by Yemi Olowu
At the FATE Foundation Annual Celebration & Entrepreneurial Awards Ceremony held at Shell Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan, on Thursday December 8, 2011, eight role-models whose achievements and commitment to economic sustainability, job generation and the creation of wealth in Nigeria were recognized.
The event was graced by Mr. Wale Tinubu, Group Chief Executive of Oando Plc, who was the special guest speaker. In his address to the graduating participants of FATE Entrepreneurship School and guests, he reflected on his challenges in starting his business, and his achievements on his entrepreneurial journey. He also spoke on the importance of ethics, integrity and persistence as an entrepreneur, and concluded on the need to focus in order to succeed.
During the ceremony, 210 aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs graduated, as well as 15 Fellows from the new division of the foundation, FATE Institute for Venture Design, which is in close collaboration with the Centre for Research Design, Stanford University.
Following the graduation ceremony was the award ceremony. The FATE Outstanding Volunteer Award was presented to five people composing of corporate executives and entrepreneurs who have provided invaluable service to the foundation in 2011. Among them were Mr. Chris Okocha, MD/CEO of Thotline Concepts, a business development and strategy company; Mr. Adinnu Steve Ogamba, GM (Laboratories and Testing Division), Fugro Nigeria Limited; Mr. Bayo Adeyemi, VP, Investment Banking Team at Chapel Hill Advisory Partners; Mr. Wale Diamond, CEO of Black Diamond; and finally Mr. Ralph Rapu, MD, CEO RCJ Services Nigeria Ltd, an auditing and consulting firm.
According to Elizabeth Olofin, Head, Training FATE Foundation, “Our Volunteers in 2011 have contributed over 7, 680 hours working with aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs; and this award ceremony gives FATE the opportunity to celebrate their diligence and passion.”
Other winners included the FATE SME Journalist Award, Miss Yinka Alawode, a senior correspondent with Business Day newspaper, one of the leading newspapers in the country. Miss Alawode was rewarded for her selfless dedication to covering developments and issues in the SME industry in the country. The award was presented by FATE Model Award Committee Member, Mr. Sola Lawson, CEO of PGA Tours.
Also, the FATE Alumni Model Entrepreneur Award was presented. This is an internal award created to recognise a FATE alumnus within the organisation; an individual who has successfully established and sustained a fast growing business, and created employment. Alhaji Uba Adamu, CEO of Native Butchers Global Resources, Port Harcourt emerged the winner of the award out of the five contending nominees. Deprived of a formal tertiary education, Alhaji Adamu, a focused and hardworking entrepreneur, built a successful business despite his challenges. He graduated from the Aspiring Entrepreneurs Programme FATE Port Harcourt, Class 15, which he joined out of his desire to learn proper business processes, which he acknowledged were necessary for him to succeed.
The highlight of the ceremony was the award presentation of the FATE Model Entrepreneur Award to Cosmas Maduka, President of Coscharis Group, importers of luxury cars and distributors of auto mobile products in Nigeria. The FATE Model Entrepreneur Award award seeks to recognise exemplary and deserving Nigerian entrepreneurs, who have demonstrated vision, excellence, innovation, and achieved commendable growth in their various businesses; created employment; established strong corporate cultures of diligence, and hard work.
During his acceptance speech, Dr. Maduka gave an inspiring speech and shared his humble story on how he built his business starting at the age 15 with N200, and how Coscharis Group had evolved into a company worth the value of several billions in shareholders’ holdings. He encouraged aspiring entrepreneurs to be hard working and focused in their business, reemphasizing the advice of the guest speaker, Mr. Wale Tinubu.
In her vote of thanks, Executive Director of FATE Foundation, Mrs. Osayi Alile Oruene, closed the event by acknowledging people and organisations that have supported FATE in 2011 including volunteers of the foundation, Access Bank, Ford Foundation, Total Consult among others. She remarked that their support contributed to the success of the foundation’s activities.
The FATE Foundation Annual Celebration & Entrepreneurial Award Ceremony, initiated in 2001, is one of the biggest gathering of entrepreneurs in the country. It draws over 800 business leaders, corporate executives, and leading entrepreneurs from across the country.
FATE Foundation was founded in March 2000. Till date 2, 701 entrepreneurs have graduated from the FATE Aspiring & Emerging Programmes; 26, 882 trained persons from the FATE half-day workshops and special workshops at the end of 2011, and has reached out to over 56, 160 youths on the subject of Entrepreneurship.