For TEF’s 2017 entrepreneurs, the 13th of October marked a new beginning in their journey. It was the first physical gathering of their fellow entrepreneurs since they were selected to become part of the 3rd cohort of Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs.
But for Uwode Ovie Samuel, it was an emotional time, a collection of moments that he says he will forever remember. It meant so much to him, in fact, that he evaded the tight security presence at the venue of the forum to steal a hug with Tony O. Elumelu.
“I had this belief that if I could hug him, the same drive and passion so deeply instilled in him would also be transferred to me,” said Ovie. “I guess it wasn’t erroneous after all, because I felt heaven on earth while hugging him. From that very moment, I became more confident in my future success. Africa will surely hear my cry for transformation.”
After the Hug Heard ‘Round Lagos, Ovie sent a message to his fellow alums in a group whatsapp chat:
“I was so fortunate to hug uncle Tony and in my 10 seconds talk with him, he said to me- “make Africa great, then you will make me happy”. I implore that we all endeavour not to fail uncle Tony, ourselves and our dear continent Africa, now that we have been well equipped to continue on this entrepreneurship journey.
I’m so glad that I got to meet many of you at the forum. One day in some far-off place, I will recognize your face, I won’t say goodbye my friend, For you and I will meet again.’ And for those I couldn’t get to meet, ‘I dearly hope that our entrepreneurship journey cross paths and when it does, we shall shake hands, take hugs and say to each other- so, we finally get to meet.’
Let’s not forget what Vice President Prof Yemi Osibanjo said to us-‘Hope and imagination are more potent than history because your history is not necessarily your destiny’. And if I may add to that I would say, don’t think HARD about past, it brings tears, don’t think HARD about future, it brings fears, live this moment with a smile, it brings cheers.
In a predominantly oil-driven economy like Nigeria’s, one would expect this 20-year-old Petroleum Engineering student of the University of Benin to find work in the oil sector. Instead, Ovie uncovered a problem experienced by students and created a solution. But with no finance or business knowledge, he knew he needed help building that solution into a business.
Through a rigorous 12 weeks of training and mentorship programme, Ovie set up Ogalink technologies, a tech-based company that integrates real estate and ecommerce operations or services.
The Need: With the rising rate of student population in Universities mainly Federal and State, there remains a huge gap in campus accommodation service provided by the Universities and students resolve to a time consuming search for accommodation. Also with the yearly graduation of students in their final year comes the need to trade living items and the need to purchase items by new intakes in Universities but the platforms available for this form of trade are limited to physical interactions and word of mout which may not be entirely effective.
Ovie’s Solution: Through Oga link, Ovie has created a solution to these needs with the use of a one stop web platform for listing of verified student accommodation categorized based on the needs of students and a listing platform for living items placed on sale.
Going back to his base in Edo state, Nigeria, Ovie is set to create a lasting solution to the challenges faced by students and he is fired up by a zeal to make Africa great as he pledged. And that hug, may have been just the boost he needed.