don't think I ever met the VC of Ife throughout my stay in that school), met the Heads of both Schools and the various lecturers and spoke to them about my experiences, my plans, the mistakes I made... I think I pretty much dazzled them because since then, I have spoken to students in both Universities.  And anytime I do, I am thankful.

Anywayz!  Back to today!  So I spoke to students about my my journey as and entrepreneur, the challenges I faced, advised them on what worked for me, what didn't, the need to invest in themselves and more importantly, not to focus on the money.  A student challenged me on that point, saying the essence of being an entrepreneur was to make money.  Very smart point... but I begged to differ.  In my opinion, the point behind being an entrepreneur is to "see a need and fill a need", solve problems and add value to  people.  Don't get me wrong, of course, money should also motivate you... after all, as my friend Taiwo would say... "unless the outcome is income...." to me passion is useless!  However, money should never be the sole driver of any business.  If it is, then when the hard times hit, you will get discouraged and fizzle out.  The money will come eventually after all your hard work pays off.

I had a few interesting questions thrown at me which I answered to the best of my ability... and I must say, each person was satisfied with my answer.  Many were written down and I will post them now.  Who knows?!  Perhaps while trying to answer these questions yourself, you would be able to address some of the issues you're also facing in your business.  Answering other people's questions forces you to think critically, especially when they are looking to you for guidance.

Here they are...

- "I would like to start business in school but my work schedule is tight.  How can balance your school work with business on the side?"

- "How can I overcome laziness in fashion?  Having work to do and not doing it?  Also the issue of a ship or a big place to hang your work?  How can I sell clothes and sell it with or without knowing the buyer?"

- "What if my interest is not about fashion but all about music?  How can I go about it?"

- "What advice can you give to someone that has learnt fashion to someone that has learnt fashion design on the side on how to move on and be successful with it?"

- "Sorry, is N15,000 the last value for the seminar (as a student)?  Any benefit?" (Lol!)

- "As an entrepreneur in an environment where your ideas don't matter, what are the challenges you are likely to face?"

- "You said one can rob Peter to pay Paul without spending a kobo on the business." - Errr.... no that was SO NOT what I said.  Then he continues... "Please put more light on that because I have some people in my class that do so but eventually get themselves in trouble.  By increasing the value for lecturers' textbooks"  

Lol!  And shed more light I did!  Which brings me to another point!  One needs to be careful how you use expressions lest your words be misconstrued.  I'm glad he asked though, that way I was able to explain exactly what I meant.  Clearly my words were taken literally and not as an expression.  

- "As a business person, if you have customers in the same environment you supply goods to and suddenly one of them gets another supplier and buys at a lower price than the amount you supply for, would you still sell the goods at the normal price or would you supply that one person at a lower price and supply others at the same normal price?  OR would you make the price the same so others would not have a problem with you?" - Excellent question!

- "I am a fashion designer but these days I am not doing well all because I was told I could travel abroad but not with fashion or tailoring ideas.  So advise me on what to do..."  Hmmmnnnn.......

And of course my

- "How do you combine your beauty, looks, fashion and relationship?!"  I just burst out laughing when I read this.  I thought it was so funny.  And you know what I said?!  It is GOD!  Not me or because I know a lot, it is just by God's grace!

Actually you know what?!  Maybe I will discuss the answers I gave them in another post.  And if anyone has answers to some of these questions, please feel free to share.

And before I sign out, you know what I like to do best!  Share pictures!!! :-D  Here they are!  Enjoy...

A nice flower vase made of beads created by a student which sits proudly on the Director's desk

So yes I definitely had a good day!  This, to me, is one of the perks of my job!  I always leave feeling fulfilled!  AND I secured a guest facilitator for FEC 3, of course, barring any unforeseen circumstances, a guru in textiles.  :-D

Of course you know me and my vote of thanks, first to God!  Then to Lionel Bunting of Atelier 82.  I know many of us expressed our interest but believe I was one of the chosen few.... and I am thankful.  An hour of my time turned into an excellent opportunity for me.  Many thanks to the Director of the CED, the many lecturers that made me feel like a star and the students for being so attentive and engaging!  :-D  And yes, thank you for the gifts.  It is much much MUCH appreciated!  I will see you again next week by God's grace. Thank you for the invitation. :-)

Okies then!  Please tell me you have registered for FEC 3.  Today is the last day to get your early bird discounts.  Register early so I can PLEASE start sorting out your training materials and ordering your light refreshments.

Thanking you so much in advance.  Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday!

Have a fab day people!


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