Tunde David, a young Nigerian is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with as he takes on the world of management consulting. In this interview, the front man of YGC Africa speaks on starting up, challenges and expanding his organisation across Africa. Excerpts:
by ‘Ifreke Inyang
What exactly are you into?
My present call is ‘socialpreneurship’, consulting, writing and speaking. I’ve also got interests in technology
‘Socialpreneurship’, interesting, at what point did you decide to go into that?
I started socialpreneurship at a time in my life when I decided to stop wishing for change but be one of those that would create it. This led to the creation of YGC Africa in 2008. YGC Africa is a group of young, passionate, creative and dynamic youths that put in place platforms, mechanisms, initiatives and programs that will inspire and transform young Africans. Consulting officially came up in 2010 when I got a call to take people and organisations to seemingly unreachable heights through the establishment of Seven Star consulting. I have since consulted and completed assignments for Microsoft West Africa, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, HiiT, Farafina publishing, etc. I decided to go into speaking when I realised the capacity of my tongue to transform and inspire.
Has this always been a passion for you?
Funny enough, these things were not initially a passion for me. I developed them as time went on.
Did you have role models who helped shape your thinking?
Sure I did and still have. My parents; who teach me a lot about attitude and humility, Fela Durotoye, Dr David Oyedepo, Poju Oyemade, and of course Gbenga Sesan who greatly assisted in making me have a footing. Many others still exist.
What was growing up like? Was there anything early in life that influenced your career path?
Growing up for me was uptight but fun at the same time. I really didn’t have the liberty of doing some things I wanted to, which I guess is now paying off. I have siblings who are older than me and I was exposed to the same kind of stuffs they were exposed to. I should think that’s one major reason I started pretty early in life. On a lighter note, I was the social prefect in my primary and secondary schools and maybe that paved the way for socialpreneurship to start off.
When did you know that socialpreneurship was what you should do?
YGC Africa started at a time when I felt a strong need to put in place a mechanism that would inspire and transform young people. I remember the first time we were going to host a conference in 2008. We had basically nothing but with the contributions of team members who shared the same passion that I did, we were able to pull it off. Consulting started off when I offered to consult for free for a major multinational.
Would you say your achievments so far are as a result of hard work and training?
Not really. It’s been grace!
We understand how stressful things can be around here in Nigeria, did you ever consider quitting?
There were several times. Thinking of times when we at YGC Africa had to host conferences and put in place platforms with our savings. This made us reconsider if we actually wanted to do what we were doing. Well, not anymore as I am now extremely resolute in my resolve to deliver the future.
What is the biggest risk you have taken in your career?
I take risks every day. I’m not sure which is the biggest so far.
What are some of the challenges you face in convincing clients considering how young you are?
It’s really hard convincing clients especially when you’re not done with your first degree and you don’t possibly have “those connections” or an MBA. Just to prove my capability, I once offered to consult for a multinational for free and when I was through, the management decided that I couldn’t go empty handed and that way, I got my first consulting pay cheque. It’s never easy convincing clients but if it means working for free, it might just be what you need to get to the next level. People need to recognize their worth. That is the only way they can place value on it.
How is the working environment like in Nigeria compared to what is obtainable overseas? Is competition stiff?
The competition in Nigeria is quite stiff and not yet as healthy as what is obtainable abroad. In Nigeria, we often see connections take preference over capacity.
What role has the ‘Nigerian factor’ positively and negatively played in shaping your perspective?.
My belief in the Nigerian dream has positively helped move to higher pedestals. The ‘Nigerian factor’ has also played itself negatively as some years ago, I would send mails to people in other parts of the world and not get replies simply because the mail was from Nigeria. All these is now changing for good.
What is your reaction to the high number of inteligent young people roaming the streets looking jobs who are frustrated their skills are wasting away?
It’s simple. They’ve got to find their place and also develop entrepreneurial abilities. You never find fulfillment in tilling another man’s ground as you would in yours. Government would never be able to provide jobs for every young person. We’ve got to create more small and medium enterprises. That’s my two cents.
What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience to date is being invited for an interview with the Cable News Network (CNN) sometime last year.
What experience would you rather delete from history if you could?
None really. All the experiences I’ve had have been instrumental to successes I’ve recorded.
What would you say is your greatest fear?
I don’t have any fear.
If you are not into what you are doing now, what would you be doing?
I would be into Engineering. That’s my first love!
Considering you are barely 20, where do you see yourself in the future, lets say in five years?
I hope to be a top rate speaker, solution provider and management consultant in Africa. I see YGC Africa present in at least 25 African countries. I should also be getting ready to marry the lady of my dreams.
Have you gotten any awards/recognition yet?
Yes I have gotten some. Best use of Advocacy (The Future Awards 2010), Team of the year, YGC Africa (The Future Awards 2011), An invitation to represent Nigeria at the 2010 President Clinton global initiative university meeting, Lagos State Government Excellence Award, Nigerian National Youth Awards(Gold category, 2008), etc.
What do you love most about Nigeria?
It’s the people and their ‘never die’ and can do spirit.
What does being young and Nigerian mean to you?
Like my friend Ohimai Amaize would say, being young and Nigerian means I’ve got my BLING to project.
BLING means I’m Brilliant, Legitimate, Inspired, Nigerian & Great!