In order to start and build a successful business, aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners should be courageous and resilient, two necessary conditions for overcoming obstacles critical to business growth and success.
Chairman of NOVA Merchant Bank Limited, Mr. Phillips Oduoza gave the advice last Wednesday while delivering the Convocation Lecture to the 2017/2018 Leo Graduating Class at Babcock University.
Oduoza, who was the former Group Managing Director/CEO of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, said “Courage and Resilience are character traits common amongst all entrepreneurs who have been successful as it enabled them to take risks and overcome various obstacles on the road to success.”
Oduoza said courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to persist in spite of it while resilience is the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.
He challenged Nigerian youth to take advantage of opportunities currently available in the country, especially in agriculture, FinTech, arts and entertainment.
“The government’s focus on the diversification of the Nigerian economy has created opportunities across the agriculture value chain for aspiring entrepreneurs covering inputs (e.g. fertilizer), farming, storage, processing, manufacturing and transportation. The tech startup ecosystem in Nigeria is awash with opportunities for young entrepreneurs to create innovative solutions to address many of the structural issues facing the country. Emerging areas such as FinTech, the sharing economy, artificial intelligence amongst others present opportunities to start innovative businesses,” he said.
On what graduands and aspiring entrepreneurs could learn from his personal life, Mr. Oduoza said young business leaders should seek knowledge, build a strong network, be true to themselves and, most importantly, “must work very hard, no matter how intelligent you are. It is very rare to find a successful person who is not a hard-working person. There is no substitute for hard work.”
Professor Adeola S. Tayo, President/Vice Chancellor of Babcock University, eulogized the person of Oduoza, whom he described as a loyal friend of the institution.
“There is no better person to speak at this event than Mr. Oduoza who having had a successful tenure as CEO of one of Africa’s largest financial institutions, midwifed the birth of a new Merchant Bank which has achieved many feats in its first year of operation,” he said.