British Council Creative Economy

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17 May 2019

Where creatives truly bond

Aanu Ayoleke, founder of The Whisperer, participated in the Creative Enterprise Programme in Lagos, Nigeria. Here, she describes her experience and what she learned during the three day workshop.

"We welcome all ideas – especially the WILD ones!”

Ifeanyi Enkorah, workshop associate for the Creative Enterprise Programme.

Onafuwa Photography

This was one of the house rules at the first ever Creative Enterprise Programme hosted by The Assembly, a creative hub based in Lagos, Nigeria. For three intensely electrifying days, the British Council opened its doors to a pack of energetic creatives in the fashion, media, beauty and entertainment sectors. A few of these students were seasoned entrepreneurs, others were new business owners, a smaller number were individuals with great business ideas. All were hungry for knowledge.

The first time I entered the classroom, I sat beside a few classmates and introduced myself. Jessica, beside me, was a fashion illustrator, and feared pitching her ready-to-wear label, Jessica James. “Just be confident,” I said to her and secretly to myself. While Jessica and I got acquainted with those on our table, other classmates started filing in.

Onafuwa Photography

“Go around the room and find someone who has three things in common with you,” Mr. Ifeanyi Enukorah, the facilitator, instructed. That was a novel icebreaker.

Then we were asked to give our one minute pitch. I slouched as my fellow participants volunteered. All I had was an idea. With each pitch though, I got bolder. I finally raised my hand. My voice shook as I presented my pitch.

Our activities for the day included writing future headlines for our business and crafting our ideal customer. The latter forced me to think of my target demographic. Lunch time came quickly and then I got to meet my classmates – and what an amazing set of people they were!

After lunch, we went to the garden and picked two pictures that meant something significant to us, that represented our values. In teams, we discussed our pictures and a team spokesperson presented back to the class. This gave me insight into the minds of my classmates. I was chosen as my team’s spokesperson. Later, we were given spaces to create makeshift workstations to display our worksheets.

We had to construct a tall structure out of uncooked spaghetti, some string, and a marshmallow. This was the most challenging assignment so far! The team with the tallest structure would be the winner. Although my team initially struggled, our structure stood.

"I have always known that being alive is expensive. But I had absolutely no idea that I spent more than I make."

We learned about the importance of having a unique selling proposition. And we were asked to critique a classmate’s business. Each peer review revealed interesting perspectives. We had to calculate our personal expenses for a month. I have always known that being alive is expensive. But I had absolutely no idea that I spent more than I make. Then we calculated our business expenses.

Lastly, the dreaded moment... our final pitch of the Creative Enterprise Programme. It was such a delight! Everyone showed significant improvement! We cheered and caused quite a disruption at the British Council. After we all received our certificates, Creative Enterprise Toolkits and other goodies!

The Creative Enterprise Programme was an absolute success! Don’t just take my word for it, here are a few words from my classmates:

"The CEP was life changing. I have learned and unlearned. Most importantly I got to take this journey with other brilliant people.”

"I got so much enlightenment ... Also, as an added advantage, I met really great minds with so much clarity and it greatly improved my network.”

This article was originally written for The Assembly.

Photography credit: Onafuwa Photography