After a rigorous 14 weeks of business mentoring program, twenty startups made it to the Founder Institute Alumni Group out of almost three scores that started the program in the cohort III class.
The graduation event was held virtually with all stakeholders present, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata (CFA), Regional Director; Chika Nwogu, Associate Director; Ifedy Eze, Legal Director; Fasuyi Olarotimi and other members of the Institute were on ground to celebrate with the new founders.
At the event tagged; “Leadership and Celebration” graduating founders from across the African Ecosystem were present and they all shared their success stories and their future plans going by the ideas they took away from Founder Institute.
Samuel from Uganda partook in the FI experience, he spoke about his challenging period during the 14 weeks exercise.
He pointed to the fact that he had no background in sales and had a problem growing from zero to something.
He also pointed out that he was a non-technical founder and the program made him grapple with the tech angles to his business.
Ogechi, another successful founder said she sacrificed sleep and had to do a lot of catching up to complete the 14 weeks exercise.
In her words “CFA kept hammering that he doesn’t think I will survive this program and that actually fuelled my resolve to see it to the very end”.
Although “tough and demanding” the exercise was worth it especially in the new order we are.
Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi of Fate Foundation commended the new founders for taking the deliberate decision to venture and complete the exercise even in this interesting year.
According to her, it is only an intentional person that can do this and see it through.
Speaking on leadership she said; “leadership from my personal angle means being responsible for the actions I take and not blaming others for whatever happens”.
She advised the founders to understand their team, identify their individual strengths, and zero in on ways in which the team can be driven for organizational growth.
She said; “there is no end to learning and as such we must always have ways to relearn and continually improve by having accountability points with whom we can be frank”.
Jim in his address advised founders to take humility seriously as it opens door of opportunities every time.
He said humility, determination, and passion are capable of taking entrepreneurs to whatever height they desire.
According to Jim, these attributes will not only make them conform to the new normal but will also keep them focused in these uncertain times.
Bunmi, another fresh founder gave her 14 weeks of experience in an emotion-laden manner while reacting to the moderator’s questions.
Bunmi spoke about how she felt she would not make it to the end of the exercise while expressing her satisfaction with the ability to establish a brand new network after the rigorous exercise.
“It is not enough to be a member of FI and graduate, the most important thing is the knowledge gained in the process and having people like Wande and CFA groom you even though the feedbacks were mostly brutal”.
Seun an Alumnus of FI also had few words with the new founders just before welcoming them to the Alumni group.
Seun walked the new members through the benefits inherent in being a member of the great network.
He mentioned collaborations as one of the greatest strategic windows available to them.
He also clarifies that being an FI graduate goes beyond fundraising as there are opportunities for growth.
Chika Nwogu, one of the Directors of the Institute advised the new founders to immediately begin to pay attention to structures and processes relating to their lines of businesses.
According to her, it is quite easy to get distracted with funding. “See yourself as a CEO with a trans-generational business and not just a startup,” she said.
While closing the virtual graduation ceremony, CFA, the regional director of Founders Institute felicitated with the new founders and reiterated that he understands how tedious the exercise was but the participants must understand that it was all intended for all-around sustainable development.
He hinted that the current class was mentored with curriculum four but curriculum five is launching early 2021 and will accommodate the lessons and realities of Covid-19 as it relates to the new normal.
CFA also made it clear that the Founders Institute has birthed over 200 thriving companies across the Nation.
In his words; “We are looking at a situation where we can have a great Intra FI business network”.