Value-based pricing, culture shocks and bicycles – those are a few things Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale learned about and experienced during the first three weeks of the SE Outreach Accelerator.
Why did you apply to this program?
I applied to this program because I wanted to learn how to do business as a social entrepreneur. I wanted to learn how to market the product, how to sell the idea and how to scale the idea.
Now that you are three weeks into the program, what has your experience been like so far?
It’s been amazing! I learned that I am not just selling bags. I am not just creating treasure – I am selling a message. Now I know there is a difference between cost-based and value-based and I know that I am selling value. I am selling a message and the message is to end violence against women. When you carry my bag you carry a message and you are supporting the idea that we must end violence against women.
What has been your biggest insight/learning?
The biggest insight is that I must not divide my social venture from the business venture. I am selling a message and the message is in the bag, so both of them have come together as one. They must be married together. None can exist without the other.
What is the first thing you’re going to do when you go back to Nigeria?
The first thing I’m going to do is to change the way I think about the value that I produce. To change the way we pay the women that produce the treasure. We cannot say add value to your life, add value to your treasure and we are not adding value to these women. Even the way I take care of myself, I’m going to change it. I don’t pay myself. I work, work, work without payment. So what message am I signaling to my children and even to myself? This will change immediately when I go to Nigeria. For whatever we produce, whatever we sell everybody will receive the value based salary and not just the cost anymore. We have been volunteering, volunteering but no – not anymore. We must add value to ourselves and to everything we do in our organization.
What has it been like being in a group of people from all over the world?
It has been a cultural shock, because the first time I met one of the participants I said “Hello, my sister!” and she looked at me and said “when did I become your sister?”. It was so shocking because in Nigeria we say “my sister, my sister, my sister”. I was shocked at first, but later she explained that where she comes from “sisterhood” has a different, negative connotation and I understood that. So, I think with time we all became sisters and brothers and now every morning she calls me “my sister!”.
What has been your best moment so far?
I treasure every moment. I don’t have a best moment – I have treasured moments. Every moment is a moment that I want to hold on to and say don’t go.
We also heard that you have practiced more than your business skills while being in Sweden…
I’ve started riding bicycles! I just said to myself: “I can do it”! If children can do it then I can do it. I love it! I never had a bicycle when I was growing up. People cycle in Nigeria, but you can’t cycle in the express way like in Sweden, because in Nigeria the driving is so different. It’s like mad people on the road.
Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale is the founder of the Star of Hope Transformation Centre.