This week, Tell! interview Ojo Oladimeji, the Campus director of Hult prize & founder of Educate an African Child Initiative.
Tell us about you?
My name is Ojo Oladimeji Johnson, I am a final year student of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up was truly fun for me. I could remember those years when I and other colleagues would go to the Adamasingba stadium in boxers, we had maximum fun! I also remembered those years when Pepsi, Coca-cola and other brands would announce some promotional offers, and individuals could win gifts from buying their products and finding similar symbols underneath the lid, I mostly never purchased as much bottles of Pepsi or Coke for myself as a young lad, but I have won crates of it from gathering lids with similar symbols.
I have not told you about days when I would sneak into Moret Comprehensive School with my friends only to play with their see-saw, merry-go-round and swings. The day I will never forget was the day the security officer forgot to chain the school security dog – an Alsatian dog, yes, it was an Alsatian dog. We were enjoying the see-saw and there came Mr Dog who stepped out of his cage gallantly and started running towards us. After that day, it became easier for me to master hormones in biology, my adrenaline level rose beyond normal. After thirty seconds, I had found myself at the other side of the fence, how did I get there? Well, I have never been able to answer that till date.
What inspires you?
The will to leave my footprints in the sand of time; to clear the bush so that others can walk unharmed, to open doors so that others can enter their comfort, to create platforms where greatness is being launched.
What does it feel like when leading massive projects?
When leading a massive project, I feel I hold the future of many in my hands, and my actions and inactions will go a long way in determining how the stories of men are being shaped and told for generations. This is why I put my heart to whatever matters to me.
Who are your role models?
Anyone, anywhere who initiates phenomenal change, inspires change above all odds. Those who never stopped getting better. They are people who astound me and I really want to be like.
How many organizations are you currently involved in/leading?
Four; Students’ Entrepreneurship & Innovation Hub (SEIH), Educate an African Child Initiative (EACI) , Hult Prize Foundation, Global Peace Chain.
You were the Campus Director for Hult Prize, how did it feel like holding that fort and how were you able to manage your fellow organizers?
I could remember vividly from my first meeting with my team, I said to them, ”May it not be heard that Hult Prize remains a mediocre event on-campus” We wanted to organise an event that would shape the future of many, please remind me to inform you that achieving that feat never came easy.
Working with my team has been an immeasurable learning from individuals who have different superpowers with different outlook on situations, and are also leaders in their space. Team spirit was of utmost importance.
S.E.I.H is a students’ hub, can we get more info about it?
So we have heard of students who launched successful startups from Universities, likes of Facebook, Snapchat, Reddit, Gamsole, ToLet, Jobberman to mention but a few. You remember the number of crazy ideas you generate per day? In the words of Mark Zukerberg, ”Too many college-aged students get stuck in what Gerber calls the “Uber ideation”—thinking that every idea has to be a unicorn that’s going to be wildly successful.”
There’s this myth of the entrepreneur who does it on their own, but really to start a successful startup, I think it takes a village. This is why we launched and registered the Students’ Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub for students to co-work with different mix of skills and experience to launch startups from the University of Ibadan, and at the same time, become employers of labour.
We at the hub are currently working to secure as much partnerships as possible with incubators, business schools, public and private organisations within and outside the state. Members of the hub will execute the Hult Prize on-campus as an annual event, they will participate in hackathons, business case cracking, et cetera. I am really excited about the prospect this brings because the hub will connect students to water brooks. Have you ever imagined Andela in University of Ibadan?
What is the one cause you are most committed to?
Service to humanity
With all your involvement, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see myself leading innovation at different spheres of life
Thank you very much for honoring our Interview invitation. Any final remarks?
“While threading on the road to making impact, you may be rejected based on misconceptions. However, do not be afraid of naysayers for they lack understanding. Get better at what you do and success is imminent”
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