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The First Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in African Studies

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Damilola Temitope Olorunshola

I am Damilola Temitope Olorunshola, I am from Kogi State in northcentral Nigeria, the only Nigerian state bordered by 10 different states, and home to the largest iron and steel company in the country. I hold a BSc degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).

As an independent soul, being truly independent, for me, meant financial independence, and I believed owning a business was a valid route to that. I have always been fascinated about the idea of entrepreneurship, seeing most women around me deeply involved in one business or the other. At an early age, as far back as my memory allows, I started my first petty business at the age of 9. I have since gone ahead to test the waters of many others. This involvement in petty businesses at a young age coupled with my exposure to entrepreneurship as an undergraduate further boosted my interest in Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs), and has shaped my career path. I have conducted research on the MSMEs sector, especially as it relates to how government and relevant institutions can help ameliorate their challenges. Beyond publications and awards to my name, I also belong to various research networks including the UK Development Studies Association (DSA).

As a development enthusiast, I have worked with various development-focused non-profit organisations over the years, in order to lend my voice and expertise to the development of children, women and girls especially with respect to education, entrepreneurship and capacity development. I am particular about women and girls as they are perpetually under-served in terms of access to educational, socioeconomic and political opportunities. As an official at the non-profit organisation, I worked with teams to create and execute programmes aimed at addressing poverty among rural women by up-scaling identified value chains in their businesses. Also, as a member of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Nigeria, I have shown my resolve to development through involvement in rural development projects.

I believe that the future of Africa as a continent will be shaped by those who are conversant with her past, actively involved in her present developmental process and passionate about the vast possibilities of her future. This mindset, and the resolve to strengthen my capacity to proffer better developmental solutions, informs my interest in the EIMAS programme. I anticipate the exciting experiences (meeting new people from diverse cultural backgrounds) and the possibilities that the programme offers for all-round development. I look forward to working with key government and non-governmental organisations involved in business and economic development in order to contribute to policy directives that foster good governance and economic viability, including the development of children, women and girls.

PS: Please read my recent journal article, published by Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development (Emerald), here. It’s an insightful read, I promise!



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