Do it Now Now is a crowdfunding platform that has the social development of Africa at its core. Founded by Bayo Adelaja, a research assistant at the London School of Economics, Do it Now Now helps supports social entrepreneurs in their quest to make a positive impact across Africa.
Bayo also hosts frequent StartUps for Africa events on Google Campus, in the heart of London’s Silicon Roundabout. We caught up with Bayo to find out a bit more about the Do it Now Now journey and the importance of social entrepreneurship right now.
Where did the passion for entrepreneurship come from?
I love working at the LSE, the work is great and so are my colleagues but I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit within me. The only way I could do that was by stepping out of my comfort zone and saying this is who I am, who I want to be and I’m not going to let anyone talk me out of it.
I had been talked out of it in the past when a company that was trying to buy another start-up I had tried to steal my idea. At that point I wasn’t good at saying I needed help or a support network to guide me on the journey. I realised that most people don’t have that support. They also lack the skills, knowledge and connections.
I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if I could help people to bridge the gap between who they are and who they want to be?
What is Do It Now Now?
Do it Now Now is a crowdfunding platform with an incubator attached to it. We help people raise up to £10,000 ($12,000) from their friends, family and other interested parties. Do it Now Now helps businesses organise their campaigns, their perks and rewards, the marketing, the budget, everything. We work with the startup from A to Z, giving them all the support they need over the course of a year to help them build a healthy, scalable and sustainable business.We help people raise up to £10,000 from their friends, family and other interested parties Click To Tweet
My job at the LSE has helped a lot as. I saw that there was a gap between the amount of work that aid organisations can do and the amount of development needed on the continent. Social entrepreneurs and start-ups can be more flexible, quicker on the ground with more local knowledge of the community that they’re in.
That’s a huge advantage, and an opportunity for them to link up with other organisations in Africa who might be able to support them in one way or another. We also partner with incubators on the continent such as the Kumasi Hive, working with tech entrepreneurs in Ghana.
How does the fundraising process work?
You raise money with us and we help you grow. Then, we expect you to donate 20% of your gross income or £500 ($600), whichever amount it higher, to the charity that you chose at the beginning of your campaign. Do it Now Now collects commission that enables us to run the programme.
We also have Startups for Africa, the free version of the programme which brings together people who are interested in growing their businesses, fostering collaborations and getting a conversation started. We want to show people that it is possible to be a purposeful, conscious person and have a business that is not just about the money, but about people and causes; it’s a heart thing.
Money is great but being part of a community that cares about people and supports you is so much better.
How can social entrepreneurs be successful on the continent?
Do it Now Now is based on this principle: start now, plan now, do it now and do it well. Get on your feet and keep moving. So many of us have a good ideas that will change Africa but we spent too much time planning and researching. We’ve been relying on potential for years, if not decades.
I want people to see that it’s not difficult at all to be a purposeful business. Social entrepreneurship is a fantastic way to support Africa’s development and still support yourself financially. I’m not here to simply line my pockets and die rich, I’m here to help people and improve life on the continent.I want people to see that it’s not difficult at all to be a purposeful business Click To Tweet
If we have businesses that are strong, healthy and doing positive things it becomes good PR for Africa. Be passionate about your business, your people and the rest of the world will see it too. We need to recognise who we are, where we come from and build what’s needed —no one is going to do that for us. Africa is not a token, it’s not something you do on the side, you need to treat it with the respect that it deserves.
How do you balance a full time job and running Do it Now Now?
Well, I work about 80 hours a week: I wake up at 5am to build my business then go to work at 10am. Then I sleep and do it all over again, because I’m super passionate. Someone once told me ‘go the extra mile, because it’s usually empty’. If we just pivot the purpose of business we can make a truly sustainable and long-lasting impact.‘Go the extra mile, because it’s usually empty’ - how to make your mark Click To Tweet
How can a budding social entrepreneur get started?
Pick a problem and pick it wisely. It has to be something you’re passionate about, otherwise you’ll quit. You’ll quit quickly and you’ll leave people in the lurch. Pick something small and specific, then you can then blow it up and make it big. Always work with other people and look out for collaboration opportunities.
I go to as many meetings as possible because you never really know who you’ll meet. My favourite saying is; ‘you can’t see the holes in your own head’. You have no idea what the gaps are in your business because you’re too close to it, so you need others to step in and provide a different view.
Share your idea. I saw an SLA instagram post that said ideas alone aren’t worth very much. And while that may be controversial, it’s true. There are so many ideas you can have in a day, what counts is the implementation, your passion, your network, your influence and how you communicate.
Just make sure that you’re able to share the idea, because without people your ideas are nothing. Realise that you don’t have to fix every problem, you just have to start with one, and if it expands, fantastic.Without people your ideas are nothing. Here's how to build your social entrepreneurship business Click To Tweet
…And what do you do with what’s left of your free time?
My sisterhood! I love hanging out with my girlfriends, chatting, having a coffee and chilling but then I’m back to work.
There are also many things I want to do and grow in —hiking, learning French, Mandarin, Korean, reading. I also love music, someone once told me that I have 132 playlists on Spotify! Above all I love working, because I’m passionate about it. I simply do what I love.
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