CEO at 25: How Tope ditched Computer Science and struck gold!


Temitope Oluwajimi is the Chief Executive Officer of Indigo Events Services, an event management company.

I have always had a flair for event management. I enjoy social events that are properly planned. I had so much passion for it that I got a professional training for event management and other complimentary services.

I only studied Computer Science because I couldn’t be admitted for Food Science at the Ibadan Polytechnic. However, when I started the course, I began to love it. Computer Science has also been of great help to me in my business because in school you learn how to build websites and use the social networks.

Although my website is not fully operational, I was able to build it on my own. Instead of paying people to do my hall decors in soft copy, I do it myself with the experience I got in school. I do some graphics in my work
I started formally two years ago but informally, I have been doing this since I was 18, even before I got admitted into the polytechnic. On campus, I also planned some social events. I was always on the lookout whenever I was at any social event on how I could make it better.

At 18, I had planned my aunt’s wedding. I had earlier successfully managed my father’s friend’s birthday party and my aunt was impressed. Although it was a small birthday party, because of the way I was able to manage it, it looked big. My family was so impressed that my aunt gave me her wedding to plan. I managed everything but not as professionally as I would do it now. I just did it with the little knowledge I had about it then.


Deciding on Events Management as a career

This was during my industrial attachment in a bank. I wasn’t enjoying it. I am a very creative person; I don’t like being in a spot. My IT was meant to run for a year but I quit after four months and used the remainder to receive formal training in events management.

Before then, I had learnt about decoration and cakes but had no knowledge of events management professionally. During the training, I was able to understand the whole idea behind events management. I gained confidence to advertise myself and do it professionally.

So immediately I completed my HND, I went into events management full time and I can proudly say that all the money I spent on my training is paying off.


Dealing With the Challenge of Getting Clients

It is still a big challenge convincing clients that you are capable especially if it is your first official event. However, what helps are the small events you plan along the way. I have done a lot of free jobs and those I did them for recommend me because I did them with all my heart.

I am not a tall person; I am petite. When you communicate with clients via cell phone or email, they assume they are talking with a big person. When they get to meet me in person, they exclaim and ask if it is a small girl that would handle their event.

Even when they end up giving you that job to handle, they keep looking down on you throughout the event. Sometimes you are insulted while coordinating the distribution of food at events and people feel you have not done enough. At the end of the job, however, they appreciate you.


Lessons Learnt as an Entrepreneur

Naturally, I am a reserved person and I don’t like being shouted at but when it comes to running a business, you will have instances when clients shout at you publicly. So I have learned to be patient. I have also learned to always be on my feet and be creative.

Humility is important for success. I have five employees; some are older than me but I have to learn to work with that in mind. However, they know that if something has to do with my clients, I don’t joke with it. If my client wants 200 packs of small chops, that is what they will get. I will not do anything less. I have learned to be faithful and my employees have been taught same.


Advice to Youths Who Want to Be Self Employed

Don’t worry about making mistakes. Just focus on achieving your goals with patience and persistence. For those who want to go into event planning and are not flush with capital, always invest the money you make from the small jobs you handle, no matter how small it is.

Invest it in the business and use it to do something that will profit the business. You don’t need a huge amount of money before you go into event planning. Even if you don’t have the items for the décor, still go ahead and source for events. Your clients will pay for planning it even when you can’t provide everything.

Inspired yet? I think I am. If you have an idea in mind and you would love to experiment with it, just go with the flow; do not worry about making mistakes!

Culled from: 9jastartupseries

Published by Ogunbowale Olugbenga

Ogunbowale Olugbenga is a multiple award winning social entrepreneur & digital skills expert. An alumnus of the Leadership in Business Institute of Kellogg School of Management (USA), He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria). Inspired by the plight of millions of unemployed youths, Olugbenga founded, a digital agency passionately growing businesses & accelerating the application of digital skills for economic prosperity across Africa. To help institutions prevent scandals & promote performance, Gbenga founded Polivoice.Work, an anonymous employee feedback tool that captures & analyses feedback anonymously in real time to detect, predict & improve work place conditions. A Mandela Washington Fellow, Tony Elumelu Fellow, Royal Common wealth society fellow, YALI star of business & YALI network influencer, Olugbenga is the founder of Africa’s biggest orphanage outreach, The Orphan Empowerment Society, with a 5,000 strong volunteer force and a presence in 19 African countries empowering thousands of orphans with free vocational skills, medical care, & food. He is also the co-founder of the communication & leadership organization, Pacesetters Leadership Club.

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