Opportunity Hub with Bola Lawal: Set a Goal, Learn a New Language
Source: Bola Lawal, Co-founder & CEO, ScholarX @bwlofhouston www.scholarx.co
22 Sep 2017
Last month, I was invited to speak at a major African Tech conference in Paris, France, and I was extremely excited about the opportunity to share my views on a range of topics concerning the growing youth population in Africa. Specifically, on access to education and how it directly affects Human Capital growth with a large audience. I also welcomed the prospect of building upon my already growing business network.
It’s been a year since I decided to take the leap to become a full time Tech Entrepreneur, and a key thing I’ve learnt is the importance of having a great network. Particularly, networks that can lead to collaboration and possibly fruitful partnerships. To quote Marissa Mayer, former CEO of Yahoo! “when you need to innovate, you need collaboration” This further shows that to really make the kind of impact needed to help progress the continent, we need to do things together. But what happens when we don’t speak the same language, have similar backgrounds or social orientations?
My experience in Paris opened my eyes, and made me realize that true impact can be accelerated if we learn and explore how things are done outside our own comfort zone. As I made my way around the city, I quickly realized how diverse and versatile the people were, particularly with language. Most of the locals I interacted with spoke some English, though they prefer you attempt to speak theirs first.
This compelled me to think about how beneficial it would be if people, especially our youth, sought to learn at least one other language. Just imagine the effect it would have on employability, entrepreneurship, networking and so on. Like for me personally, I imagine we’d like to launch ScholarX in French speaking Africa someday, and how great would it be for me to appear on TV/Radio in Abidjan, Yaoundé, Dakar etc. to articulate our vision and goals for ScholarX in the region speaking French. This has led me to set a personal goal to learn French and possibly Spanish within the next year. You should do the same, set a goal, learn a new language, learn something new!