Lessons I Learnt from Convening the Ilorin Digital Summit. #IDS18
I recently put together the first ever Ilorin Digital summit, an event for young people in Kwara State.
In my 7 months in Kwara State as a Corps member, I have come to realise that Kwara State has over 10 higher institutions which accounts for approximately student intake of 60,000 people.
In addition, at least 7000 young people are posted to serve in the state yearly. This is a target audience that is capable of greatly influencing the employment sector and influencing the economic trajectory of the state. However, there are not a lot of opportunities in place for this young people to productively engage themselves.
Also, this target audience with the ability to significantly affect the economy are unaware of how to leverage digital platforms to create employment for themselves, tap into already existing employment and even promote their current business to a wider audience.
This event was not only very successful, but also impactful with over 600 people in attendance .
The event had key people in both the digital media and tech sector from different parts of the country present to share their knowledge and experience including representatives of Payant, Dot, Cowrywise, Efiko, Google and Facebook.
Formidable organizations also leveraged on the event to provide discounted and even free training on different courses relevant to the workplace as well as made various opportunities including jobs and free use of their co-working space available to the attendees.
I learnt a lot from putting this event together along with an amazing team, but here are 7 lessons I will like to share with you:
1. You need to be so confident in your vision even if no one believes in it– There were people whose opinion mattered greatly to me that did not believe in what we were trying to achieve, but I was already fully convinced about my idea and the necessity of it to the extent that although I respect these people and still hold them in high esteem, I couldn’t let their opinion hold me back.
This really paid off because one of the feedback we have consistently received is that a lot of people were surprised and even very impressed that something this great could happen in Ilorin.
2. Start with what you have– There was a lot that could easily have served as a reason why this event could not be done. Finance, low support at the start, not enough time for me to plan etc. But at every step of the way, I considered what I had, who I could ask for help and what I could do and focused on that instead of the things I did not have or even had control over. It is so easy to focus on what we cannot do, that we miss out on what we can actually do.
3. You will find support a lot easier if you start with what you have instead of waiting for support to start– Someone who I had thought it would be almost impossible to get financial support from showed us great support after we hit a major setback because he found out that over 400 people have signed up for the event. Imagine if I had waited for his support before getting 400 people to sign up?
By using what I have already to start, it was easier to get the support of other people both financially and otherwise to host an event with over 600 people. An event which will now serve as a catalyst for the growth of the digital economy.
4. Ask someone who knows better– Organising this event with one of the best digital marketers in the country (Charles Isidi) really contributed to reaching significant milestones.
Working with him taught me a whole lot about marketing to the Nigerian audience. I understand better now how to validate an idea, even for something that will not be paid for and how to create better content for a target audience. I also got a peak into how to make the product or service you have created accessible to your target audience by paying attention to their behavior. I mean, we had over 600 people in attendance, and the only way we promoted this event was via social media and word of mouth.
5. Never forget your why– “Why would you to invest your time and resources into putting something this big together only for you to say the only thing you are getting out of it is to impact lives?” I got this question so many times with a suspicious look I tried to avoid it.
However, when I told my boss about my motive for the event, he reassured me that there is nothing wrong with doing something just to make impact. He spoke to me about the importance of knowing the main reason why you are embarking on a venture. Knowing your ‘why’ will keep you focused on your goal and enable you to cut out actions and activities that are not necessary. So, whether it is for impact, fame or money, know your why, be unashamed about it and keep it in view.
6. The way you position yourself on social media matters– I contacted CEO’s of organizations via social media to support the event, and they actually responded and helped. This year, I have learnt a whole lot about positioning my self on social media for the best opportunities and can’t wait to share that knowledge with you all in an e-book later this year.
7. God is a provider, trust him– We spent a significant amount of money, time and resources putting this event together, but I look back and realise that at every point when we needed to make a payment, money was made available. There was always provision. God’s vision, his provision after all.
My vision is to equip young people in Kwara State and teach them to take advantage of the growing digital economy to launch and sustain their own livelihoods. However, I really didn’t’ envisage the how huge the impact will. The feedback we have received so far has made every effort that went into planning the event worth it. Public and private organisations have reached out for us to see how we can leverage on the event to create employment opportunities and really build the digital economy in Kwara State.
So, this me saying thank you again to everyone who was part of making this a success.
Moving forward, we have created a digital community on whatsapp and currently planning a Free Microsoft Masterclass. However, I am still open to ideas, suggestions and partnership that will move the vision forward. 🙂
Did you find this post useful, let me know in the comment section.
A lot of people contacted me after the event to provide guidance and support so they can put their own event or something similar together as successfully as we did ours. From creating an event that people actually want , to creating income streams from your event, to attracting your target audience, to coming up with the best marketing strategies, to getting sponsors, I am your girl! Feel free to contact me on whatsapp or make a comment below.