Tuesday, 27 March 2012

TEDxEuston - Kola Karim - Pushing entrepreneurial boundaries

Are great entrepreneurs born or made, is it nature or nurture? For Kola Karim - it is probably both. His unshakable believe in the power of entrepreneurial activities to liberate the continent is infectious. He brought his infectiousness to the TEDxEuston stage. From the energy sector to fast selling consumer goods, Kola continues to explore new opportunities to create economic opportunity in Africa – creating jobs, redefining and reimagining the continent.

Kola Karim is the Chief Executive of Shoreline Energy International. Shoreline Energy International is a leading energy holding company operating in Africa with a diversified portfolio of holdings in Construction, Oil and Gas, Power, Telecommunications, Engineering, and Manufacturing, and with a current valuation of over $120m. Shoreline has grown rapidly through strategic acquisitions in the Nigerian Infrastructure Sector. Key acquisitions include ABB Electrical Systems (Nigeria), Costain (West Africa), Schlumberger Testing and Production (Nigeria - 17%), Premier Paints Plc (Nigeria) and Alumaco Plc. His current portfolio consists of business in the construction, commodity trading, agro-allied products, oil and gas, engineering and power sectors. In addition to his role at Shoreline Energy International, Karim is the Chairman of Costain West Africa and serves as director in seven subsidiary companies, including Schlumberger Testing & Production Services Nigeria and Trans Amadi Facilities, and is Chairman of Nigerian Ropes. Karim has delivered opinion and position papers at international conferences and investment forums. Kola is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader 2008 honoree.

Watch his talk here. 

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A catwalk with a mission at TEDxEuston

At TEDxEuston 2011 we tried to do something different and unexpected. When Jose Hendo’s models started walking down the aisle there were looks of excitement and glee at the perfectly adorned ladies and gents but also a little uncertainty to how this would fit into a TEDx programme. Their questions were soon to be answered when Jose told the audience how everything they had seen on the models was made out of tree bark. Her Resonance Collection of environmentally conscious custom couture constructed entirely of organic materials. Her collection is designed with barkcloth made from the ficus natalensis tree. Historically the fabric of ancient Ugandan kings, barkcloth remains a valued wedding gift to brides and in-laws.

Award-winning designer José Hendo debut at London Fashion Week 2011. Her Resonance Collection is designed with barkcloth, a UNESCO-recognised process dating back to the 15th century. Historically the fabric of ancient Ugandan kings, it remains a valued wedding gift to brides and in-laws. Hendo's adheres to the mantra of the three Rs - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. 'Resonance' collection explores a new way of dressing and thinking about clothes. Without metal snap, plastic fastener or buttons the garments are completely biodegradable. Sculpted with architectural precision Hendo's wearable art may be worn in many ways and change with each wearing - and with each wearer - by ingenious pulley system hidden or aesthetically incorporated into the designs. Hendo was shortlisted for BEFFTA's Female Designer Of The Year Award. Her collections have been shown at London Fashion Week amongst many more. She was honoured to have presented her work to the Queen of Buganda Kingdom of Ugunda, her home country.

Watch the amazing performance here.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Femi Temowo at TEDxEuston - Back to my guitar roots

Speakers and performers at TEDxEuston are found in all sorts of ways. We debate and argue, some speakers are easy choices, some not so easy and some are found in the most pleasant of circumstances - like how we found Femi Tomowo! In mid-2011, a member of the TEDxEuston team, Paddy Anigbo had the privilege of spending his birthday with friends from his boarding school days at Federal Government College in Enugu, Nigeria; friends with whom he had shared the most exciting 5 years of his life. They chose the superb Hideaway in the heart of Streatham for their rendezvous. After settling down to the offering of Femi Temowo’s music, they were off their seats dancing away the night. They could not get enough of him and at that point decided that he had to be on the TEDxEuston stage! So when we started discussions in the TEDxEuston team, Paddy was so convinced that it took little to get the team to agree - we had to share his story and work with the TEDxEuston community. Femi came on board and not only told his story so well; he thrilled us with the beautiful music from his new album.

Femi Temowo is a guitarist ‘par excellence’. Born September 1976 in the city of Akure in Nigeria, Femi moved to London in 1986. He began playing the guitar at 17 and by 21 was already highly regarded on the jazz and popular music scene. Between 1998 and 2001 Femi studied jazz at Middlesex University under the great educator Stuart Hall (Loose Tubes). After graduating, he was approached by UK Jazz/Hip-Hop artist Soweto Kinch to join his then brand new quartet. The quartet went on to win many awards including a Mercury Music Prize nomination, BBC jazz award for best new group and several Mobo awards. Femi’s slick and melodic guitar sound has earned him a place beside many great musicians and artists from across many genres. His latest project sees him in a Trio/Quartet setting where he is currently expanding some of the ideas he started on his debut album but in a smaller group setting, experimenting with Nigerian folk sounds and jazz song form. The trio consists of Guitar, Bass and Drums and are sometimes joined by a vocalist.

Listen to his excellent talk here!!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Jerome Okolo at TEDxEuston 2011 - Not learning from history

Hans Rosling was 'just' a well respected Swedish professor - until TED put him its stage. Since then Hans Rosling has become world famous - the first of his 3 TED talks has been watched close to 4 million times. That is the power of TED in shaping the conversations on things that matter. TEDxEuston aims to do the same with issues that matter to Africans. When we invited Jerome Okolo to the TEDxEuston stage - many asked - Jerome who?. Well, we were soon to find out! Having brought the audience to exhilarating laughter as he took us through his immigration journey, we wondered where it would end. Well it ended where it started - the piece of land known between 1967 and 1970 as the "Republic of Biafra" in South Eastern Nigeria. But his was not a war story, but one about history and our obligation to learn from it in order to shape our future. Just after Jerome delivered his talk which left the audience deep in thought news filtered into the TEDxEuston community that Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu - the leader of the Biafran struggle had passed away. As Ikemba Nnewi is buried today in Nnewi, it is important to listen again to Jerome's talk to remember why an understanding of our history is so critically important in shaping the future. Share his talk - every Nigerian should watch it - we are aiming for 4 million views! 

Jerome Okolo’s life story provides a vivid and personal illustration of our tumultuous and rapidly changing epoch. He was born just as Nigeria’s Civil War was breaking out. His parent's journey took them from being penniless refugees, to privileged University of Nigeria staff – classical music, tennis, swimming – and then to facing the ire of the successive Military Administrations. Sent off to the far North of the country for his college education, he got caught up in the first outbreak of Islamic militant violence, when the Maitatsine sect attacked Nigerian Security forces, an attack that had to be repelled by the Nigerian army. He left Nigeria to study in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, just as that town was the flash-point of the ill-fated Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He traveled on to Ukraine for further studies, just as the world’s worst Nuclear disaster takes place at Chernobyl. Traversing East to West and back again, he witnessed the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. He was completing his dissertation in Moscow, when the August 1991 putsch against Gorbachev was launched in Moscow. Returning to Central Asia after completing his studies, he was again caught up in civil war, this time in Tajikistan, and escaped on the last Tu-134 out of Dushanbe. In 1993 Jerome was just re-launching his business career when another violent event, the siege of Parliament by Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1993, almost ruined everything.

Watch his amazing talk at TEDxEuston 2011 HERE.....and share it!