Achieving Your Goals Against All Odds: An Entrepreneurial Journey

Funmilola Awosanya has over five years of experience as an insurance broker, advocate for women development, and business development in the nonprofit sector. She earned a Higher National Diploma in Insurance from Lagos State Polytechnic in Nigeria. Being the founder of an online one stop forum, she trained youths on vocational skills, entrepreneurial skills and business development, and also advocated for quality education. As the Founder of oppourtunities.com, she led entrepreneurship programs that equip young women and men on hand skills and empowered them through entrepreneurship, business, career, leadership and advocacy. Funmilola has volunteered as a lecturing and overseeing committee, youth advocate, and agent of change, for diverse organizations including Young African Leadership Initiative West Africa Region, Makoko Dream Project and Young Transformation Initiative.

Funmilola’s social enterprise is an online platform that bridges the gap between opportunity providers and seekers, thereby enabling youths from different part of the world have access to timely and life-changing opportunities. The enterprise also advocates for quality education and ensures that youths are adequately empowered to become innovative entrepreneurs paving the way towards a sustainable future. The social enterprise ensures that youths have access to different local and international opportunities which in turn create more avenue for people to access quality education.

The social enterprise was created in 2016 prior to Funmilola’s completion of Higher National Diploma from Lagos State Polytechnic. After thoroughly thinking, Funmilola realized that most youths are always idle and unemployed on completion of their undergraduate and high school education. What better way to make a difference and help add value to their lives than creating an online social enterprise that brings opportunities their way. Opportunities that will equip them for a better future. The enterprise advocates for the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs 4 and 8.

In relation to the Sustainable Development Goal number 8, the enterprise organizes various empowerment programs so to equip young men and women on marketable skills so as to increase the number of innovative entrepreneurs in Nigeria, which will in turn create safe space for a prosperous Nigeria and Africa. Till date we have been able to empower over 80 young Nigerians in various vocational skills like Tye and Dye, Ankara accessories making, Game programming and others which has increase the number of vibrant SME s in my community. These empowerment programs were carried out to help create more jobs and reduce youth idleness.

In relation to the Sustainable Development Goal number 8, the forum has been able to engage over 6,000 youths from different parts of the world, have been able to access quality and timely information of opportunities which has in turn made them change-makers in their respective countries. Over 15 young Nigerian youths have benefited from our forum through the various opportunities posted on our forum like Mandela Washington Fellowship, Obama Foundation Fellowship, Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, Young African Leadership Initiative, African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative Program, African ChangeMakers Fellowship and host of others. The forum has created an avenue for people of all races to access opportunities which has paved way for quality education, networking, collaboration and partnership for a prosperous world.

CHALLENGE/REWARD/ACHIEVEMENT

The entrepreneurial journey has not been an easy one due to the various challenges faced.

Being in a competitive world, we are faced with many challenges ranging from finance, partnership and funding. It’s easier for the male counterpart to have access to fund but thank God for the actions taken up by different organizations like the United Nations, United Nation Women, SheLeadsAfrica, SparkNg by Guardian Newspaper and UK government to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment in relation to SDGS Goal 5, the female counterparts are now getting full attention they deserve and it has been easier for them to access the necessary tools and grants needed for them to scale up their business.

“My greatest reward is the smile and happiness I saw on peoples face when they are selected for one or two programs. I get messages almost every day from people appreciating my work and the impact the forum is making”, said Funmilola.

FUTURE GOAL

Funmilola reflects, “Years from now, I hope to have created my entrepreneurship hub in Lagos State where I will be able to train, mentor and create safe spaces for local start-ups and entrepreneurs both within and outside Nigeria. The hub will also serve as a platform where youths can find their bearing, trained and empowered to build their skills and grow their business. By then, I hope that I have empowered more local start-ups through collaborating and partnering with entrepreneurial organizations like Tony Elumelu Foundation, Spark by Business Day, Leap Africa, StyleMark Enterprise and other entrepreneurial organizations.”

To all aspiring entrepreneurs and startups, never give up, the entrepreneurial journey is not an easy one but with time, persistence, zeal, passion and courage, we can make it and move from here to there. Walt Disney said, ‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.’ Never give up on your dreams even when the future is uncertain. In your entrepreneurial journey, be consistent, take more entrepreneurial online and onsite courses and be the change your society needs” sums Funmilola.

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