punch

February 17, 2019 Leave a comment

I was recently classified as one of the young Nigerians doing well [in his field] by Punch Newspapers and interviewed.

I was asked to share some of my experiences and offer advice that could inspire others.

I was both honored and humbled to be sought out; most of all, always grateful to God for every opportunity.

It was a long one, so the whole interview wasn’t published, but below is the unabridged version of the interview; after it, is a link to the actual publication.

Can we meet you?

Certainly, my name is Sylvester Kay-Adade.

I’m a business consultant, investment banker and serial entrepreneur.

 

What stirred your interest in what you do?

I can’t put my finger on exactly what stirred up the passion for business in me, but what’s got me going is the need for improvement in industries that I find interesting.

 

What is your educational background?

I’ve had quite a journey, educationally, so I’ll stick to the relevant bits.

For high school, I attended Federal Government College, Lagos, and Southern Ontario College, Hamilton. For college, I attended McMaster University and Mohawk College for Social Science/Psychology and Business Management respectively.

 

What is your current position?
I’m the Principal Consultant in Herança Financial.

 

How old are you?

I’m 31 years old.

 

What is your work history?

Most recently, Risk Management and Consulting at Kedari Capital from 2017 till 2019.

However, as a serial entrepreneur, it’s been quite a list, but the most popular are Brand Manager at Pearl Kreations since 2008, and Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Centerprise Global Resources (in partnership with a friend) since 2016.

 

What is your current position and what factors are responsible for your accomplishments?

I’ll focus on Herança Financial, where I’m the Principal Consultant.

I’d have to state passion, persistence, and networking as the top 3 factors, for me.

I’m incredibly passionate about small business – every aspect of it. It’s what I love to do.

I am persistent – I’ve drafted business plans and business proposals pro bono. I’ve taught classes, spoken at seminars, and written articles. I never give up.

I’m reserved, so networking didn’t, still doesn’t come easy, but it’s one of the best ways to meet people and talk to them about yourself, and what you do. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, people get excited about what you’re saying if you’re also absolutely psyched about what you’re telling them!

 

What is your job description?

Herança Financial is an SME advisory firm.

I spend my time offering advice/developing business ideas, drafting business plans/proposals, advising on expansion plans, and generally providing solutions to various business issues.

 

What motivates your work?

Passion and a drive for excellence. I love what I do; it gets me up in the morning. And whatever I’m involved in must be done right, mediocrity upsets me.

 

What are the challenges you face on the job and how do you surmount them?

The greatest was self-doubt. Every entrepreneur has those moments when they panic and question themselves. Sometimes, it was like “I hope I know what the heck I’m doing”. Those were times when my faith in God, His words concerning me, and His plans for my life were tested. It might sound corny, but I learnt to trust in Jesus and talk to Him more, confess God’s word over my life and make positive declarations daily. One of my favorites is: I am the most excellent of men and my lips have been anointed with grace since God has blessed me forever – Psalm 45:2.

Another challenge is getting people to pay for services rendered! It’s ridiculous. Nigerians have to be one of the toughest people to get your money from. I’ve worked with some micro enterprise owners and some politicians, the same thing! I’ll have to get back to you on that one when I figure it out.

 

What are some notable achievements you have recorded?

In 2010, through Pearl Kreations, I was nominated for Business Owner of the Year at The Future Nigeria Awards. Also through Pearl Kreations, in 2009, I was admitted into the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Business Network. We also worked with the Jim Ovia Foundation for a Youth Empowerment and ICT Event in 2013.

 

In what ways do you think the government can encourage the youth?

I think the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN) initiative that President Jonathan launched was a brilliant initiative. I learnt a lot of young people benefited greatly from it. Though, there could have been better checks, because I know of a few who squandered millions. I thought YouWiN! Connect by President Buhari would be better, and it started off that way, but I read it ended seemingly being some sort of scam.

I think the government can focus on educating youth on business and entrepreneurship, right from secondary school level, if possible. Let’s face it, not everyone is cut out for a 9-5 and there very few jobs out there. Even if you’re a salary earner, nothing wrong with multiple streams of income. Our youths can be inspired from a young age to be business owners and employers.

I also think programs like YouWIN should continue, and grants (not equity funding) should be offered, possibly in tranches, to those with good business plans.

 

What aspect of your career do you enjoy the most and how has it impacted your life?

Like I said, I’m passionate about small business. I love to sit with entrepreneurs, watch their eyes twinkle as they share their dreams (it’s like the beginning of a great story every time), help expand their minds/visions, develop a feasible plan with them, and help make those dreams a reality. The impact has just been the immense feeling of fulfillment.

 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’d have to keep to myself, but I’m sure it’s nothing compared to what God has in store for me.

 

What are some of the qualities you think a leader must possess in other to be successful?

I think a leader has to be a teacher and also teachable. A leader has to be kind and respectful. A leader has to be willing to serve and build others up. A leader has to inspire, not only through words, but through action.

 

Was there any incident that changed the course of your life?

By God’s grace, I have experienced great growth in such a short time, through dogged determination and the most random acts of kindness. One that changed the course of my life was my encounter with Suzanne Bourret. Suzanne is/was a journalist. We met at an event showcasing African cultures. I was there selling the most unassuming products, button-badges with flags on them. She was intrigued. She chatted with me for a bit and asked to interview me. My first interview. Before I knew it, I was answering questions, doing a photo shoot, and in a few days, I was on the pages of The Hamilton Spectator (one of the biggest and most widely read newspapers in Ontario). That article was the beginning of great things. I’ll always be thankful to God for that.

 

What are your other interests?

Board Games, Card Games, Charades, Movies, and Tennis.

 

Who are your role models?

I have a bunch of them because I admire different aspects of their lives, but I’ll name a few: My dad, Late Mr. Olukayode Adade, Mr. Elon Musk, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Mr. Jeff Bezos, and Ms. Oprah Winfrey.

 

How would you advise people who aspire to follow in your footprints?

In 2008, a few months after I started Pearl Kreations, I applied to be a vendor for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I was turned down because I didn’t have business registration and other requirements. I felt deflated, but I snapped out of it. I knew getting in could work wonders for my business. I wrote back stating I was a student entrepreneur and shared the link of the newspaper article I was featured in. By God’s grace, about a week later, I was admitted.

You can’t give up. Yes, it takes time, but if you’re passionate about it and it’s solving a problem/improving a solution, hang in there. Never worry, God’s got you.

 

This is the link to original publication.

 

imovie 2019

January 28, 2019 Leave a comment

Happy New Year!

I wish everyone well.

Pearl Kreations is 11 years old today. I thank God for sustaining the company and my adventure as Mr. Buttons thus far lol. Sometimes, I can’t believe how long it’s been!

Well, as has been the tradition for some years now, we will be rolling out some cool buttons in line with some of the blockbusters coming out this year.

Once again, Marvel takes the cake for the most buttons – a whooping 9 out of 11 buttons.In chronological order, we have:

  • Captain Marvel buttons and SHIELD buttons for Captain Marvel – out March 8th
  • Shazam buttons for Shazam! – out April 5th
  • BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) buttons for Hellboy – out April 12th
  • Avengers buttons, Iron Man buttons, Captain America buttons, Ant Man buttons, Mjöllnir buttons, and Spider Man buttons for Avengers: Endgame – out April 26th
  • XMen buttons for Dark Phoenix – out June 7th
  • Spider Man buttons also for Spider Man: Far From Home – out July 15th

Since they’re almost entirely Marvel-based, there will be just one collection this year – The Fantasy XIX Collection – with all eleven (11) buttons.

You can order the collection via our Online Shop and Konga.com Store, or order individual buttons (only via our Online Shop). We’re also working on a Jumia.com Store; we’ll have updates on our progress with that on our social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The Fantasy XIX Collection will be available from Monday, February 18th.

The promo video is ready, so please watch and share.

Get set to button up with us 2019-style! 😀

tides

December 25, 2018 Leave a comment

I have noticed that some of the best things in life happen when you least expect them. You might have been working so hard to attain a certain goal and it would seem like nothing could ever come out of all the effort. Suddenly, the tides change.

I have many, but I’ll share one. An old one, but drives the point home.

In 2008, barely 4 months after I started Pearl Kreations (Pearl Creations, at the time), a friend sent me an ad for an African Culture Festival seeking vendors. The vendor application was a bit pricey, but I scrapped some money together and paid; hoping to make more from sales.

The event was to start at 9:00am, but vendors could set up from 8:00am. It was slated to end 4:00pm. From 9:00am to 4:00pm, I didn’t sell one $2 button. There was interest from attendees, but no one bought a button. In my head, $60 down the drain. The closest I got to a sale was the surprise visit from the Ambassador of Lesotho to Canada. She wanted some with her flag, but I didn’t have any. I had never actually heard of Lesotho before then. I had Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan and other popular African countries though.
I apologized and her PA left me the Ambassador’s card. I emailed and sent some to her for free later on that week, I think.

At about 3:30pm, when I was thinking of closing up shop and heading home. I was approached by lady who seemed genuinely impressed by my flag buttons. She (Suzanne) and I had a pleasant conversation. Afterwards, she wrote down some questions and asked me to answer them as simply as possible. When I looked puzzled, she explained she was a journalist with The Hamilton Spectator and wanted to write a piece on me.

The Hamilton Spectator is one of the most widely read newspapers in Hamilton, and possibly, the GTA – Greater Toronto Area. I answered intelligibly, she invited me for a photoshoot, thanked me and left. Later that week, I went for the shoot, and a day or two later, I was featured.

This was 2008, before my dad passed and I did an honorary name change, so I still went by Olusola Adade. This piece announced me and Pearl Creations to Hamilton, the GTA, Canada, Nigeria, and the world. I made way more than $60 eventually! Through this article, I was admitted into the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Business Community in 2009. It also got me nominated for Business Owner of the Year at The Future Awards Africa in 2010.

Things may be terrible, but God can turn any situation around, like He did for me. Trust Him!

Merry Christmas!

help

November 18, 2018 Leave a comment

Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours – Les Brown

One of the toughest lessons I ever had to learn was that life can change in an instant.

Circumstances change. Lives change. Change is the only constant.

The change could be positive, it could be negative. No one wants a negative change, but we sparsely get to choose.

Be kind to others. Lend a helping hand, especially if you think that person never repay the favor. You never know, it might be you needing someone to pull you up tomorrow.

Check on your siblings, family, close friends, old friends, work friends too. Just a call or message could make the difference. People are hurting and you can never imagine what they’re dealing with unless they open to you.

If you need someone to talk, please reach out to a friend. Everyone has someone. Sometimes, all you need is a good laugh and healthy conversation.

As people reach out, call or buzz you, please be reachable and receptive (not hostile in your responses). Be nice. Yes, granted, some will ask for money, but is that reason enough to ignore? If, really, all you can offer is a listening ear, please do that. If all you can give is sound advice, please do so. If all you can do is pray, say a prayer for them.

Don’t merely be Christian in words, but in your actions; especially those no one sees.

Show God’s love; what if it were you?
You just might discover that in helping another person up, you’ll find yourself lifted.

Categories: nuggets Tags: , , ,

useful

September 25, 2018 Leave a comment

No one is useless. I came across this story and had to share it right away:

There was once a young man who did not get the chance to go to university after high school, so his mother got him a wife. After the wedding, he got a job as a teacher in a primary school. Unfortunately, due to his shyness and lack of experience, he was squashed and taunted by the students. After about a week, he quit.

When he returned home, feeling ashamed and ridiculed, his wife dried his tears. She comforted him with these words: ‘When one is too full, he could either pour it out what’s in him or pour nothing out at all. Do not be too sad about it. There is probably a more suitable job waiting for you out there.”

Later on, he found another job. But not long after, he was fired because his employer thought he was too slow compared to his colleagues. He went home feeling inadequate. In school, he was ridiculed by his students, and now, at this job, he was fired for not being competent. This time, his wife said: “There are always people who are skillful and those who are non-skillful. Most of them have experience from their years of work, but you were in school all those years, so how could you have acquired the skills needed?”

He kept getting jobs, but never stayed long in any of them for one reason or the other. Each time, he would return home with a dejected spirit, and each time, his wife would always comfort him. Never for once, was she disappointed or resentful.

He was in his thirties when he realized he had a flair for languages. He became a counselor in a school for the deaf and mute. A few years later, he opened a school for the disabled. Later on, he set up a chain of stores in different cities, selling apparatus & equipment for the disabled. He became a multi-millionaire. That man was John Doe.

One day, he asked his wife: “When I was looking bleakly at my own future, what’s the reason that you had so much faith in me?” His wife gave him a very simple answer. She said: “When a piece of land is not suitable for planting wheat, we could try planting beans. If the beans are not growing well, we could try planting fruits or gourds. If the vegetation is not economical, we can instead scatter buckwheat seeds. These seeds will one day bloom into flowers. On any arable land, there will be one seed that will germinate and grow.”

He cried after listening to his wife’s explanation. His wife’s faith, love and patience in him is likened to that one seed in the land. This is the seed that persists and creates a miracle on the piece of land.

In this world, there’s no one person who is useless. It is just might be that they have not positioned themselves firmly in right place.

I don’t know how true the story. I tried to verify it but no luck. Nonetheless, the message in it is clear. My takeaway is “Never give up on anyone. Sometimes all they need is a little encouragement. Everyone has a gift, and once they find the right place for it, they will flourish.

Categories: nuggets Tags: , , ,

patriot

August 15, 2018 1 comment

For the longest time, I considered myself unpatriotic. It stemmed from a complete disdain and disgust for how things always seemed to work in Nigeria. It wasn’t just the state of the country, it was unapologetic irresponsible behavior of most of those in power. I knew things could be better because from an early age, I was fortunate to spend my summer holidays in the western world and exposed to life in a developed environment. I wondered why Nigeria wasn’t the same. I mean, I learned in primary school that Nigeria has, apart from crude oil, arid land, bitumen, coal, gold and lots more. Nigeria has the makings of a super power, but remains an under-developed country. After the era of Nationalists like Nnamdi Azikwe, Tafawa Balewa, and Obafemi Awolowo, its leadership was consumed by insatiable greed – one after the other, looting millions of dollars from a non-dollar-spending economy, treating the national treasury as their personal piggy bank – to the detriment of their own people.

I noticed the imbalance in wealth distribution from a tender age. The very first time the reality dawned on me, I was on my way to school, in an air-conditioned car, with my dad. As usual, beggars would approach the car for alms. However, on this particular day, an elderly beggar walked up to the car, put his palm on window, and caused a smudge. I remembered thinking, Yuck, didn’t he have his bath? Then, I started thinking about all the things he wouldn’t get to do – he probably would live his  entire life without riding in a car, learning how to drive, being driven, or even enjoying a ride in an air-conditioned car, and none of it was his fault. It made me sick.

As I got older, I realized, or rather, it seemed obvious things would never change. Coming to that conclusion, I felt Nigeria was a disaster, and like so many young people, wondered why I had to be born Nigerian, instead of being from somewhere in the United Kingdom or United States. I became so disconnected and didn’t want to have a thing to do with Nigeria. I never saw myself as someone interested in fixing things, but I grew into someone not even remotely interested in making things better. As far as I was concerned, I was simply whiling away time in Nigeria until it was time to finally leave, either through my Master’s or some act of God. I wasn’t even interested in learning to speak or understand any Nigerian language; I made an active effort not to. In fact, Yoruba was the constant red in a sea of blue or the only F in the midst of As in my results all through high school, and I was never fazed. My WAEC result was no different.

At some point, I felt Nigeria was being ruled by people from impoverished backgrounds. That seemed to be the only logical reason why the moment these people got into positions of power, they would decide to alter/change the course of their future generations by shamelessly syphoning millions. I thought, if only Nigeria could have someone from a wealthy family, or at least, someone who could not be fazed by money, finally, things would work. I didn’t know how wrong I was.

I left Nigeria to redo Grade 12 at Southern Ontario College (SOC) to increase my chances of getting into an ivy-league Canadian University. While at SOC, most of my classmates included those who had finished from schools like Atlantic Hall, Grange, Greensprings, Lagoon, Olashore and co. In my mind, these were the cream of the crop. There were few very government-educated people, except for me from Federal Government College Lagos (Ijanikin) and some ladies who finished from Queen’s College. I was finally among people that think like me, or at the very least, those with similar backgrounds. To my astonishment, during a conversation about whether or not to move back to Nigeria, one of the students I met there, who was quite possibly from one of the wealthiest families, said if he got into office, he would take his cut of the national cake. For those who may not be familiar with that phrase, he basically said he would loot too. I was shocked, especially because his father isn’t a politician or politically-connected, so what corrupted him? This was a pivotal point in my life. It became obvious to me that corruption transcends education or pedigree, it is a mindset; a mindset that had, unfortunately, already eaten into my generation.

I was heartbroken. I lost faith in my generation, in Nigeria. I became more resolute in my desire/decision to not return. I loved my country, and I could see its potential, but I wasn’t going to waste my time figuring out how to make the lives of millions of people better when I wouldn’t be able to identify a sect of people I could trust or depend on. I got into McMaster University for a degree in Psychology, started a business in my first year, started another, and then a third business working as a Business Consultant. My life was taking shape rather nicely. In the course of doing business, I came across some concepts I thought could be real moneymakers in Nigeria, so decided to move back for a year or two.

In the summer of 2014, I was blown away. En route to Nigeria, I stopped over in Dubai for an 18-hour layover. Right from the airport, you could already envision what’s to come. I had been through the airport a couple times before – Emirates is my favorite airline – but this would be my first time really taking a look around and leaving the airport for the city. As we being driven through parts of the city, I just shook my head in disbelief. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a country just like Nigeria. Well, it isn’t even like Nigeria because they don’t have as many resources as we do, but the one thing we do have in common, they have utilized for the maximum benefit of the Emiratis. I’ve heard people say “Oh, it’s Arab Money”, if you never knew, Nigeria has Arab Money. Nigeria is disgustingly, filthy rich, but some of our leaders won’t let the country be great.

Someone shared an image of a newspaper story from 1973 with me on WhatsApp some time ago that surprised me. I have shared the excerpt below:

nigeria airways 1973

Can you imagine that? The UAE seeking advice from Nigeria. A little over 40 years later, Emirates is the world’s best airline and Nigeria Airways is defunct. What happened?

I honestly believe Nigeria could be infinitely better than the UAE, not only because of its natural resources, but also because of its human capital – the largest in Africa (180 million people); instead, majority of its people are suffering, living in fear, begging for food, sleeping on the streets and under bridges, and dying from thirst, starvation and lack of basic amenities. What kind of a life are my people living? I read recently that Nigeria has surpassed India as having the most people living in extreme poverty in the world – a prediction given by World Poverty Clock barely a year ago. What a shame.

It is pathetic the state this country is in. The average politician struggles to get into office simply to enrich him/herself, not the lives of the people who put their faith in him/her, the people who casted their one vote for him/her. They get into office and begin to misbehave, and if he/she is “magnanimous” enough to fix roads and provide basic amenities, people think he/she is a great person. I don’t dispute that such a person should be commended, but that’s the job they signed up for and what the resources at their disposal are meant for.

A few weeks ago marked my fourth year back home. I’ve thought about returning to Canada several times. I can’t even tell you how many people have asked me why I came from Canada to Nigeria, when people are fleeing/leaving Nigeria for Canada! I won’t deny that there is a sense of comfort owning a British, Canadian, or even, for now, American residence papers, and living a comfortable life, but no offense to anyone uninterested in returning, I cannot be selfish anymore. I can no longer act like whatever happens here is none of my business. I see people who through the actions of visionless leaders, have no/poor education, no exposure, no prospects, no future. I care that the average Nigerian suffers daily just to survive, while their elected leaders live in paradise. Granted, every Nigerian cannot be wealthy, that’s just the way the world is – 1% own 99% of the world’s wealth and all that; my point is the quality of life and cost of living of most Nigerians can be better. I cannot stand idly as our leaders abuse and squander the resources and potential of our nation.

This is not necessarily a campaign; anyone who knows me can testify that I’m most likely the least political person ever. Even if I were to campaign for anything in Lagos (I’m from Badagry), I can’t even speak Yoruba, not very well anyway, talk less of Egun lol. On a serious note though, ranting aside, I’m fed up and I just wonder if there are any youths like me out there – with a similar mindset and relatively strong moral compass – imagine what we could achieve if we band together. Things have got to improve (“change” has been marred by APC) and I certainly cannot do it all alone.

This is more like an appeal. If you love this country and want the best of it, love your people, your family and want the best for them, let’s stand behind a candidate with integrity, with a vision, with a plan, with a moral compass. Life can be better in Nigeria if we, as responsible youths, back such a candidate. Let’s stop voting for parties and vote for the individuals. Nigeria is not a two-party state. It doesn’t have to be one or the more. We don’t have to pick the lesser of two evils. We can make a difference February 16th by electing someone with a heart for Nigeria, a heart for the people, a true patriot. I won’t tell you who; if you know, you know. Fellow young Nigerians, let’s do Nigeria a favor and vote right. Let’s vote in a lion of a president; one without an evil agenda or complacent attitude. We owe it to ourselves and future generations.

God bless Nigeria.

solutions

July 17, 2018 Leave a comment

People pay for solutions.

I learnt that recently. The bigger the problem, the bigger the reward for the solution. But of course, you need to gain experience is problem-solving in order to master big ones. After all, experience is the best teacher.

I came across this story that pretty much shows the value of experience.

A giant ship engine failed.
The ship owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure out how to fix the engine.
Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was young man.

He arrived carrying a big bag of tools with him, and got to work immediately.
He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.
Two of the ship owners were there, watching the man, hoping he would know what to do.

After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a
small hammer. He gently tapped something, and instantly, the engine lurched into life.
Then, he carefully put his hammer away.
The engine was fixed!

A week later, the owners of the ship received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00).
“What?!”, the owners exclaimed, “He hardly did anything!”
So they wrote the old man a note saying,“Please send us an itemized bill.”

The man sent a bill that read:
Tapping with a hammer…….. $2.00
Knowing where to tap…….. $9,998.00

Moral of the Story
Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort in your life makes all the difference.
Life doesn’t change in ONE MINUTE, but taking a decision after thinking ONE MINUTE can change your whole life.

Categories: lessons, nuggets Tags: , ,