Eminent Nigerians as well as upcoming entrepreneurs who have in one way or the other felt the positive impact of what Success Attitude Development Centre (SADC), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) is doing, applauded the organisation for its commitment to raising entrepreneurs at a dinner held in Lagos recently.
The dinner which took place at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel & Towers, was according to the organisers, their own way of saying thank you to the corporate organisations that have continued to play pivotal roles in upholding the annual Success Digest Enterprise Award (SDEA).
According to the founder of the NGO, Dr. Sunny Obazu-Ojeagbase, the SADC Entrepreneurial Award is an Award Money Can't Buy because of the support of the sponsors who themselves have come to have faith in the noble concept of this organisation.
Over 14 corporate organisations including Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Unilever Plc, ABC Transport Plc, UACN Property Development Company Plc, Goldlink Insurance Plc, Tantalizers Plc, Brilla FM were among those honoured during the dinner. Other recipients of the honour are Promasidor Group, Oruhtrade International Limited, Joyat Nigeria Limited, Royal Suites, Beat FM and Quincy Herbal Beauty Clinic.
In his opening address, the chairman of the event, former Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Board of Directors of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Dr. Felix Ohiewerei commended SADC for being in the forefront of raising entrepreneurs in the country.
He stated that in a country where most people prefer to hunt for a paid employment, SADC has through its numerous training programmes as well as its publications, raised entrepreneurs who are proud employers of labour in Nigeria today.
Ohiewerei noted that SADC is currently building the middle class for the Nigerian nation, a class which according to him, engineers the growth of any society. In his words: "The stability of any nation depends on a very active and very viral middle class and my prayer is that those who have learnt from the trainings offered by SADC will develop this middle class".
He advised the recipients of the awards to be further encouraged in supporting the noble course of SADC designed to groom the entrepreneurial spirit in Nigerians.
As part of efforts to further motivate Nigerians as well as the sponsors on the dividend their commitment is generating through SADC, some beneficiaries of the programmes came to testify to the reality of the NGO's activities.
First to testify was, Akin Alabi, who said he attended an internet marketing service tagged "Booth Camp" organised by SADC in 2002. According to him, he attended the programme while he was doing his National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) with a bank in Ibadan.
He narrated that the exposure he got from that training enabled him to set up his own business on completion of his NYSC. He told the gathering that he currently employs over 100 persons in his thriving company. He was full of appreciation for Ojeagbase and his wife, Pastor Esther Obazu-Ojeagbase and SADC.
Next to mount the podium was Oyeleke Toyin who happened to be a course mate of Alabi during the 2002 internet marketing programme. But unlike Alabi who was self-motivated to attend the programme, Toyin who was at the time an undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, was at home because of the incessant strike actions of the university lecturers and was compelled by his father to participate in the programme, which he reluctantly accepted.
"I reluctantly accepted to attend because as at then, I did not believe that there is anyone who will genuinely teach others the secret of creating wealth," he said.
But that notion changed after attending the programme. Toyin proudly announced to the audience that not only has he shunned paid employment, he runs three different enterprises with over 10 persons in his payroll.
Speaking on the motivation behind the concept, Ojeagbase said the NGO was established in 1995 to raise and nurture successful entrepreneurs whose success in business is driven by the fear of God, a burning desire to care for their families and an unquenchable thirst to do deeds in their communities.
Going down memory lane, the founders of SADC said they took the decision to set up the NGO during the 10th anniversary of being into business, stating that their experience as a boot-strapped entrepreneurial inspired their decision to undertake the pioneering project in Nigeria. He noted that they decided to share their experience with other Nigerians who may wish to go into business themselves.
The idea according to him is to guide budding entrepreneurs so that they would not go through the harrowing experience we endured in our first seven years in business, when our business was almost liquidated as a result of our indebtedness to banks.
To achieve their objectives, a number of structures were put in place; these include the setting up of SADC which was followed by the launch of Success Digest in September 1995.
The publication has been re-christened Nigeria's No 1 life-changing magazine by thousands of its readers who have benefitted from it. Another vehicle driving the SADC mission is the Success Digest Enterprise Awards. Established in 1997, the purpose of the awards is to celebrate entrepreneurs for daring to establish something in a difficult marketplace like Nigeria and making a huge success of the endeavour.
Another out-reach product of the NGO is "Be Your Own Boss Seminars". Here, a series of training seminars are conducted, they cover different aspects of entrepreneurship from start-up to business maturity like Business Opportunity Expo, Certified Netpreneur Course and Basic Certificate Courses in Entrepreneurship (BCCE). Other arms used in propagating the objective of the NGO are SADC Benevolence Fellowship, a reach out to widow and less privileged in the society and the Mother of Nations Intercessory Group (MONIG) which is driven by the desire to intercede for Nigeria.
Ojeagbase, who was full of gratitude to the corporate sponsors who had been of help in actualizing what SADC has achieved so far noted that "SADC is an institution fulfilling its mandate to the glory of God".
While assuring that the fruits of their contribution to the NGO would soon become evident, he said: "The successful entrepreneurs we are raising are already making waves in the marketplace. Soon, they will be lifting high the flag of Nigeria in the international marketplace.
The 2012 edition of sponsor's dinner was well attended by eminent dignitaries including Prof. Pat Utomi of the Lagos Business School, and Arch. Bishop George Amu, the founder of Goodnews International Bible Church. The event might have come and gone but the impact of the dinner will definitely help encourage the sponsors to continue with the good work of supporting the NGO that is in the business of turning around lives and creating employment for Nigerians.