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SS-ICT4D Week 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018

Berth of Ausso Leadership Academy: A welcome path

At the beginning of this year, one thing that took industry watchers by storm was the berthing of the Ausso Leadership Academy (ALA) with a promise from the entrepreneurial elite of Nigeria to harness their experiences under this umbrella in support of the entrepreneurial ecosystem with personalized mentorship to maximize jobs created by entrepreneurs by ensuring shared prosperity; inspired by the unprecedented success in entrepreneurship at Silicon Valley, which underpins a strong mentorship culture.

ITRealms sees this as a commendable initiative by the founder, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), Mr. Austin Okere who is the brain behind this academy, even as ALA aims at impacting at least 200 Entrepreneurs each year in cohorts of 40 per Masterclass, with the first Masterclass coming on stream as early as April and for which registration has commenced. Expectation is that the entrepreneurs will achieve double-digit growth in their revenue a year after impact and would have imbibed a code of governance and a culture of succession and legacy, anchored with the partnership of duo of Messrs Mario Marconi and Martin Emordi of the African Wealth Partners.

Accordingly, ALA’s vision as gathered by ITRealms transcends innovative mindset, experiential learning, institutionalization and scaling, co-inspiring networking, instilling ethical conduct, exposure to capital opportunities and personalized mentoring, rounded up with the purpose of mentoring entrepreneurs to institutionalize and scale their businesses geometrically.

As noted by Okere, Nigeria is at a point when the ecosystem is visibly maturing and entrepreneurial opportunities are vastly increasing, hence, ALA’s goal is to drive economic development through high-impact entrepreneurs, who will become a strong economic force that can take advantage of the opportunities to transform the country; “One of the cardinal principles of the Ausso Leadership Academy is to instill the mentality of building a solid structure for the business with more emphasis on Institutionalization than the concept of an All-Knowing Strongman; an erroneous concept which has led to the demise of many enterprises after the departure of the founder.”

For the records, Austin Okere was also the founder of CWG Plc, the acclaimed largest security in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Okere had subsequently honed his craft in Entrepreneurial Executive Education, becoming an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Columbia Business School, New York and being appointed into the Advisory Board of the Global Business School Network (GBSN) in Washington DC.

On the inspiration for the setting up the academy, Okere explained that being a serial entrepreneur, it was intuitive for him to conceive the idea of the Ausso Leadership Academy and the unique differentiation it offers. Asserting that “the first inspiration was what I would have advised my younger self and the second inspiration was to be the Mentor I wish I had.”
In addition, Okere noted that the huge gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem is due to the lack of a personalized mentorship programme to complement what professors teach entrepreneurs at business schools. 

Entrepreneurs are best mentored by other entrepreneurs who understand the trailblazing journey and how to spot opportunities from challenges and create new businesses for themselves and others. Therefore, the need for resourcefulness and an innovative mindset to reinvent oneself when disruption knocks on the door is a key skill which entrepreneurs need to imbibe. ALA, thus, tends to provide the medium for veteran entrepreneurs to pass on this experiential skill, emphasizing what has worked in their own journeys, and the pitfalls to avoid.

The Champions of Entrepreneurship are role models who reinvest their knowledge, credibility and time in the next generation of entrepreneurs, thus multiplying their network and influence. Among the Champions who will be sharing their experiences are Ibukun Awosika, Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede, Tony Elumelu, John Momoh, Frank Aigbogun, Austin Avuru, Dotun Suleiman, Ndidi Nwuneli, Ernest Ndukwe, Mitchel Elegbe, Charles Anudu, Seyi Bickerseth and Deji Alli to mention a few.

The faculty on the other hand, is made up of seasoned practitioners who have also honed their skills working with entrepreneurs in various capacities, including Austin Okere, Chris Stephenson, Opeyemi Agbaje and Rasheed Olaoluwa. On why he accepted, for instance, to be a faculty at ALA, Chris said “Austin is one of Africa’s leading Tech Entrepreneurs, and I’ve been working with him since 2010. I want to get behind his exciting new venture and continue our partnership.” 

And recommended the academy to prospective participants because entrepreneurs need a clear vision and operational plan with which to inspire colleagues, investors and other stakeholders; believing the academy will bring participants up to wear their thinking caps, approaches, tips and tricks that the faculty themselves all learnt the hard way. More importantly, he said, it will provide them with the framework, network and above all confidence for success, whatever their venture.

In his response, Opeyemi Agbaje, promises to bring into the programme efforts at tackling corruption which must be recognized with its socio-economic linkages, especially poverty and unemployment, thereby, throwing up an effective and sustainable anti-corruption strategy to be anchored in the context of an ambitious economic reform programme that creates employment in large numbers to foster inclusive economic growth. This is what I believe the Ausso Leadership Academy brings to the table and why I want to contribute my quota.”

Rasheed Olawoluwa, on the other hand, says “Entrepreneurial Leadership is incomplete without a Vision and a strong ability to Influence People to get Results. This is what we aim to impart at the Ausso Leadership Academy,” based on the fact that Ausso Leadership Academy recognizes that capital is essential to scaling small businesses entered into partnerships with investors including the African Wealth Partners AG of Switzerland to offer opportunities for capital to entrepreneurs who successfully articulate their growth plans.

It is clear that Ausso Leadership Academy as conceptualized with partnership of the African Wealth Partners; has come to stay, especially at this time of rise in unemployment to cushion some effects at this recession period, despite claims that Nigeria has exited; thus it deserves every support to make this dream a success, thereby reducing the challenges even those who may have been affected with the recession and wish to delve into entrepreneurship may face, thereby a great boost to economic emancipation of the people of Nigeria., more so for 21st century competitiveness.

Like Martin Emodi, the founding partner of the Africa Wealth Partners, succinctly said, “We were seriously impressed by the practical leadership development programme Mr. Okere is putting together for Nigerian entrepreneurs. It is so important to give the entrepreneurs the tools and support to take their businesses to the next level. This will be good business for all involved but most importantly for the country and its development.”


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