Each month, CapitalSquare features one of our members in the member spotlight series. It serves to highlight and provide visibility to our members with regards to their career path, contributions and experience with CapitalSquare. It is also a great way to meet with your colleagues and find members with similar interests.
This month's spotlight turns to Olanrewaju Odunowo, Business Development manager at GO1 Limited.
NAME: OLANREWAJU ODUNOWO
OCCUPATION: Business Development Manager at GO1 Limited
Working from CapitalSquare since August 2015
Read the interview below
Can we meet you?
My name is Olanrewaju Odunowo. I’m a Business Development manager for GO1 limited and we are a YCombinator software company that provides an easily customisable system that facilitates better training and better learning. It enables Corporations, Entrepreneurs and Businesses to learn essential skills that will help them and their team succeed. I’m a certified professional sales person and I have some experience starting businesses. I also volunteer for an NGO that teaches teenagers leadership skills.
That sounds like a whole lot, Is there a one line summary of what you do?
If I would do a one line summary, It’s "I’m a sales man and I build start ups"
So, what you do, is that what you studied while in university?
I read computer science at Covenant University so obviously I have a little Tech background and knowledge. I since dumped programming but I have a thing for selling tech solutions. So if you tell me I have this business and I’m trying to get customers, I’ll be so happy to work with you. Based on my background, it’s easier for me to understand how tech product, works. Easier for me to sell, that's the key thing about selling, you have to understand your products and services before you can sell.
Is this a case of I studied this and I can still help with it but I don’t exactly do it anymore?
Yea, I mean. That’s what it is. The surprising thing however is yesterday, I just enrolled to learn programming again. I realized that it has stopped a lot of things. So when people say I want a tech co-founder or I want a tech person, but you don’t have the skill, I feel like, but I have the background. Hence, I’m beginning to learn programming again.
Can we say you work for yourself or you work for an organisation?
Right now, I work for an organisation
Do you consult?
Errrm no, actually I have an Edutech Start up, myself and a friend Co own it . It is called EyeCity Solutions Limited (short-name ‘EyeCity’) . I work for a company and I also have an Edu Tech start-up.
Can we know more about that tech start up?
What we are looking to do is two things: Vocational training online and also upscaling teachers. Starting from the vocational training aspect, we are looking at training people who want to learn different things and go online for that. With that, they can cut cost and then make money in return. We are still at the incubation stage.
You have an experience of both sides. You work for a company and you are an entrepreneur. What do you think an entrepreneur has as an edge over the Employee?
What I believe is there is a place for Entrepreneurship and there is a place for being an employee. Recently, I’ve been ranting on Twitter, no one should be made to look superior. What we should actually emphasize is how employees can be more productive and proactive. And encouraging employers to give them freedom to create and to make them get encouraged. I know that because of the situation in the country, there are no jobs and then entrepreneurial skills are forced on people. To be honest, entrepreneurship requires a lot of risk and a lot of time. If you are working for someone, you have a time and you know when you are done. Everyone thinks being an entrepreneur means you use your time anyhow. No, it requires more discipline. You have to discipline yourself because you realize that nobody will force you to work so you can control your time, which leads us to the advantages of being an entrepreneur. There is nobody there to monitor whatever you are doing and this in turn necessitates your discipline. You can choose to sleep all through your working time, you just have to discipline yourself. It just has to do with being able to express your creativity and freedom to do stuff without limit whereas as an employee, you might not be able to express yourself fully sometimes. Entrepreneurship gives you more freedom while working for somebody could limit certain things. Entrepreneurs are actually opportunity and job providers. They also drive the economy. There is this statistics that the majority of people who drive the Nigerian economy are SMEs (They employ a lot of people), One of the key things I found out is the fact that The major thing that most entrepreneurs need is capital, that’s the main barrier to getting a business started. That’s why all these NYSC funds and others are good initiatives to help out.
Looking at what you do and looking at Nigeria, do you think this is the best place for you ? Is Nigeria that location for what you do?
Which part of what I do?
The Entrepreneural part.
Yes, it is actually, you’ll be shocked at the amount of people who are presently learning vocational skills in Nigeria. Don’t forget that the current administration i.e the federal government is trying to focus on vocational skills. Trying to get people to focus on this because it is a huge market.. People are now into fashion designing, makeup bead making, People are making money from these vocations amongst others. Vocations are double now, so many people are into these things. They are learning, teaching other people, making money and creating jobs. You would agree with me that over the past few years, the number of vocational businesses have really increased. You would know someone that knows someone that is involved in one vocation or the other. My sister, for instance is involved in bead making. The ICT part too, Teachers need to be more tech savvy, they don’t have to look lost when their students are talking about tech related issues.
So you see Nigeria as a long term location for you?
Yes I do. In fact, for our start up, It’s a primary location. Looking at the fact that Nigeria is the most populous black nation. In the last one year, maybe in the last few months it has dropped, (I don’t know of the latest statistics), It has the highest growth rate when it comes to African economies.
Can we talk about the organisation you work for?
What we are trying to do is help companies deliver training in a very exciting manner. We realised that a lot of companies do trainings in a way that staff members don’t really go through them. For instance, when someone joins a company, he would be given like 100 books /Documents and told to read, People just mostly flip through and don’t read it. Imagine if you had that sort of thing in a video format, in an exciting way, you would be willing to watch especially if it is interactive and fun. So basically, we are making corporate learning fun and interacting in affordable/cheaper ways. Somebody might ask how our platform is different from every other platform but the very good thing is that our company can customize platforms in the sense that any member can decide to create a customised training on a particular subject. E.g Tolani can customise a training on ‘How to Use the CapitalSquare Meeting Room’.and all the members can do theirs too. You can create your own courses.
You mentioned that It was really affordable
Yes it is. . It’s as affordable as 200 naira per person depending on the number of staff to be trained.
So what do you do for them?
My role is essentially personal application and management. Trying to get people to use the software, trying to make them understand how it can help them and also to ensure that they make the most of the platform and to finally make sure that they are satisfied with it.
So you are like the Go to person?
For Nigeria, yes.
What has your CapitalSquare experience been like?
I’ve been here since August. It feels like my workplace. I don’t feel like I’m not working from my normal office. . I think people have this idea that a Co working space is just for play play play and this isn’t the case here. I know one or two people, even members that we have talked about this before. The environment is not the playful type and you get to be serious here. The play part also comes in but not the only thing..It’s good if you want to get stuff done, you want to be focused and at the same time you get to network, meet other people. There is always someone to reach out to, to say : ‘Hello, How do you do’? and then a conversation starts. It further teaches you how to interact with people and understand different kinds of people more. There are people you might not talk to for a while but there are chances that some conversation would come up any time.
What part of CapitalSquare is your favourite?
There are a couple of things I like. Number 1 is the ambience, you sort of get used to it to a certain degree, you get used to walking in , getting smiles from the reception desk, going into the kitchen, etc. It’s almost like a home you are used to. My real favourite is the Kitchen . There is something about working for a long time, then you sneak into that place. When people get there, they want to stay for hours because it’s like that getaway. If I had my way, I wouldn’t mind working from there for few hours everyday. The third one is walking through that door and exchanging pleasantries : Hi Tolani, Good morning. Hi Lanre, Hi Lilian e.t.c. These three are my top favs.
It's been an interactive and intersting interview with you, Lanre, thank you very much
Sure it was. Thank you too.
If you have any training to be done for the staff in your organisation or you want to discuss some online vocational concepts, you can contact Lanre via the following media
Facebook: Oba Olanrewaju
And if you'd like to join Lanre and the other amazing people working out of CapitalSquare, click here to see our plans and pricing. There'll definitely be something for you.