#MyNaijaInspiration – Adenike Akinsemolu’s Social Entrepreneurship Story on Building a New Generation of Environmentally Conscious Student Leaders
Like many parts of Africa, Nigeria has a number of environmental challenges that need to be addressed by innovative thinking and action. The Green Campus Initiative is entrepreneur Adenike Akinsemolu’s solution to getting young people in the country thinking green and becoming eco-conscious citizens.
Interview Culled from lionessesofAfrica.com
LoA spoke to Adenike this month to find out more about this wonderful entrepreneurial approach to getting students to make an environmentally positive difference in their country.
What does your company do?
The Green Campus Initiative (GCI) tackles the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability through innovative academic research, results-based green initiatives, and building a generation of environmentally conscious, socially conscious student leaders. It was established to educate, engage and enlighten young people to live green, as well as equip them with the vital tools to positively transform their communities, nation and generation. Our programs encourage students to use bicycles and other means of sustainable transportation, conserve energy and water, utilize renewable energy, dispose of their waste properly, become social entrepreneurs through the development of vocational skills, and become eco-conscious citizens.
“The Green Campus Initiative (GCI) tackles the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability through innovative academic research, results-based green initiatives, and building a generation of environmentally conscious, socially conscious student leaders.”
What inspired you to start your company?
In one of my lectures, I asked my students what they understood by “Going Green”. Surprisingly, in a class of over 250 students, no-one could explain the idea of going green. About 98% of them simply had not heard about it before. When you ask an average Nigerian youth to participate in community service or volunteer their time in helping the underrepresented communities, they simply ask “What do I stand to gain?” or “How does that put food on my table?” You cannot totally blame them. It is the culture. I also noticed students discard their waste in classrooms and around the school environment. Additionally, a lot of them do not have skills needed to survive upon graduation. How can we encourage students to live their life in such a way they do not harm themselves, the people around them and most importantly their environment? This question birthed the Green Campus Initiative. In the first 8 months of our green journey, nearly 150 university students from 28 universities have been trained with the goal to have a chapter of the Green Campus Initiative at each of Nigeria’s university campuses.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Besides advocating for living a green lifestyle such as exercising, recycling, conservation of resources and eating organic food, we also encourage social entrepreneurship as a way of promoting sustainable development. Our centre offers a place for budding entrepreneurs to gather and innovate for social change. Our Entrepreneurs are passionate about creating and developing sustainable solutions to tackling pressing global challenges like environment, climate change, poverty, immigration, health, human rights, gender inequality or any other social issue. So if you are passionate about something but do not know where start, we will inspire you to make it happen. Our principle is simply: People, Planet and Profit.
“Our programs encourage students to use bicycles and other means of sustainable transportation, conserve energy and water, utilize renewable energy, dispose of their waste properly, become social entrepreneurs through the development of vocational skills, and become eco-conscious citizens.”
Tell us a little about your team
We are group of passionate young people. We have a team of Green Ministers and Ambassadors. They are all students inspiring change in their various campuses.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My mother is an entrepreneur, so perhaps, it is hereditary. Most importantly, I always like to serve and help others. I also love to be creative and innovative. When I am passionate about something, I pursue it with all my mind without thinking of making money. I just do it. With that mindset, it was easy to build a company around my passion.
“In the first 8 months of our green journey, nearly 150 university students from 28 universities have been trained with the goal to have a chapter of the Green Campus Initiative at each of Nigeria’s university campuses.”
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Greening Nigeria, one university at a time. The goal is to have a GCI chapter in all schools.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I love the fact that I am helping to create highly educated and responsible citizens, one student at a time.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Life is a journey, with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most importantly, experiences to enjoy. All you need is a burning passion, an open mind and a compassionate heart. There will never be a perfect time to start a business. Start now, start right, start proud and don’t stop. I recommend reading People over Profit by Dale Partridge.
Contact or follow The Green Campus Initiative