Meet Tade, bridge builder and serial entrepreneur
Hailing from Nigeria, educated in London, and living in South Africa, Tade Olulade is a true citizen of the world. As an advocate for Africa, his aim is to shed a light on the Dark Continent by harnessing its full potential
Born in Nigeria, Tade pursued his tertiary education in London before moving back to his home country to fulfil his national duties. Although he occupied a comfortable corporate position, Tade’s entrepreneurial upbringing always lingered in the back of his mind, until he could no longer ignore it’s call. An advocate for Africa’s potential as a global powerhouse, today, Tade holds senior positions in two African start-up businesses. This is Tade’s story:
ON BRIDGING GAPS
I am currently focused on The Luxe Digest: It is a digital, luxury-focused, pan-African, lifestyle magazine. I was speaking to a friend of mine in Nigeria who owns a PR agency, and we both realised that a lot of foreign luxury brands were looking for better ways to engage and connect with African consumers online. We wanted to fill that gap, and also promote a deeper and more meaningful bond between Africans across the continent. As a Nigerian living in South Africa, I’ve always wanted to be a conduit between both countries.
ON TAKING RISKS
I graduated from university in London in 2010 when I turned 20, and moved back to Nigeria to do a mandatory yearlong national service programme. Following my year of service, I was placed in the investment department of one of Nigeria’s oldest banks, where I worked for a year and a half. I learned a lot from my experience, but I felt that I needed to do something different – something entrepreneurial. I was raised in a very entrepreneurial family; my mother and my father have both owned their businesses since I was born, and they encouraged me to take risks. Culturally, the entrepreneurial mind-set is engrained in the minds of a lot of Nigerians – to take risks and pursue your dreams.
ON AMBITION AND DRIVE:
When you are an entrepreneur, there is a kind of fear that keeps you going; the knowledge that if you don’t step up to the plate, you’ll get nothing in return. The fear of the unknown and the uncertainty involved drives me, because it is quite scary not knowing what comes next. Also, passion for what I do, and pride for what I have accomplished so far keeps me going. If I’m not proud of something I’m doing, I can’t really give it my all. I always want to feel proud of what I’ve built.
You should listen more than you speak – it’s really important to listen to what people have to say. And in the past year I’ve started journaling. It is important to outline what you want to accomplish every day, to monitor progress, and to pay attention to key learnings along the way. I also write down what I am grateful for at the end of each day – practicing gratitude is a great skill that makes you and those around you feel much better.
ON LEARNING LESSONS
IN HIS WORDS
“You have to try to be a person of integrity, and also deal with people who have similar values…”
Firstly, it is important to set clear expectations about your capabilities, availability and deliverables before you commit to working on any new business venture – especially if you are working on multiple projects or businesses at the same time. This helps you avoid disputes and disappointments with your business associates. Secondly, you’ve got to be very careful about the people you bring into your business because the wrong mix of people can negatively affect the energy. I feed off of vibes and energy that I get from the people around me, and I’m very careful about people I do business with. You have to try and be a person of integrity, and also deal with people who have similar values. Lastly, learn to be bold. I was young when I started working, and I often came across as being timid. I think I would have done much better in my initial career if I was bolder or asserted myself a bit more.
ON FOLLOWING IN HIS FOOTSTEPS
Keep your ears and eyes open! If you stay around people who are like minded, you might just find yourself in the right room, or part of the right conversation. The two projects I’ve worked on in my capacity as an entrepreneur have come from casual conversations or idea sessions with people in my network. Stay around those who can help you further your goals and ambitions.
One key element of style is being appropriate wherever you are: Being dressed for the right occasion is very important. How I dress depends on the context. I also think style is wearing what you’re comfortable in. My style has definitely evolved over time. I’d describe it as situation appropriate, and I place a lot of emphasis on the materials I’m wearing. I like laid-back, easy-wearing items and tend to buy multiple colors of items that work well for me. I’m grateful that my job doesn’t require me to dress in any particular way. Now that I’m working on The Luxe Digest, though, I’m attending a lot of events, so I need to make an impression and look the part. I think the clothes you wear can be a real confidence booster and make you feel great about yourself.