My dearest members and entrepreneurs of the FATE Alumni Community, It is with joy and gladness that I welcome you to what is turning out to be a dynamic 2024 of different sorts.

2023 was indeed a year for us and we experienced various facets of activities in the economy and across the country as a whole that greatly impacted our businesses. Yet, we remained resilient and steadfast and did not give up. I cannot but commend and celebrate your warrior spirits and determination to continue to progress despite the challenges encountered.


We have almost on a daily basis seen the alarming rise of foreign exchange (fx) rates impacting a lot of us (in)directly. We also are struggling with rising costs of doing businesses brought about by challenges including poor electricity, insecurity, poor logistics and staffing, unfavorable taxes, rising food costs and general daily increase in the cost of living. I do not the mental and emotional burden that exists among us as we try to weigh financial decisions to keep our businesses afloat. We trust in God to help us and give us the needed wisdom to thrive in these times. I strongly believe that things will get better if we hope for a better future.


Looking ahead, the landscape may still hold uncertainties, but remember, you are not alone. This community, your fellow alumni, stands beside you, united by shared experiences and a passion for building something meaningful.  As we progress in this new year, I am strongly encouraging you to pursue the following:


  1. Embrace continuous learning: The world of business is dynamic, and so must we be. Dedicate time to upskilling and staying informed about macroeconomic environment and your industry’s trends. Invest in workshops, online courses to keep your knowledge sharp and adapt to evolving demands. We already have a lot of resources through the and the elearning platform of FATE Foundation. Please explore the 2024 FATE program calendar to expand our knowledge and gain insights on how to navigate the times we are in and create a bit of stability in our businesses even in these uncertain times. You can also always deep dive into the FATE podcast series.


  1. Foster customer-centricity: Understand your customers better than ever before. You cannot afford to bleed customers at this time particularly paying and profitable customers. As you know, the saying, “customers are the lifeblood of your business”. Listen to their needs, analyze their preferences, and personalize your offerings accordingly. Building genuine relationships and exceeding expectations will foster loyalty and drive sustainable growth.


  1. Leverage technology effectively: It is now world of the digital economy and you need to embrace digital tools, explore automation possibilities, and invest in a strong online presence. Technology can streamline operations, reach new markets, and enhance customer engagement. Remember, it’s a tool, not a replacement for your unique entrepreneurial spirit and there are so many free ones available.


            4. Collaboration and Build strong networks: Collaborate with fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts, and potential partners. Seek valuable partnerships, explore strategic alliances, and tap into collective wisdom. Sharing resources, experiences, and ideas can unlock unforeseen opportunities. I have to commend some of the conversations and exchanges already going within the Alumni WhatsApp groups and hope we can build on this and more this year. Let us feel free to share our ideas, share our burdens, and make our communities safes spaces for us. Let us all unite to support ourselves and make the energy flow through all ends. We will be calling on new leadership for our sector groups this year and we do expect that some of you will take on this opportunity to serve at this critical time.


  1. Never lose sight of your “why”: Remember the passion that sparked your entrepreneurial journey. Let it continue to guide your decisions, fuel your perseverance, and inspire your vision for the future. As challenges arise, reconnect with your purpose and find renewed motivation to thrive.


Together, with resilience, adaptability, and a focus on these key areas, we will only sustain our businesses but also write a chapter of shared success for ourselves and for the future of Nigerian entrepreneurship. Let’s make this year one of even greater impact and collective growth.


In my first year as the President of the FATE Alumni ExCo, the ExCo in partnership with the FATE Foundation team delivered on the following with your support and commitment: Our 2023 Business outlook in February; our first Alumni President Breakfast meeting; Alumni Interstate meet up in Oyo and Ogun; ⁠Instagram live sessions to share business lessons from March to August; a mental health work in Ibadan and Abeokuta; and also our September 2023 Annual Alumni Conference.


Since the start of the new year, our ExCo has reflected on how we can better position ourselves to support our Alumni Community in these times. In this regard, I am strongly Soliciting Your Feedback as this year, we would like to see more engagement within the alumni community. We want you to help us identify and narrow down issues you would like us to engage in and also offer solutions on how we can be more effective. We want to continue to work with you better and do not want you to feel left out of our activities in the Alumni community. Please be on the lookout for alumni community WhatsApp polls from the end of this month. We commit to working with the FATE Foundation management to provide opportunities for growth including access to market and funding. At the bottom of this letter is also the email addresses of all members of the ExCo. We look forward to reading from you.


Finally, I am using this medium to remind you of the FATE Business Outlook happening on Saturday, February 17, 2024, at 9 am at the Launch Pad, Fate Foundation. We have invited Mr Kunle Elebute, former Chairman, KPMG as the Keynote Speaker along some of our esteemed members of the Alumni community including Ibrahim Salau, Joke Silva, Adeola Balogun and Princess Adeyinka. Attendance is free but registration is compulsory. Register here: Registration for the 2024 FATE Business Outlook. In consideration of members unavailable to join in person, we also have a virtual join in option.


Let’s be reminded that this community is for us all to strengthen ourselves and become better entrepreneurs together. Wishing you and your business a productive 2024.


With my very best wishes,

Toyin Bakare

President, FATE Foundation Alumni ExCo Community

(EEP 8 & EEP 28)