In marking the International Women's Day (IWD), we’ve been talking about gender equality, giving women same opportunity etc. It doesn’t mean women are contesting equality with men. Rather same opportunity given to men should be given to women.

Kike and Bayo are age mates, went to the same school, studied same course, graduated with same degree, got into the same job position in the same firm, do same work but because Kike is a female, her salary is lesser than that of Bayo. He is given an official car, and she is left to find her means of transportation. Is it fair?

Emeka is a multibillionaire with two kids, a male and female. He sent his son to an expensive private university. When I asked about the daughter, he said that no federal university has offered her admission after two years but one private university did, however she won’t be schooling there. I asked why. Said, he can’t pay such an amount of school fees for a woman that he will sell out, that he pays such for his son, because he remains his heir. Just imagine!

Away from the IWD celebrations, let’s look at #PassionEqualsSuccess. I heard the book, “Do What You Love, Money Will Follow”, liberated many unhappy workers in the US. When one goes into any work just for job security, the enthusiasm is not tapped. I see that mostly in civil service. Some of them work to ‘eat’ the government money and not that they are really passionate to bring growth and development to their work. “I work for passion, not for money” has been my motto. And through my passion, the money comes.

The most successful entrepreneurs are successful because they integrate they passion into their career or business. They center themselves in the required tasks, exhibiting great force and vitality. They give all they have to the business because that’s what move them and give them joy.

As an entrepreneur, your genuine passion for your business should propel you to success.

What opportunity are you working on? Any challenge with it? Talk to Ada Africa. Would be available to answer your questions and walk you through. #IWD2021

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Let's me throw a personal story first. In 2013, I had a business idea; I put it down on paper and developed it with a 3-year financial plan and growth projection. I had no dime to startup the company, however, I submitted the business plan to funding agencies in Nigeria.

Rather than the N7.2million shown from my budget, I was given N10million grant to kick start the business. That was how I became an accidental entrepreneur because before then, I’ve never done any sort of business in my life.

I sought for business mentors and consulted experts in the implementation of the grant into the business. More so, I sought and attended entrepreneurship programs including the Lagos Business School to enable me manage and run the business. Within two years, we made a significant growth in the company.

Following my above experience, there are other ways to start or grow a business without having much capital. Some of my mentees have successfully benefitted too:

1. Actionable ideas rule the world - This is the first thing that will bring you into business. Develop that your idea into a well written business plan. Talk to experts, consult if possible, conduct more studies/researches and document everything.

2. Seek for opportunities that are in the sector of your business e.g. Tony Elumelu grant (there are several of them I can't start listing here). There are various opportunities and some WHAIafrica publishes. Go through them and see which one your business is eligible for. It mustn't be a grant or loan; it could be a training or other forms of capacity building.

In 2019, I applied, got shortlisted and participated in the British Council Creative Enterprise for those in the creative industry. No money was given but it strengthened our business idea and gave us a better vision of how to build our social enterprise.

When I got the N10million, I also applied and became a World Bank Women Scholar where I got the necessary training required to grow the Company. So don’t just focus on the money. The skills and capacity you have can also attract the money to you.

Recently, we mentored Agropreneurs to apply for an opportunity and 44 of them just got shortlisted. They will undergo training, after which some of them get a grant of not more than N3.5million to grow their business.

3. Don’t go begging verbally for financial assistance. Package everything into a document; the business plan, the budget, financial plan including how you will pay back. That is only when people will take you serious. Start with your inner circle, your close friends, family and persons that believe in you and your idea because they really want you progress in life.

4. CBN Intervention Fund and Other Government Support Funds – How many have accessed this billion naira fund available? Few entrepreneurs ran to me few weeks ago to access the Survival Funds only to discover that their business of over 5 years is not registered with CAC, hence they can't access the funds. You can explore government funding opportunities and also through your bank rather than asking for capital from wealthy individuals to put in your business. The truth is that most of the wealthy people are in need of money too.

5. Be honest, sincere, transparent and open – Don’t try to hide relevant info or play smart on your dealings with business partners, investors, bank etc.

Opportunities for the Week: Really can’t list all here. There are bounty opportunities out there. Be it scholarships, exchange programs, grants, fellowship programs, professional training etc. Kindly hit the like button and follow Ada Africa at for more opportunities. Would be available to answer your questions and walk you through.

Trust me, you will go places. Recognize what God has called you to be, accept the gifts He has given you and start building on them!

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Continued from the last episode

I attended few Trade Fairs and Shows in 2019. In each of the Fairs, I met 3 same startup entrepreneurs (exhibitors) who travelled from North to the East; and West to the North to showcase their goods. I was impressed with their distribution/marketing strategy using the Trade Fairs. I picked particular interest in one of them, Azurfa from Kano State.

Azurfa is into organic food processing. Being an Africanista, naturalista and lover of organic foods, I bought, used and fell in love with Azurfa’s processed organic food spices. Though the packaging was poor, I took time to discuss with her about her business model and operations to see how I can help her improve it. We exchanged contacts and I promised connect her to opportunities.

I got two opportunities that fit in with her agro-based products, where she would be opportuned to pitch her business idea to world class investors and get funding to repackage and expand. But checking well through the eligibility discovered the business must have a website and have something written about the management team. I put a call across to Azurfa to enquire about her management team, website availability, CAC registration status etc. Her business doesn’t have a website, so I suggested she takes professional photos of her products and a write up about her business and email me, so I use that set up a website but she has to pay 20k for the hosting fee and domain name. She lamented she doesn’t have that kind of money, told her no problem, send the photos and the write up, let’s see what can be done.

One month after, no call or email from her. I called again few days to the application deadline, she said it is not a website she needs now rather I should help her market her products in my state. Hmmm! I felt bad as if I was the one losing the opportunity.

It is one thing to work hard and another to work smart. If you don’t stay sharp and up-to-date, you will be left behind. The opportunities will go to others who are working smart and you or your business may be qualified to exist only in your locality.

Before you apply for that opportunity, crosscheck when the timeline to submit is. When we don’t have our priorities right, we waste time. Prioritizing requires discipline to do what needs to be done. If the deadline for submission is next week and from your schedules, you won’t meet up; please don’t bother to start. Someone sent me a long application to review today and informed me to review it fast that the submission deadline was 8pm same day. I never bothered to review it because I already have other work schedules for the day.

When you rush to write anyhow just to submit before the application closes, it may end up in the trash. And if you take time to work on each question in the application and end up not submitting before it closes, it will be a painful effort.

Two years ago, I sent out Yale Young African Scholars program to an educationist who runs a school for her students to partake and apply. I also volunteered to guide them through the application process. The four students sent to me, discovered that none of them was qualified. If I hadn’t volunteered to help, they would have applied and expecting they would be selected to travel to the US.

Do your homework well, save your energy and use it on something that works than working on something that you are not eligible for. Stop trying to apply for every opportunity that comes your way or because someone you know applied and got selected or got the funding; rather discover what you do or want to do and apply for those opportunities that align with that, minding other requirements demanded.

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