”What makes you rich is an informal education about financial literacy and learning from entrepreneurs." - Stephen Akintayo
Africa’s most significant asset in restoring its resources is not foreign intervention – it’s boosting the force that lies within.
With the promising rise of African entrepreneurship, there are more and more names that resonate throughout the continent – names like Stephen Akintayo.
At WorldRemit we know how powerful it can be for communities worldwide to hear stories about devoted change-makers. So, we’re delighted to learn more about Africa’s most sought-after personal finance coach!
Who is Stephen Akintayo?
Stephen had $10 to his name when he decided to launch his first business. Little did he know that he’d turn it into a multimillion-dollar corporation!
Born to a modest family in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Stephen only saw his first water tap in the house at the age of 13.
“When I was 17, I read my first business book. That's when I started questioning why is my family poor. I learnt that it’s not formal education that makes you rich, but informal education about financial literacy and learning from entrepreneurs.”
As a personal finance coach, focused on financial empowerment, he’s providing training for Africans on how to create multiple streams of income. During his career, Stephen and his team trained more than 100,000 people online and offline.
“I’m proud of the impact I’ve had;” he shared with us. “There comes a time in your life when success is not just about how much you’re making, but also how much are people able to make from what they’ve learned from you.”
Stephen’s tips on wealth and financial empowerment
1. Wealth does not depend on your academic qualifications
Stephen: I work with people who have the same background as me - people who were born into poor families. I want to inspire as many people as I can.
What makes it challenging is the mental block that people with low income have - believing they don’t have money because of the lack of academic qualifications.
Here’s what I have to say. The industrial era is over! Your wealth is no longer about the degrees you acquire, but about the quality of information at your disposal. It doesn't require any degree to find information on Google, Facebook or IBM. Make the most out of it.
2. Make use of what technology has to offer
Stephen: Africa is facing many challenges – one of them is inexperienced people in high positions. The truth is that if they’ve never run a business, they’ll most likely have problems running the whole economy. Many people in official positions fear technology. How is it that ministers of communication don’t have social media accounts these days?
Africa's biggest opportunities lie in its markets and people. There are 700 million people in Africa. In Nigeria alone, there are about 200 million people! That's a large market, which is also young. I’m happy that our youth is embracing technology – much more than the previous generation. What used to take years can now be done in months with technology.
3. Show your community how to become more financially literate
Stephen: Our culture is communal. As an African, you’re linked to other people who rely on you - such as your family and inner circle. But if you’re doing well – everyone wants something off you.
So, when your cousin comes to you and asks for $100, what you need to say is; "I know a great online training programme that can teach you how to make $1,000 every month. I'm going to spend the $100 so that you can invest in that and start your own business."
What we do now is just give handouts and that needs to stop. Instead, let's help each other to build wealth. In that way, we can touch more lives within our communities.
4. Get insights from a mentor
Stephen: If you want to become an entrepreneur, I recommend that you get a mentor. Find someone successful in the area you want to go into that you can learn from.
In this age of information, we must remember that knowledge is not a destination, but a journey. What you know right now can become obsolete in seconds! Always be hungry to learn more.
5. Be resilient despite the challenges
Stephen: What makes Nigeria distinctive is our hunger. I think it comes from our challenges. We have a naturally built-in resilience. We’ve seen a lot, yet we’re still standing.
Some people say that Nigerians are the happiest people in the world. Isn’t it amazing that the richest man in Africa is from Nigeria, despite the country having less sufficient resources - from energy to the internet - than, for example, South Africa?
The last time I travelled to London, I registered two companies there – that’s the kind of hunger we have!
What are your thoughts about Stephen’s advice? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in comments or on our Facebook page.