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Sponsorship As a Potent Force in The Journey of Life

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In this piece, Chuks Oluigbo reviews Omo-Ojo Ernest Ivie’s The Potent Force of Sponsorship.

In choosing the title of his book, ‘The Potent Force of Sponsorship’, Omo-Ojo Ernest Ivie consciously uses the word ‘potent’ to demonstrate the power, efficacy, potency of the force of sponsorship, which, according to him, is “the very principle that rules the world”.

And the author demonstrates, in six chapters and 86 pages, that “the world runs on sponsorship” – it is there in the businesses/corporate world, entertainment industry, churches or religious organisations, politics, sports, etc. But there are also 15 preliminary pages that include endorsements, dedication and introduction.

The book, a bold attempt to change mindsets, answers the critical questions – Who is a sponsor? Why do we need a sponsor? Can you reach your zenith without a sponsor? Do we confuse a mentor with a sponsor? Does the world run on sponsorship? Is it scriptural and spiritual?

Going through, one cannot miss the nuggets that dominate the entire book, nuggets that essentially speak to the critical place of sponsorship in every phase of human life and career. But beyond these nuggets, the author calls readers to be strategic in positioning themselves to be identified by potential sponsors as, according to him, “Life without a sponsor cannot reach its zenith.”

‘The Potent Force of Sponsorship’ opens with an introduction, where the author emphasises that while having a mentor is good, a sponsor is actually more critical than a mentor. Indeed, he says, sponsorship is “the most useful of the success chains” as “all the coaching and mentoring” would be useless “if you do not have a platform to showcase all you have learnt”.“A mentor is good,” he argues, “but having a good mentor without a sponsor is time and energy wasted.”

The opening chapter, titled “Who is a Sponsor?”, traces the word ‘sponsor’ from its Latin origins and offers various definitions from different sources. Some qualities of a sponsor highlighted in this chapter include that a sponsor announces your arrival to the stage; makes room for you; sponsors are very impatient and very strategic; they are visionary – they see opportunities well ahead; they usually have big egos; they could charge a fee; they could demand rewards; and they do not operate based on emotions.

“Sponsorship does not happen by accident. It is deliberate, thought over, planned and executed. It takes a lot for someone to agree to undertake a sponsorship; it demands responsibility from both partners. Most times the person sponsoring must find value before embarking on the mission.

It does not come cheap, it is expensive and as such you have to earn it, there are no emotions about it, which is why it is not a philanthropic movement,” the author says.

He goes ahead in Chapter Two to clearly distinguish between sponsors and mentors, two distinct roles, he says, people often tend to confuse. While “a mentor is someone inside or outside your organisation who can give advice, feedback and encouragement”, the author defines a sponsor as “someone within or outside your organisation who has positional and political influence to help you move your career or life forward. Sponsors provide leads to advancement and growth”.

Using Biblical examples, the author in the third chapter attempts to show that the world runs and has always run on sponsorship; that even God himself understands this concept and used it.

To illustrate this point, he cites the examples of Jesus and John the Baptist, David and Jonathan,Moses and Pharaoh’s daughter, Naaman and the Jewish maid (2 Kings 5:1-26), Rebecca and Jacob (Gen. 27:5-30), Joseph and the Cupbearer (Gen. 41), Ruth and Naomi (Ruth Chapter 2), Saul, the first king of Israel (1 Samuel 9: 6-20), Jesus at the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6: 1-10), among others.

Arguing that John was the sponsor of Jesus, the author buttresses his argument by pointing out that John announced Jesus’ arrival on stage when he said, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world”, and made room for Jesus when he said, “He will increase and I will decrease”.

The author says, “You can never tell where your next breakthrough would come from as the next person to you may just be the sponsor you have been waiting for; so do not despise small beginnings.”

He adds, “We all need leveraging, don’t despise the power of leveraging, it’s the difference why two people who set out on the same journey same day to the same destination arrive differently.”

In Chapter Four, the author, using contemporary examples, demonstrates that the sponsorship principle is a reality of our time which you ignore or hate at your own peril.

“This principle today defines the essence of politics, government, business, religion, entertainment, sports, etc. It is the single game changer or decider of who gets what, why, where and how. If you hate or fail to recognise and operate in this principle, your chances of succeeding and reaching your zenith are greatly diminished,” he says.

He cites the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa as an example of a sponsor in Pentecostal Christianity, Don King in world boxing, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in Nigerian politics, while he also uses immediate past United States President Barack Obama to show a great beneficiary of the sponsorship principle.

“You must strive to get to a position where your sponsor will believe so much in you and would have no alternative to you, which speaks volume about loyalty and trust. This principle is not ‘ojoro’ (deceit), this is how the world operates and your feelings cannot change it. Instead of being frustrated by it, key into this principle,” he admonishes.

In the fifth chapter, the author highlights some qualities one needs to develop in order to attract a sponsor. These include develop your skills (both hard and soft skills); humility to learn; patience; perseverance; loyalty, and trust.

“The path to sponsorship discovery,” he says, “involves a series of steps. Essentially, you must believe in this immutable principle of human existence as it governs the affairs of men. You must realise that life’s success is not only a determinant of the most skilled, most talented and most hardworking, but time and chance happen to men. It takes a lot of effort and focus to tap into this principle.”

In this sixth and final chapter, the author sums up the discussion using some personal examples to show how the sponsorship principle has worked in his life and calls his readers to action.

“My entire life has been about sponsorship; if it worked for me it can for you. Don’t go on this journey of life without a sponsor; the pains and headaches are too much to bear and it is certainly not worth it. Sponsors shorten time, distance, space and generally give you a leveraging advantage,” he says.

For the author, the sponsorship principle is something experiential. And like the author, if we also look very closely at our lives, we may see that the principle the author has espoused in the book is what many of us probably have experienced all along.

At every phase in our lives or career, we have had someone speak on our behalf, recommend us for an assignment, a job or a position.

The only difference is that we may not have given a name to it. And while we may have been thinking sponsorship is accidental, the author says it is not and calls us to be strategic as we go about positioning ourselves to be identified by potential sponsors.

Essentially, what the author has done in ‘The Potent Force of Sponsorship’ is that he has gathered our collective experience, using his personal experience and those of a few others, and given it a potent voice, an expression. It reminds one of what Alexander Pope says in his definition of poetry – or what he calls “true wit”: “What oft was thought but ne’er so well expressed”.

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ACT Foundation Partners Cancer Aware to Screen Over 300 Women

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By Peter Oluka
In line with our vision to mitigate against the spread of cancer in Nigeria, Nigerian’s grant-making non-profit organization, Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation has partnered with one of its grantees, Cancer Aware to sensitize residents of Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos on breast cancer.

The sensitization exercise which held recently enabled over 300 residents of the community to be educated on the symptoms of breast cancer as well as the opportunity to be screened by medical officers.

Commenting on the exercise, Ndifreke Okwuegbunam, head, Programs, ACT Foundation, highlighted on the importance of breast cancer screening for women. She said “Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers that affect women all over the world. We are aware of the invaluable role women play not only in our homes but in our society at large. And so today we have come to support our grantee, Cancer Aware to bring information about this deadly disease to the women of Mushin Community”.

Mrs. Okwuegbunam also noted that asides the health sector, ACT Foundation is also passionate about entrepreneurship, environment and leadership, as these key sectors will help provide a holistic approach in creating a better world for all.

Speaking at the event, Hon. Emmanuel Bamigboye, the executive chairman, Mushin Local Government Area (LGA), expressed his appreciation to ACT Foundation and Cancer Aware for supporting the government in safeguarding the health of people in Mushin LGA. He called on all women to avail themselves of the opportunity to get screened and protect themselves.

Also speaking about the initiative, Tolu Falowo, executive director, Cancer Aware, expressed her gratitude to ACT Foundation for supporting this laudable project of sensitizing as well as screening residents of Mushin community on breast cancer. She also thanked the Mushin Local Government for the support they provided in making the day a reality.

She said “Cancer Aware is committed to fighting against the spread of breast cancer in Nigeria, this we do through sensitization and screenings because we understand the importance of early detection. We cannot do this alone and so we are calling on the government as well as corporations and well-meaning Nigerians to join us to eradicate the prevalence of breast cancer in Nigerian women.

The sensitization exercise which gathered over 300 women entailed checking of vital signs education on breast cancer, symptoms, care and screening by trained personnel. Attendants also used the opportunity to asked trained medical personnel questions about this menace that is eating deeply into our society.

Cancer Aware is one of the 22 Non-Profit Organisations that benefitted from the 2017 ACT Foundation grant.

Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation is a grant making non-profit established to support local, national and regional non-profits working to address challenges and associated vulnerabilities in the African continent.

(L-r): Olumide Emeralds, monitoring and evaluation officer; Alexandra Bazuaye, communication officer, both from ACT Foundation, and Project Team Lead, Cancer Aware at the breast cancer sensitization exercise in Mushin recently.

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John Momoh To Deliver Keynote at 2nd Fate Alumni Conference

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By Peter Oluka
Fate Foundation; the premier not-for-profit organization promoting business and entrepreneurial development in Nigeria, said it has perfected all arrangement for the second Annual Alumni Conference holding in Lagos next week.

The Annual Alumni Conference (AAC) is a platform for Fate Alumni and other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise entrepreneurs to learn from entrepreneurial leaders and influencers sharing knowledge about key topical areas to grow and thrive as entrepreneurs while also giving them an opportunity to network and connect with one another.

John Momoh, the founder and executive chairman, Channels Television Networks, is confirmed to deliver the Keynote address on the theme: Unlocking the Growth potential of MSMEs through Partnerships and Innovation, to build on the success of the inaugural edition and foster a sense of community and tradition.

The Syndicate Sessions will feature distinguished speakers such as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, House of Tara, Tara Durotoye, Partner, Risk Consulting Practice, KPMG, Tomi Adepoju, Founder, Chicken Republic, DejiAkinyanju, Chief Executive Officer, Mall for Africa, Tope Folayan, Co-Founder & Director, AACE Foods, NdidiNwuneli, and Principal Consultant, ADSRAT Branding Management Consortium, Charles O’Tudor. Others eminent speakers include Founder and Chief Responsible Officer, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, Adenike Ogunlesi,Chief Executive Officer, Food Chain Limited, FoluAfricanfarmerMogaji, and Chief Executive Officer, Brandzone Consulting LLC, ChizorMalize and Lead Consultant, Thistle Praxis, Ini Abimbola.

Speaking on the Alumni Conference, Executive Director, Fate Foundation, Adenike Adeyemi, said, “Following the success of the maiden edition of the conference last year, we secured a larger space this edition so even more entrepreneurs can benefit from our line-up of experienced entrepreneurial leaders and industry experts who will be speaking at the conference.

“This year’s syndicate sessions will focus on Access to Markets; Brand Management; Agribusiness and Sustainability. New to the conference this year is the Consulting Bar; an extension of the monthly Fate Consulting Clinic, where our alumni business men and women can have one-on-one access to expert advisory support for a period of 30 minutes each”.

She added that, “Given the success of our free monthly Consulting Clinic sessions, we have invited specific institutions that provide and/or are relevant to MSMEs advisory in the following need areas: Legal; Tax; Finance; Human Resources (HR); Digital Marketing Strategy; Communications; Sustainability; Financial Software and Credit Rating”.

Fate Foundation was instituted in 2000 by Founder & Pioneer Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fola Adeola,with a mission to foster wealth creation by promoting business and entrepreneurial development among Nigerians.

Since its inception, Fate Foundation has graduated over 5,200 entrepreneurs from its Aspiring, Emerging and Special Entrepreneurs’ Programmes and trained over 40,000 Nigerians in its short entrepreneurship Certificate courses.

Fate Foundation has also enabled over 72,000 Nigerian youths on the path to entrepreneurship. About 65% of its Alumni are actively running their businesses and most are beneficiaries of Fate’s Business and Alumni Support Services.

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EU–Nigeria Forum to Explore Investment Opportunities in ICT, Agribusiness

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(L-r): Ibi Ikpoki, economic officer, EU Delegate; Filippo Amato, trade counselor and head of Trade and Economic section, EU Delegate to Nigeria & ECOWAS; Juan Juse Otamendi, economic and commercial counselor, Embassy of Spain at the EU Nigeria Business Forum pre-event press briefing in Lagos.

The European Union-Nigeria Business Forum will expose attendees to investment opportunities in the information and communication technology (ICT) and agricultural sectors in Nigeria.

During a press conference in Lagos to announce the forthcoming 6th edition of its Forum, scheduled to hold from 5th – 6th of October 2017 at Eko Hotel and Suites, the Group revealed the theme as “Youth as an Engine of Broad-Based Economic Transformation”.

Under the theme, the Forum will beam light on possibilities in the fields, essentially, the role of youths in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Agribusiness, which are key sectors to support the growth and diversification of the Nigeria economy.

The Forum will also have specific sessions designed to address agribusiness and developing value chains as well as gender equality and economic empowerment of women as a key factor to sustainable development.

The forum will be a platform for business leaders and policy makers from the European Union (EU) and Nigeria to explore business openings and how to increase investment , with a view to create more jobs, Particularly in the ICT sector and agriculture.

This 6th EU-Nigeria Business Forum aims to identify the key role of youth in Digital Economy and the potentials of ICT in cross cutting themes with experiences shared from the EU.

To strengthen EU and Nigeria’s business relations through identification of opportunities in the agribusiness space in creating jobs, boosting exports and addressing local food security problems.

This year’s Forum is also aimed to identify the opportunities in addressing local infrastructure challenges and establishing an EU-Nigeria dialogue.

The EU-Nigeria Business Forum will also establish a more enabling environment for the fulfillment of women’s right and to achieve real and tangible improvements in gender equality.

They also seek to identify aspirations of young people, youth organizations and networks in view of the upcoming Africa-EU summit.

Filippo Amato, head of trade and economic section, European Union delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that “EU-Nigeria trade remains strong, standing at 19.9 billion Euros in 2016, In spite of the significant effect of recession on Nigeria’s trade.

“EU remains the top destination for oil and non-oil exports from Nigeria”, Amato said. European Union-Nigeria Business Forum believes that the success of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) launched by Nigeria in February 2017 depends on active private sector participation, and calls for effective confidence building to attract investors.

They also opined that creating jobs that will stimulate the economy and providing sustainable employment, particularly for young people, is crucial both for the present and future of Nigeria.

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