Bolajo Fawehinmi Launches Mentorship Program
Less than a year ago, former fashion executive cum tech founder Bolajo Fawehinmi started “Repdoor” a service that would serve as a medium to enable models advance their careers by exposing them to top agents around the world. The goal was to create an easy, free, transparent, and reputable system for models who are looking to build a professional career by connecting them to a pool of top agents.
The service was launched in Nigeria but intended for a global audience and that has been its reality as it has developed audiences in the USA, France, Senegal Morocco, Kenya, the U.K, South Africa, Germany, as well as Uganda and has on-boarded over one hundred management agencies around the world including industry giants Elite World Group – Women Management, IMG models, The Society New York and Elite New York amongst others and about two thousand model sign-ups from around the world which is remarkable.
After seven years as founder and CEO of FeW and her recent endeavours with Repdoor, Bolajo Fawehinmi has gathered considerable physical and intellectual resources in addition to her experience in running a successful business in Nigeria. In an effort to give back and impact to the next generation of thought leaders and innovators, she has launched a mentorship program to achieve this.
“Going through this path of entrepreneurship has been quite difficult and considering I’ve been involved in different fields from modeling to business and now tech.
It was a lonely path but thankfully I was able to navigate it because I had a number of mentors even with that, I didn’t want to be a bother, so it was still a challenge.
It’s important I also recognize the effect of Covid because it changed the mind of entrepreneurs for the worse because a lot of people went through situations where they couldn’t recover because of the pandemic and honestly, it affected me directly as well because I had made some moves towards expansion but they were decimated during that time which was very difficult for me and it only took the strength and knowledge I possessed in the field and the mentors I had at the the time to help me get back on track.
I took time and thought about it and decided to use my knowledge of entrepreneurship to offer assistance in the form of a mentorship program because the path of entrepreneurship can be a very lonely one especially if you don’t have a support system.”
Entrepreneurship, especially in a developing country like Nigeria, is not a walk in the park and it requires the entrepreneur to be resilient, and hardworking but most importantly they must possess the ability to adapt.
Bolajo’s mentorship aims to give entrepreneurs a safe space where they can share their experiences and challenges as well as bounce around ideas in order to gain perspective on matters concerning running a business in which she is well versed in.
“The life of an entrepreneur consists of a lot of laughing and crying and that crying can lead to a place of depression where entrepreneurs never come out from and businesses don’t recover from so it’s not just a mentorship but more like a safe community for entrepreneurs.
For a community to move you just need one leader and I’ll just be that person. And I’m not particular about gender, I intend to cater to all sorts of entrepreneurs.”
Prospective mentees will be required to provide information about themselves and their business but there is no discrimination regarding the size of the business, the only deciding factor for Bolajo is the entrepreneur’s drive.
“We just need to confirm that they have a business they run, we don’t want people to think they need to run a multinational company to apply.
I will be making an official announcement with a link to an online form where people can register and we’ll assess the applicants and make our selection in line with the capacity we can handle at this time.
I know the importance of getting advice from people that are already somewhere because every business person needs someone they can bounce around ideas with and go to when they need clarity on situations that are beyond them.”
The mentorship program is looking to onboard just 10 lucky applicants and the grand vision according to Bolajo Fawehinmi is;
“To be able to mold A-list entrepreneurs and help people build their businesses. One day I want to be able to point to a successful business in Africa and say I was a part of this.
I think the grand vision is to discover entrepreneurs, help them navigate their path, and be able to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurs who will go on to help others along their way, and that way the knowledge base keeps expanding.”
Bolajo Fawehinmi’s efforts call to mind a famous quote by exceptional filmmaker Steven Spielberg which goes;
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”
This is because as much as she intends to help these entrepreneurs succeed by guiding them through her knowledge of the business and personal experiences, she still wants them to be their own people and make a way for themselves in the world.