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Bayo Adelaja: Founder, Do It Now Now x Startups for Africa on starting her own business

Abadesi Osunsade

Bayo Adelaja is a culture and society scholar, who is passionate about the development of African communities. In her academic career, she recognised the pitfalls of donor aid and in response founded Do it Now Now on the premise of increasing trade opportunities for businesses in Africa. She has successfully brokered deals with a number of organisations the are similarly interested in the development of African startups. 

About DiNN x SFA - Africa needs entrepreneurship that works. We need entrepreneurs that will positively impact the development of Africa.  Do it Now Now is a powerhouse in the Africa/diaspora startup space. Having amassed a network of over 900 Africa-focused startup founders through their "Startups for Africa" initiative, DiNN is well placed to create opportunities for founders to learn, collaborate and grow together. The network connects seamlessly with the main offering of Do it Now Now which is its Africa and diaspora focused, donations based fundraising platform. By translating the crowdfunding model into the Africa space, in a way that moulds with the existing culture, Do it Now Now is helping create startups in Africa that will contribute to the long-term development of the continent.

Which quote do you look to when you need an extra push?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”
It is a Bible verse – Hebrews 12:1. When I need an extra push, I think of all the people that I never met, but opened doors for me to be the person I am today. I don’t want to let them down, and I don’t want to let myself down. The verse reminds me that there is something in this world that is determined for me to accomplish and I have to keep going until I get there, wherever there is.
Whose story inspires you to take action?
I am typically inspired by game-changers. I am inspired people who have achieved things that are so iconic and impactful that they change the face of the world as we know it. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech is one of the moments that inspire me. Not because of the words, though they are incredible, but because of the impact those words have had. His words encouraged ordinary people to reach for what was, at the time, an impossible dream. I often say that my passion is helping other people put their passion into action. He did that with his life and a snapshot of his impact is captured in that speech.
What's the last book you read that really connected with you?
Oh no. There are many books that are very important to me. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's definitely one of my favourite novels. Either that or Howard’s End by E.M Foster. I also love Passage to India by Foster, Woolf’s To the Lighthouse and Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje. Oh and Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. I’m sorry I can’t pick one.
I am currently reading “On the Suffering of the World” a collection of essays by Arthur Schopenhauer. I am really enjoying unpacking the essays. Figuring out what I agree and disagree with and then wondering why agree and disagree. For me, reading isn’t as much a form of entertainment as it is an opportunity for self-discovery.
What are you proudest of?
I am probably most impressed by my resilience. Running a business is difficult for anyone, by any standard. I like that my default mode is to keep going in the face of trials. That doesn’t mean I don’t get knocked back or stumble, it just means I have this resolve in me that I will finish the race that is set out before me. That attitude is definitely the thing I like most about myself.