On May 27th, 2008, the first class of 10,000 Women scholarship recipients enrolled at the Pan-African University in Lagos, Nigeria. Among the scholarship recipients was Temituokpe Esisi, a young entrepreneur who started her own fashion design company, Tuopsy’s Enterprises. She now employs six people at her Lagos-based fashion design business.
After graduating from Obafemi Awolowo University in 2000 with a bachelor in law, she redirected her passion to business. “I believe entrepreneurship is the bane of sustained economic growth and based on this belief I resigned my position as a lawyer, researched available options based on my natural inclinations and talents, acquired the needed training and set up my own business. I currently own and manage a tailoring outfit and have done so since August 2005. Beyond setting up my business however, I desire to build a successful and enduring business dynasty that will expand to international markets and create job opportunities.”
Like her 10,000 Women peers, Esisi hopes to develop financial and leadership skills to enhance her business. “I ran this business for three years solely on passion and creativity, but I didn’t make any money. I was ready to throw the towel in.”
Over the course of four months, Esisi excelled in her coursework, and eventually completed a certificate course in entrepreneurial management. “The first couple of weeks in class I realized I had been doing everything wrong.”
Through an online mentoring program, Goldman Sachs employees throughout the firm are matched to work with groups of scholarship recipients. Chief Operating Officer for the Securities division of Goldman Sachs, Michelle Pinggera, mentored Esisi Temituokpe. Michelle reflects on it as one of the most fulfilling experiences of her career.
Leveraging the access Goldman Sachs is offering to business advisory services, and critical networking and mentoring opportunities, Temituokpe is paying it forward and intends to extend the benefits of the 10,000 Women Initiative beyond the classroom.