What is the idea behind the Business Roundtable and why now?
I decided to create a social intervention program named The Business Roundtable (BRT) to assist the Oyo State Government with the unemployment issues the youth currently face within the state. The Business Roundtable is a Social Development and Youth Empowerment Advocacy non-profit Organization aimed at promoting Entrepreneurship, Employment Opportunities, Innovation, access to market, and skill acquisition for all residents of Oyo State. BRT will also develop programmes designed to train and place unemployed Oyo residents in Jobs while also focusing on programmes designed to drive innovation within the Oyo ecosystem.
The major aim is to reduce the high unemployment rate in Oyo State through increase in private sector involvement, employability trainings, skills acquisition programs and aiding business growth with the overall objective of creating jobs.
You are hosting a Youth Entrepreneurship Summit in Oyo on June 25th, what’s behind the idea?
Yes, BRT would be having its maiden edition of its Entrepreneurship Summit, an event being organized to engage the youth, giving them a chance to discuss issues they face and for their voices to be heard. The event would host some young successful business owners operating in Ibadan and within Nigeria to mentor, teach, and discuss how they built their businesses and share their success stories.
During the event, BRT with our partners would also be providing Business Grants and Job Opportunities to some participants based on their pitch. The summit which is aimed at creating jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities in Oyo State would be driven with three (3) strategic pillars namely; Supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Giving people skills they can use to work and Support Technology, Innovation, the ecosystem, so that people can do things in a new way, scale them through tech and create jobs in the whole process.
And at the same time, we would support that whole ecosystem by helping people solve problems they have with Government, MDA’s, Agencies, etc., so that they can be no barriers in doing business in Oyo State. Other areas BRT would focus on would be; Capacity development and business advisory and support, Promotions, march to market, creation of linkages and support people to get skills that they can use to work. The summit will hold at the UI Hotel, International Conference Centre, the University of Ibadan Hotel from 11 am.
Who are the Panelists and what informed your choice of speakers?
Since the summit is about youth inclusion, we have taken time to select the best speakers and some successful young entrepreneurs and talent in Nigeria who are able to teach, mentor and also provide opportunities to the youths in Oyo State. So a representative from the Oyo State Government would be the Guest Speaker, Chief Bisi Ilaka who is the Chief of Staff to the Executive Governor of Oyo State. We expect to hear from him on the actions being taken by the Government on youth inclusion, job creation, capacity building, and more interestingly; Agric Business which has recorded a huge success in Oyo State already.
The Keynote Speaker would be Mr Akin Oyebode who is the current Commissioner for Finance in Ekiti State and the Pioneer/Former Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund. Another Speaker would be Rev Idowu Ogedengbe who is the Executive Assistant to the Executive Governor of Oyo State and who is the State Focal person on Human Capital Development.
We would also have young entrepreneurs in Oyo State and beyond like; Etop Ikpe who is the Co-founder and CEO of Cars 45 and Autochek Ltd, Tayo Bamiduro, the co-founder and CEO of Max.ng and Max Okada, Temitope Ogunsemo, who is a Nigerian technology entrepreneur and is the founder and CEO of Krystal Digital, an information technology company providing information management system to government-owned secondary schools in Nigeria and is worth over $5m as valued by forbes.
Other Speakers and Panelist include but are not limited to; JJ Omojuwa, Aare Gbenga Eyiolawi (CEO Titan Farms), Habeeb Okunola (CEO, TILT Group), Shola Ladoja (CEO, Simply Green) and a host of others.
What should participants expect from the Panel and how do you plan to sustain this initiative?
We expect the panelist to teach, mentor and share their success stories with participants at the event. I’m hopeful that participants would acquire the desired skills in a short time during and immediately after the summit. We would also have participants partake in the breakout sessions at the summit where panelist and participants would discuss the topics selected.
We would be allocating participants to some selected Panelist for mentorship sessions after the event and we also hope to engage the government more on job creation, youth inclusion, and capacity development. On sustaining the objective, we hope to attract more stakeholders to join us and we intend to engage the Government more on our objectives and more importantly; ensure the employment trust fund bill is passed and implemented.
What are the opportunities you see around the young people do not see?
The opportunities around the youth are endless. We have started occupying political positions, holding sensitive positions in private sector firms and creating tech and fintech companies. We see young Nigerians eager and ready to work but there are limited jobs or no skills to perform the required jobs.
Where there are shortages of skills in the state, employers have gone to neighbouring states to get skills in construction, health care, drilling and so on. Hence, we hope to partner with a couple of stakeholders to bring international standards to certification to artisanal skills and we will do this in different skills.
We would skill them up and place them in sustainable jobs. We would also be looking for companies that are looking for people to work and use a supply and demand method, where we then know what the demand is and supply the skills needed. We would do this in construction, health, entertainment, hospitality, and of course the creative sector in general.
BRT would partner with the private sector to set up the Oyo State Innovation Hub and collaborate with various private companies, like SLOT Academy, IFES Foundation, Levant Soap Factory, OxFam, GeniusHub & SabiHub amongst others, to have a large number of interested individuals, aspiring/existing entrepreneurs to get properly trained on any of the technical & business skills available.