Students should start early to have an entrepreneurial mind-set, that way, they open up other options for gainful employment when they are ready to join the job market, so says Tony Elumelu, Chairman Heirs Holdings, UBA Plc and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF).
In an inspiring speech, which he gave to students at the Loyola Jesuit Memorial College, Port Harcourt, he told the students that the world has changed in a way that students should also respond to by changing their expectations after leaving school from seeking a job to creating jobs.
The Jesuit Memorial College (JCM), Port Harcourt was set up to honour the memory of the 60 students of the Loyola Jesuit School in Abuja that lost their lives in a plane crash in Port Harcourt on December 10, 2005. The school serves as a beacon of hope, where children are given the opportunity to get a sound education and have a chance to contribute to building a brighter future for this country.
Speaking on behalf of the school, Dame Aleruchi Cookey-Gam, a former SSG and Attorney-General commended the works of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the impact it has on the lives of our young people today “The students are at an impressionable age, we saw this as a unique opportunity for the Tony Elumelu Foundation to share their message of Africapitalism and the entrepreneurial spirit, these students will always remember this message”
Elumelu also commended the Catholic educational system saying that it is the best as it not only emphasizes academic excellence but also builds in students a sense of responsibility to humanity.
“I was once a student, and in my time, things out there were even rougher than they are now. But the education and training I received in my youth helped me a long way. In the same way, I urged the students not to take their quality education for granted. Though they – like you – won’t always see immediate gratification, you should rest assured that success will eventually come as long as the following are in place.
He explained that it was his belief that the younger generation can address Africa’s development challenges and catapult the continent into being a strong player in the international community that led him to commit $100 million to identify, train and fund 10,000 African businesses, over the next 10 years.
Responding to a question by one of the students on how to balance being financially successful with family life, Elumelu maintained that it is impossible to create sustainable wealth without balance and stability in the home. Even when you are faced with a very hectic schedule, you can strike a balance by spending regular quality time with your family. After all, you need peace and happiness in order to make money.
In his conclusion, he reminded the students that though their benefactors, the 60 departed that brought the school to life, were victims of circumstance, the best way to immortalize them was to be very successful. He said “I pray that all the souls of the departed rest in peace, and I pray for the students of Jesuit Memorial College, that their light may never dim, and that they (and all youth in the coming generation) shall make Nigeria and indeed Africa, great again.”
“Among you, could be the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerburg or Tony Elumelu. You are the future leaders, I believe in this statement because I believe that you will be able to help us transform our country, improve humanity and bring about prosperity. I want you all to see yourselves as messiahs that have been unleashed into the world… you are young today but you can and will play a significant part in shaping the future.”