#LadyBossQuickFive: “Entrepreneurship should revolve around creating solutions first and not making money,” Omobolanle Banwo, Founder, The Feamale Designer Movement & Geneza Brands”

Image credit: Omobolanle Banwo

 

Omobolanle Banwo is a Brand Identity Designer & Design Advocate from Lagos, Nigeria. She helps brands tell compelling stories through creative designs. Much of her work is centred around helping small and medium businesses to create strong identities via good communication designs.

Omobolanle is the Founder of The Female Designer Movement – an initiative with a mission to train and equip women with graphics design skill-set; and thereby help increase the number of women in the African Technology ecosystem. She is also the Founder of Geneza Brands, a branding agency based in Lagos.

She was featured on BBC Pidgin in March 2018 at the Inaugural Edition of The Female Designer Movement. She has sat on panels at International Women’s Day events put together by organisations like Andela and Microsoft. She is listed on Wema Bank’s Alat.ng’s Women In Tech (Tech-Chicks). She has been featured on the Business Day’s CEO Magazine, Women of Rubies, Daughters of Africa, Vanguard Newspaper, The Nigerian Tribune and Channels Television where she talked about her design journey, her projects and the work she is doing to improve the design ecosystem in general.

She may be found online on Instagram @bolanle_banwo, where she occasionally shares her work and projects. She currently teaches design at the Geneza School of Design.

In this interview with Leading Ladies Africa, Omobolanle shares her inspiration behind becoming a female graphic designer and the birth of the Female Designer Movement, as well as how public speaking has helped her become a better speaker and teacher. Lean in!

1. What does Entrepreneurship mean to you?

Entrepreneurship, to me, is any endeavour one embarks on to create solutions. That’s the main goal. I think many people get the concept wrong because they’re only looking at the possible money they can make.  And that’s why some people cannot cope with the toughness associated with building something, because it isn’t easy to build something out of nothing. Therefore, I’d recommend that you focus on creating value and solving problems first. When you do that, the financial rewards will be achieved.

Image credit: Omobolanle Banwo

2. Tell us the inspiration behind establishing Geneza Brands & Geneza Trainings and TFDm.

I started the TFDm Initiative because of my experiences growing up. I didn’t have enough Female Graphic Designers to look up to despite the fact that I was truly passionate about design. So far, we have been able to train and empower more than 1600 women in Nigeria and Liberia. Our mission is simple: “to bridge the inequality of opportunity by helping these women acquire the useful skillset needed to get well-paid jobs in technology.” We make our trainings completely free so that more women can get the opportunity to pursue their passions in Design.

I established Geneza Brands because of my love for quality designs. I wanted to create an avenue where small and medium businesses can get high-quality branding and visual solutions without breaking the bank. We also work with established organisations as well.

Geneza School of Design, on the other hand, is a Graphic Design workshop that incorporates the teachings of design thinking principles with hands-on sessions to showcase how the principles are applied in the context of layout, typefaces and colour. I currently teach Design at the Geneza School of design.

Image credit: Omobolanle Banwo

3. What “Oh, Shit!” moments have you had since establishing your business and how have these mistakes shaped you to become better?

I used to hate public speaking. It was something I wasn’t really confident at doing. During my first free training for women, I stepped into the class and saw over 300 women eagerly waiting for me to teach. I almost ran out.  While it was overwhelming at first; however, I survived my first day. That experience shaped me into becoming a confident teacher and speaker, and I’m happy I had that experience.

4. If you could have a lunch date with one Lady Boss you admire – who would that be and what would you ask her?

I would love to have a lunch date with Paula Scher. I admire her a lot and would do anything just to meet her in person. Her works inspire me to do more. I would ask her one simple question “ What’s your creative process?”

Image credit: Omobolanle Banwo

5. Your top 3 book recommendations for entrepreneurs?

My top three book recommendations for female entrepreneurs are:

i. Work for Money, Design for Love: Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Starting and Running a Successful Design Business by David Airey.

ii. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman.

iii. Just my Type by Simon Garfield.

 

The Leading Ladies Lady Boss Quick 5 Series is a weekly interview series focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.

Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to lead@leadingladiesafrica.org and we just might feature her.

 

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