The Entrepreneurial elite of Nigeria has come together under the umbrella of the Ausso Leadership Academy (ALA) to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem with personalized mentorship to maximize jobs created by entrepreneurs to ensure shared prosperity. This has been inspired by the unprecedented success in entrepreneurship at Silicon Valley, which has been underpinned by a strong mentorship culture.
ALA aims to Impact 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. It is expected 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.
Nigeria is at a point when the ecosystem is visibly maturing and entrepreneurial opportunities are vastly increasing. 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.
According to the promoter of ALA, Austin Okere, “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.”
Austin Okere was also the founder of CWG Plc (NSE: CWG), the largest security in the ICT Sector of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Austin has 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 what inspired him to set up the Academy, Austin explained: “Being a serial entrepreneur, it was intuitive for me to conceive the idea of the Ausso Leadership Academy and the unique differentiation it offers.” He continued “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.”
The huge gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem is due to the lack of a personalized mentorship program 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.
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 provides 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 experience 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 are seasoned practitioners who have also honed their skills working with entrepreneurs in various capacities. They include Austin Okere, Chris Stephenson, Opeyemi Agbaje and Rasheed Olaoluwa. On why he accepted 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.”
He continued “I would recommend the Academy to prospective participants because Entrepreneurs need a clear Vision and Operational Plan with which to inspire colleagues, investors and other stakeholders. The Academy will bring them the thinking, approaches, tips and tricks that its faculty have all learned the hard way. More importantly, it will provide them with the framework, network and above all confidence for success, whatever their venture.”
According to Opeyemi Agbaje, he bought into the program because he believes that “efforts to tackle corruption must recognize its socio-economic linkages, especially poverty and unemployment. An effective and sustainable anti-corruption strategy must be anchored in the context of an ambitious economic reform program 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.”
The Ausso Leadership Academy recognizing that capital is essential to scaling has 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.
According to Martin Emodi, Founding Partner of the Africa Wealth Partners, “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.”
He continued “We are delighted to partner with the Ausso Leadership Academy and contribute to this laudable initiative. We believe strongly in long-term partnerships and we are convinced we have found such a partner in Austin Okere and the Ausso Leadership Academy.”
Clarifying the perceived ‘Premium Recruitment’ of the ALA First Masterclass, Austin Okere said “We are looking to work with entrepreneurs that have the potential and capability to become leaders in their sectors, and are willing to invest to achieve this. The goal is to crystalize a multiplier effect, as the first cohort of entrepreneurs, by their success, will become beacons to other aspiring high growth entrepreneurs”.
(ALA Press Release)