As a graduate of statistics with twelve years of experience in Business Administration and Project Management, Walter Emiedafe, a mentor based in Oyo State, Nigeria, decided to give back the world of business by offering his services as a Tony Elumelu Foundation Mentor in 2016.
Having worked as a mentor on the Entrepreneurship Programme for three years (2016-2018) now, he met with the Tony Elumelu Foundation Team to speak about his business and his experience on the program so far.
Q: Tell us about yourself, your business life and your achievements so far
A: I have a project management and business administration background. I have successfully managed over eighty projects to completion for clients like MTN Communications Nigeria Limited, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc and Mutual Benefits Homes & Properties Limited to name a few. I am currently the CEO of Sapient Vendors Limited, a fast-growing construction company with over a ten years of industry experience in providing practical engineering solutions for residential, commercial and industrial clients across the oil and gas, banking, real estate, maritime and construction industry in Nigeria.
We have been recognised by The London Stock Exchange Group as one of Africa’s fastest growing and innovative companies in Africa, and Business Day as one of the top 100 fastest growing SMEs in Nigeria.
Q: Why did you decide to become a TEF Mentor?
A: I am a product of sound mentoring from business leaders like Alibaba Akpobome, Mrs Ononuju Irukwu (through Mara Mentors), Ademola Agboola (through Fate Foundation), my last employer Adebayo Olaniyan (MD of Tons Development Ltd), and my Father, Pastor Victor Okpako Emiedafe (The Founder of Vikky Creation).
The lessons I learnt under their mentoring has pulled us out of whatever business challenge we encountered throughout our existence in business. Reflecting on my own personal growth, when I was nominated by Femi Adegbohun of Deedee’s Blog to become a mentor on the Tony Elumelu Foundation Programme in 2016, I gladly accepted.
Q: What’s the most encouraging experience you have had while working with our entrepreneurs?
A: Seeing these entrepreneurs overcome challenges associated with generating revenue and guiding them through executing and improving their marketing strategies has been extremely fulfilling. Also, seeing Lekan-Kehinde Oluwadare of Discoveria, a mentee assigned to me, get awarded the Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award by the African Tourism Leadership Forum was very encouraging.
Q: How has your experience as a mentor in the TEF Programme benefited or affected the way you run your own business?
A: The mentoring programme has improved my listening and coaching skills thereby fostering optimal performance within my organization.
Q: Beyond the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Module that you use for your mentoring duties, what other life lessons do you constantly share with your mentees?
A: I usually tell them how my organisation grew with little financial capital through integrity and professionalism.
Q: Do you have any advice for budding entrepreneurs who will read this interview?
A: Identify an accessible role model in your chosen field and approach the person to be your mentor. If he/she agrees, beyond the active mentoring and advice you get from this person, watch his or her lifestyle closely and listen attentively. There are things you can pick up that are not necessarily business related but will be valuable for your life.
To contact Walter Emiedafe or Sapient Vendors, visit www.sapientvendors.com.ng