EIT Spotlight: Funsho OlaniyiEvery year, we welcome a new cohort of exceptional EITs to MEST. This year our cohort came from 12 different countries with a variety of backgrounds. Each EIT has a unique reason for coming to MEST as well as particular passion for technology.
This week we spoke with EIT Funsho Olaniyi. Read on to learn why he believes Pan-African entrepreneurship is so important.
Where are you from?
I am from Osun, a southwestern state in Nigeria. I’ve also lived in Lagos.
How did you hear about MEST?
I ended up researching the program after a MEST alumni sent a message about it to my university class WhatsApp group.
What made you decide to come to MEST?
Before MEST, I had a hard time balancing my job with my entrepreneurial dreams. I was very keen to learn about business development as it applies to tech startups, while also honing my tech skills. It seemed like a lot to keep up with on my own. When I discovered MEST and that it offered a fully funded training program that teaches all of these skills, it was perfect.
Why do you believe tech entrepreneurship is important?
Many innovative solutions are usually overlooked by big tech companies. Unless someone is passionately driven to tackle one problem at a time, we may not experience the ease tech can offer to many of our immediate problems.
Tell me a bit about the tech entrepreneurship ecosystem in your country. What are your hopes for the future of that ecosystem?
An average Nigerian is an entrepreneur in some way, and we are used to making a business out of the smallest things.
I confidently believe that there is much more tech can do to ease or solve our everyday challenges, even though a lot of innovative solutions exist already. I believe the majority of existing solutions come as a feature to something that could be bigger, or a repetition of existing solutions. I believe, due to the saturation, we will be forced to be more innovative and begin diversifying in surprising ways into a lot more spaces.
Why do you believe Pan-African entrepreneurship is important?
The majority of the African population have similarities in terms of psychographic and behavioural habits. Being a Pan-African entrepreneur will help broaden the scope of the proposed solution to a problem. This approach will also, in the long run, help foster African economies.
Who/what inspires you?
The possibility of solving actual problems using tech inspires me to wake up every day and continuously work towards my goals, aiming for impact.
What would you like most to gain from this next year at MEST?
To increase my network and find awesome friends to take on challenges with!
Are you interested in becoming an EIT at MEST like Funsho? Applications for the Class of 2020 are now open. Apply here!
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Due to COVID-19, MEST postpones training program to next year and doubles down on growing portfolio companies
At MEST, we continue to be deeply concerned about COVID-19 and have been closely monitoring developments locally and globally. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our community and we will continue to follow local authority and health official guidelines.
Due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic and the uncertainty that the future of travel holds, we have been unable to conduct in-person interviews and host recruitment around Africa for our next cohort. For this reason, we have taken the decision to postpone the Training Program to next year.
While these circumstances are indeed unfortunate, we see this as an exciting opportunity at MEST to double down on providing support and mentorship to our existing portfolio companies and the African ecosystem.
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