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“I will like to be remembered for the impact I made in the lives of children from underserved communities and how through the skills set they acquire from the Community Innovation Hub, they were able to rewrite their poverty story/history of their families”

For Esther growing up in Akoko, Ondo State was no excuse to dream small instead it challenged her to push beyond her limitations and at the same time create opportunities for underprivileged children to excel.

Read our inspiring interview with Esther Ajayi, co-founder of Community Innovation Hub, a Hub that equips children with 21st Century Skills.

Who is Esther, where do you come from how did you get to this point?

I was born in Akoko in the Northwest area of Ondo state, Nigeria. I grew up in Ondo State. I had no mentor(s) who believed in me or could point me in the right direction. When I moved to Lagos, I found out I was ignorant about so many things and had so much to learn. There was a lot of work to do personally and so I had to buckle down to build my capacity to catch up with some years I felt were wasted. 

This is the inspiration behind what I do. I set myself on a course to give children from underserved communities the privilege I never had by equipping them through the Community Innovation Hub. 


What advice or tips would you give your younger self? 

Thank you for this question, I am a mum of two now and sometimes I reflect on what advice I will give my children as they get older, so to my 15-year-old self, I will say this:

“Hey little Esther,

You can learn anything you set your mind to learn. Have a possibility and growth mindset. Find a mentor and find opportunities to volunteer because in volunteering you find who you truly are and those who you are called to help.”


How do you stay motivated and inspired?

I do not want other children to go through what I went through while growing up, that is my why, and I stay motivated by reading the success stories of those that have passed through my incubation


So, tell us more about the Community Innovation Hub?

The Community Innovation Hub solves the problem of educational gaps. With CIH, my team and I equip young people with 21st-century skills. Our unique selling point, aside from teaching the skills is that we provide children with mentorship and guidance on how to write scholarship applications and they also get registered for local and international competitions in the area of their skills. 


What’s been the most significant thing you’ve done to grow your business?

The most significant thing I have done to grow my business is to tell my business story, rightly.

What skills would you say are required in becoming a successful entrepreneur? 

  1.  Marketing- You must be able to sell your business anywhere and anytime.
  2.  Emotional intelligence- to relate with people, your network is your net worth.
  1. Critical thinking skills- it is a jungle out there, especially for entrepreneurs in Nigeria and so you need critical thinking skills to solve unique problems that arise. 

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

My biggest achievement is seeing children from the Innovation Hub winning scholarships abroad and winning local competitions.

What has your experience been like as one of the finalists to the program?

The feeling is something I am still basking in. I am excited to be among the finalists and most importantly, the learnings in the program are going to help me take my business to another level. It really feels great to be part of the 2022 Cohort.

What is your favourite quote or saying? 

“We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it” Barrack Obama

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