#StartSmartSeminars #ThisSaturday #TopTenQualities #Employment #Entrepreneurship




Hello friends,  please share this opportunity with your young folks in Lagos, Nigeria.

We’ll be sharing #TopTenQualities employers are on the lookout for before Hiring, Promoting or Firing a potential employer.

Date: Saturday, Nov.  11, 2017.

Venue : Epic Place,  Beside Domino’s Pizza,  off Thomas estate,  Ajah,  Lagos.

Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm.


The funny thing about the recruiting process is that if you read job ads, you’d think that employers are strictly looking for people with very specific types of experience. That’s all you can see in a job ad — long lists of bullet points with essential requirements like years of experience with certain tools, and obscure industry certifications but once you get to a job interview, though, the whole picture changes.
Employers are looking for certain qualities in their new hires that are never listed in the job ad.



Many organizations, either formally or informally, compile a list of people they believe will have high potential for promotion. These high potential individuals, (HIPOs), often receive extra developmental opportunities beyond what’s available to the rest of their peers. From an individual’s point of view, being selected to be on the high potential list has enormous benefits. It becomes a boost to careers and a high acknowledgement.



Reasons to fire an employee include disciplinary and performance issues that you cannot solve – no matter how hard you try. But, additional reasons exist to fire an employee that are not resolvable.



Maria Ebenezer. CEO: Emerald Green Ushering Services.


Emerald Green Ushering Services  @EMushers is a Nigerian-based event hostess agency, providing professional staff for international corporate and luxury social events. Founder, Maria Ebenezer’s entrepreneurial drive was birthed from modelling and her experience in ushering, which gave her the basic knowledge to kick-start Emerald Green Ushering Services.

Though Emerald Green Ushering Services’ clients include multinational and indigenous firms, catering for weddings, birthdays and annual general meetings are also par for the course for the firm.

Why was it important for you to hire only female ushers as opposed to a mixed staff?

Ushering is a profession I have always considered to be best suited to women considering the glamour and hospitality skills that are often required.

I believe women should enjoy exclusivity in this particular profession. More so, I have found that it is easier working with female staff as they maintain a better professional conduct.

Quality customer service is quite difficult to come by in Nigeria. How does Emerald Green Ushering Services avoid this pitfall?

We pride ourselves in excellent service delivery. One of our basic requirements for recruitment is work experience; afterwards hostesses undergo basic training. We are constantly researching innovative ideas to ensure our services are on a par with global professional standards.

Feedback forms are given to my clients at the end of each event to evaluate the quality of our service for improvement purposes. So far, feedback has been great.

How do you handle difficult clients?

Initially, I accommodated excessive, unreasonable demands because we needed to build a portfolio. But now, I decline clients unwilling to comply with our professional standards.

What’s the biggest challenge facing Emerald Green Ushering Services, and how has it been able to overcome or mitigate it?

In our first year, we were enlisted by an indigenous multinational company to bid for their annual conference. Their vendor’s form stated ushering companies were required to have 5 years of experience with renowned firms. Clearly, we didn’t have that and though we lost the bid, I was grateful for the experience because it gave me a clearer picture of what was required to win my dream clientèle. It made me re-strategise.

I put in a lot of work to improve staffing and our brand, and in a couple of months, I landed my first international client and then another.

But like every other service provider, our biggest challenge has been acquiring new clients. Plus, my core focus is on attracting multinational corporate organisations, which require more work as they are highly competitive and often require rigorous processes.

What does the future hold for Emerald Green Ushering Services?

Currently, every business move we make is geared towards our 5-year goal of establishing Emerald Green Ushering Services as a model framework for event collaboration and partnership between West Africa and multinational companies globally.

We aim to be the first firm companies looking for ushers will call upon for their corporate events in Nigeria.


My Journey Into Social Entrepreneurship


Hello, my name is Emmanuel Odufejo , I am 35 year old, proudly Nigerian and fully Lagosian (my paternal grandfather and grandmother are from Epe and Lagos Island respectively). I have a BSc.Ed. in Biology from The Lagos State University and an M.Ed. in Administration & Planning from The University of Lagos.

I am a passionate advocate for self-development and entrepreneurship among young people. I believe that our national survival and global relevance as a continent depends solely on the efficiency of our strategic youth empowerment initiatives and continuous growth and encouragement of small and medium scale enterprises. I have spent the last six years teaching young Nigerians on how to start, sustain and succeed with small scale businesses.

I’ve always wondered how parents complain about their kids “playing too much” and getting distracted from their academics. Growing up, I was a “Jack of two trades & master of both” – playing & reading. I could spend five hours playing football and the next ten hours reading “Famous Five” by Enid Blyton. As I grew older, I discovered “biographies”, those books opened a new world to me, I never knew existed. Somehow, I had a natural tendency to reading biographies of very popular and successful entrepreneurs.

I started my first business in my first year at the university, and of course the only thing I could sell were – wait for it – “books”. I had to stop borrowing books from the library and actually started buying and selling books to my friends. I called it a “mobile library” where you could meet me anywhere and either borrow a book for three days or buy it at once.

After that exciting experience, there was no going back. By my third year at the university, I had teamed up with a friend who was studying Fisheries. He had all the “technical knowledge” while I brought in the business enthusiasm (there really wasn’t anything close to business experience or expertise then and quite frankly, we didn’t care) and we started rearing & selling catfish. We later delved into selling chickens and puppies. We were student entrepreneurs; at that point, we weren’t really concerned about making profits. We just loved selling and making money.

While in school, I also discovered my public speaking abilities and trust me I wasted no time in offering my services to family and friends as a “master compere” or mc at their various functions at first for free but I later started earning some money doing that. After I graduated from the university, I began getting offers to do mc at wedding receptions and corporate events plus a host of other youth seminars.

In 2012, I met two young teenage orphan boys who were referred to me by a local tailor to help clean my new apartment for a small fee. Junior & Tunde had lost both parents to a boat accident few years back. Consequently, they have been forced to drop out of school & left to roam the streets exposed to a world of crime & juvenile delinquency. Fortunately, they chose to abstain from crimes & instead began to do menial jobs for small fees within their community.

I thought deeply within myself, “How do you help an uneducated, unskilled, & unemployed youth”? How do we deal with the continuous rise of this dangerous army of unemployed, uneducated & unskilled youth In Nigeria?

This gave birth to both my first book titled “Dare To Stand Out – for Young Entrepreneurs” & also the creation of Master Mindz Afrika, a youth-led NGO platform that provides entrepreneurship & vocational skills training programs for uneducated & unskilled youth.

The long term vision is to build an army of youth with valuable skills set with which they can either find stable employment opportunities or venture out into sustainable small scale businesses.

My vision for Master Mindz Afrika, going forward, is to be the foremost youth-led impact investing institution that trains, funds & celebrates young men and women who will become catalysts for social change, sustainable growth and rapid development in Africa.

LEAP Africa Graduates 20 Social Entrepreneurs, Inducts 20 More Into The SIPA In Abuja


LEAP Africa

The stage was set as visitors walked in anticipating an exceptional event! and indeed it was. From the minute the MC picked up the mic to begin the programme till the programme rounded off with a vote of thanks by Mrs, Iyadunni Olubode, LEAP’s Executive Director, the agenda for the day was billed to deliver a memorable experience.

LEAP Africa with support from Union Bank Nigeria, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, and International Youth Foundation (IYF) on November 12 2015, held its annual Social Innovators Awards in Abuja, Nigeria capital city to celebrates 20 social entrepreneurs.

Anchored by Ofi Ejembi, On Air Personality at Nigerian Info Abuja the event kicked off at 10:30 am. Dr. Nadu Denloye LEAP’s Board Chair opened the event with a warm speech which captured the essence of the Awards while our speakers – Mr. Bosun Tijani, CEO & Co-founder Cchub; Maria Eitel Chairman…

View original post 193 more words

Why Skills Before Entrepreneurship? – Naomi Lucas



Naomi Lucas’ passion for empowering youths in search of job opportunities is epic. In a continent where the youth population is growing and job placements are a big issue, she is spearheading Africa’s biggest book project which could possibly help change the status quo. Solomon Elusoji writes

From 2009 to 2011, Naomi Lucas visited 32 states across Nigeria looking for young people to work with. At first, she was expectant, optimistic about the wide pool of talent she would have at her disposal. But that optimistic expectation was soon replaced with a shocking discovery.

“I needed between 80 and a 100 people for the project I was working on,” she told me. “So, essentially I had jobs. I sent an advance team to go to the different places and shortlist, so I could come and select the people that I want.”

The problem was, virtually all those shortlisted didn’t even have the rudimentary skills she was looking for. “Going to those different cities, spending time that I didn’t have, talking to all of these young people, I realised that I would speak to 40 people and still can’t find one person that I could work with it. It was unbelievable. I kept asking myself, is this for real? Are these the people that are looking for jobs? They are never going to find work.”

She became very concerned at the pathetic situation, but due to the pressures of work and resources, she didn’t get to do anything about it, until 2012 when she set up Graduate Pro, a company designed to bridge the gap between graduates and today’s workplace, using the power of audio-visuals, young people’s attraction to the creative industries and the current pervasiveness of internet and mobile technology.

“I felt that I needed money to do what I wanted to do, but I found out I could start from where I was,” she said. “So I set up a blog where I started talking about the things that I felt young people should know to help them excel in the job market. There was also an email where I encouraged young people to send in their concerns and all that. That email address became like a hub. Looking at all of the issues that young people were dealing with, I realised this was a full time job. That was when I began to think that there has to be a way to just get to this people fast without having to wait for when I have money.”

That thinking led to Naomi launching an audacious audio-book project titled, ‘I’m A Graduate, Now  What?’. The book, specifically aimed at addressing unemployment among Africa’s youth population, will feature exemplary Nigerians selected from a wide range of industries across Nigeria. These Nigerians will each narrate a chapter of the book, under the supervision of a Voice Coach and a Creative Director.

Confirmed narrators for the project include Chocolate City’s Audu Maikori, popular actors, OC Ukeje, Chinedu Ikedizie, comedian, Ayo Makun, and motivational coach, Lanre Olusola.

Others include: Segun lawal, Yemi Amusan, Dare Art Alade, Chioma Omeruah, Jane Maduegbuna, Michelle Aisha Bello, Kola Oyeneyin, Nimi Akinkugbe, Japheth Omojuwa, Andre Blaze Hensaw, Moses Siasia, Lydia Idakula Sobogun, Ojoma Ochai, Femi Longe, Dike Chukwumerije, Misan Rewane, Aisha Augie-Kuta, Jimi Tewe, Nuhu Kwajafa, Femi Obong Daniels, Sage Hasson, Jodie Odiete, Amanda Kirby Okoye, Dayo Israel, Alkasim Abdulkadir, and Wana Udobang.

“We didn’t start out for it to be Africa’s biggest book project; it was something that we stumbled upon,” Naomi told me in-between one of the audio-book’s recording sessions. We were outside the studio, on a gravelled driveway, the sun shimmering above.

“Essentially, when I finished the book, I was looking at publishing it traditionally,” she said, “but I was a bit concerned because I know the kind of people I am trying to reach – young people do not read. So, I kept thinking of ways to present the content that will ensure they consume it. Then I realised there is a very strong music culture within Nigeria and Africa: young people are passionate about music. So, if they already had earpieces and earphones jammed in, I might as well plug into the culture. And that’s how the idea for the audio-book came in.”

But why didn’t she read the entire book herself? Why did she decide to bring in eminent Nigerians to do the job?

“It was driven by the need grasp young people’s attention, because I believe what I am trying to say is very important,” she told me. “And if I’m going to grasp their attention, I had to look for people that young Nigerians respect, look up to, want to be like? Who are the people who have done stuffs, and are doing stuffs? So, that’s how we came up with our list. Then we wrote the letters and began to talk to all of these people. It took us about three to four months of relentless pursuing to get them committed to the project.”
The book project will not just be limited to Nigeria or audio-media.

“My overall objective is to take this global, but we are starting with Nigeria and, of course, Africa. In every single country where we are able to make an inroad, we would get the same number of professionals in that country to read the book. So, this is the Nigerian edition. Ghana is on standby, Zambia is on standby, Ethiopia is on standby.

“The book will explore the entire trans-media spectrum. For the print version, I’m working very strongly with a couple of my commonwealth colleagues, to see how we can incorporate workbooks into it. And I would like for it to be illustrated as well.

“One British-Nigerian movie director has approached me saying she would like to shoot a movie, using the contents. We are releasing as an e-book. I’m hoping we can use the content to generate a web series. I’m hoping that we can use it on radio as drama, because most of the chapters start with skits, very hilarious skits.

“Why all of these components are important to me is because I know how young people work, I know that learning styles have evolved. I know that for one person radio may appeal, for another person it might be a book; so, I just want to make sure that I reach as many young people as possible.”

Interestingly, Naomi’s book project is simply a means to an end. She wants to use sales of the audio-books and other media- related products to raise funds and execute boot-camps across Africa, because she feels that the concerns that young people are dealing with “cannot be solved with one-day workshops. We have some serious skill issues, and they need to be addressed.”

“The book is just first-aid,” she said, underlining the need to set up boot-camps across Africa. But, “It is everything you need to know, to be able to understand how the African marketplace works; so that you don’t go out looking clueless and acting clueless. And, of course, we peppered it with a lot of real-life experiences, so that when you pick up the book and finish, you will know what to do.”

For Naomi, there are two ways the African continent can solve unemployment. One is short term, and includes skilling up the population, while the other is long term, restructuring the entire educational system.

“What we need to do now is to tell the honest truth: the young people that we have are not suitable for the workplace. That’s the reality. We need intensive skills acquisition strategies. We just need to cluster young people by interest, by the things that they want to do, and make sure that they have the necessary skills to function. Employers have made very specific demands, but the ones on ground can’t supply,” she said.

“Then the long term: we need to fix the curriculum to reflect the realities of today’s marketplace. My lecturer taught me with his lesson notes. We need to do intensive teacher training. The lecturers and facilitators are not prepared for today’s environment. Computer literacy amongst teacher is still a problem till today. How can you relate with a young person when you don’t even know how to use the tools that he’s conversant with?”

She argued that there are jobs, but the required skills to fill them are lacking. “It’s not a popular thing to say, but that’s the truth,” she mused when I pointed out that not a few persons would disagree with her.

According to her, there is unemployment in Africa because “there are no people to help businesses grow, so the capacity of businesses to employ people is very limited. If I have three fantastic sales people and the business expands, and we need to open a new branch, what do you think will happen? Who’s going to run the new branch? People. But if I’m managing one very exasperating sales person that does not know how to use an excel sheet, I’m going to be struggling with him until I fire him. I won’t have the capacity to recruit someone else.

“In a sense, it looks like I’m anti-entrepreneurship, but that’s not true. I heard the story of a lady who started a business with ten million naira from YouWin. Three months into the business, she had fired and recruited three batches of staff, and the business was going downhill. She had money, but she didn’t have manpower.

“I’m saying that entrepreneurship schemes are compounding a problem. It is like washing the leaves of a diseased tree. The tree is still diseased; and what is this disease: we don’t have skills. So, if you empower 50,000 entrepreneurs, who is going to do the work? Entrepreneurs need a workforce. The first place to start is to skill-up. When you do that, businesses will expand, accommodate more people, who will learn, grow through the process, spin-off, and then do their own thing.”