The Woman behind the Kid Entrepreneurs

Home Career The Woman behind the Kid Entrepreneurs
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Up country, in the hinterlands of metropolitan cities, and even city centres it is common to find children hawking. It isn’t considered child labour-it is considered a part of their education, a part of life. But amongst the middle class, this concept is often considered child slavery at worst or ‘interesting’ at best.
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Selling at a busy market place requires street smarts. In nano seconds, a street smart child can spot a customer in a crowded market, pull them towards their stall with a piercing force of energy, close the deal, count the money and move very quickly onwards to the next customer. This is not the sort of intelligence that can be acquired in a classroom but one that is abundant on the street.
A few fortunate children in Lagos got a taste of this experience at The Kids Entrepreneurs Fair in Lekki on December 17th.
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Omobowale Agboade runs The Kid Entrepreneurs Club- a novel initiative set up to spark the entrepreneurs in children through hands on experience and project based learning. She is married to Deji Agboade- the Pastor at Harvesters Lekki and they have 3 adorable children. On December 17, Bowale organised Nigeria’s very first Kids Entrepreneurs Fair in Lekki and had over 70 children owned businesses exhibiting.
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We were impressed. So we tracked Bowale down for an interview to learn what inspired this brilliant initiative and to learn even more about her entrepreneur programme for children.
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TW: Please share some background on the Kid Entrepreneur initiative.

BA: Kid Entrepreneurs Club is the first Entrepreneurship Development Centre in Nigeria for kids age 5 to 15. We are extremely passionate about sparking up the entrepreneurial spirit in Kids and we do this majorly through experience and project based learning. We believe that entrepreneurship is the dream of our nation and since kids are the biggest dreamers, it’s best to introduce them early to the concept of entrepreneurship. 

Kid entrepreneurship isn’t about having kids focus all their time on business instead of school, rather, it is about helping kids develop necessary life skills that cannot be taught at school but can certainly be cultivated in the course of running their own micro businesses.
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Skills such as Leadership, self-confidence, resilience, problem solving, financial literacy, independence, networking, creativity, effective communication, generosity, goal setting and many others.

Our vision and hope, is that by introducing kids to entrepreneurship, they will develop to become responsible and independent members of society who have been delivered from the poisonous entitlement mentality that is prevalent in our society today.

TW: How did you come up with the brilliant idea of the recently concluded business fair for kids?
My passion  for raising entrepreneurial kids is the major influencer of the recently concluded Kids Business fair
TW: Clearly you must have had a mission when you set out, can you share that with us

BA: The mission for the fair are quite a few.

We wanted to introduce kids to a real market place and show them that people are willing and able to pay for the skills and talents they have.
We also wanted to build confidence in the kids by having them attend to their customers with little or no help from their parents. There is nothing like the actual experience of handling money and we wanted to teach children financial literary by getting the kids to handle money themselves. Our mission was also to teach creativity by having the kids think outside the box in order to make their business stand from other businesses that sell the same things they sell. Finally we wanted to encourage parents that the kids can actually function in what is considered an adult role for just a day.
TW: Is it going to be an annual event going forward?

BA: The Kids Business fair will hold during every major school holiday.
TW: How long did it take you to organize the fair?

BA: Planning for the Kids Business fair started in September 2016. It took exactly 3 months.
TW: What challenges did you face whilst organizing an event of this magnitude.
BA: I would say finances. Another challenge was having way more kids register than we anticipated . But I guess that’s not really a challenge.
TW: Did you have any prior experience working with children and children’s events?

BA: I am in charge of Teens and youth at my Church Harvesters Lekki and i am also a volunteer teacher at public secondary schools. 

TW: How has the feedback from the fair been? Can you share a specific one with us?
BA: The feed back has been absolutely phenomenal but one that really struck a chord with me was one of our kid vendors who was in boarding house and everyday after classes she would call her mom and cry about lonliness. When she registered for the Kids Business fair, her countenance changed totally and she immediately got occupied with making her beads in preparation for the fair . The crying stopped and she found happiness with making her beads and in anticipation of the fair. She sold out at the fair. 
I was absolutely moved
TW: Wow that’s amazing! So what inspires you?
BA: My inspiration comes from the calling within me, the assignment that has been given to me by God.

TW: What can we expect from the Kids Entrepreneur initiative next?
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BA: The kid Entrepreneurs initiative  pledges to raise a generation of responsible and independent members of society who have been delivered from the poisonous entitlement mentality that is prevalent in our society today.
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To find out more about Bowale’s work, follow her on Instagram @kidentrepreneurs
#kidentrepreneur #youngmillionaire #streetsmarts #catchthemyoung

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