For Business Owners in Ontario, Canada – What is a Digital Transformation Grant?

Digital Main Street (DMS) is a program focused on assisting small businesses with their adoption of technologies. The Digital Transformation Grant (DTG) program will provide funding for training, advisory support, and grants to brick-and-mortar small businesses looking increase their capacity through digital transformation.

The $2500 grant is administered by the Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA), and is not administered by Digital Main Street. Applications will continue to be accepted until October 31, 2021 (or until grant funds are exhausted).

Watch the video below and visit this website for more information:

Participant Requirements

A Digital Transformation Grant is open to any business that meets the following requirements:

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Join YSpace, York University and Richmond Hill Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC), for an Overview to Canadian Retail Landscape & Channel Strategy!

YSpace, York University

YSpace is York University’s innovation hub located in Markham, York Region. It is a Non-profit Organization.

YSPACE – “We partnered with Richmond Hill Economic Development on a #StarterCompanyPlus workshop for CPG & Food entrepreneurs. Join us on Tuesday, September 21st from 10am-12:30pm EST for an Overview to Canadian Retail Landscape and Channel Strategy!

This workshop will provide participants with a detailed overview of the Canadian (Packaged Goods) Retailer Landscape with a focus on key trends shaping the future. Participants will leave with an improved knowledge of the CPG Retail Structure in Canada (Channels and Customers), perspective on the Impact of Covid 19, a better understanding of Online Retail trends (CPG) and some guidance on Route to Market considerations for their business.”

Save your spot! REGISTER:


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#LeadershipMatters:  “PROGRESS WITHOUT TEARS” – Dr. M. I. OKPARA’s Address at the Convocation of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, on December 17th, 1962.

Address at the Convocation of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka by Dr. M.I. Okpara, Premier of Eastern Nigeria on December 17th, 1962


Since assuming the Premiership of Eastern Nigeria in December 1959, Dr Michael Iheonukara Okpara, 42, has devoted his whole attention and energy to economic development of his twelve-million-people territory. Building on the rocky foundation of political stability laid by his predecessor, Dr the Right Honourable Nnamdi Azikiwe, who is now Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Federation, Dr Okpara has adopted a statesmanlike attitude and religious zeal to what he considers to be the assignment of the present generation of his country —the economic emancipation of the people. 

In this speech, delivered at the Convocation at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, on 17th December 1962, Dr Okpara sets out in a nutshell the underlying principles of his economic policy which, he sincerely believes, could bring about in Nigeria rapid “Progress Without Tears.


The clearest single fact which has emerged since our Independence on the first of October 1960 is the disparity between our standard of living and that of the more advanced nations. We are all aware of the fact that considerable ground has yet to be covered in the social services, the public utilities and production. Nevertheless, the basic infrastructure has been laid. Even so are still a young and developing country. It has been reckoned that a per capita income of about £170 per annum is the dividing line between the developing nations and the advanced ones. Per capita income in Nigeria on an optimistic estimate is about £30 per annum.

When we remember that in America and Canada it is more than twenty times as high Nigeria, we can see how far removed our way of life must be from theirs. An important point to remember is that our per capita income is about one-sixth of the dividing line per capita income of £170 per year. In the pre-independence period, the importance of this fact was overshadowed by the great exigencies of the day: the winning of the national independence with honour and in peace and unity. This has been the experience of other emergent nations.

The fight for political autonomy has a way of commanding total attention from nation builders, but as soon as this fight is over, these nationalists begin, if they can make necessary mental, reorientation, to think about the economic welfare of the citizens. This re-orientation, then, is the first major re-thinking that must take place. It is not, however an easy change to make, for modes of thought dictated by decades of colonial tutelage are difficult to modify overnight. But there is another reason why it is difficult to make the change: political controversy is far more exciting than the complicated and painful problems of economic development. Up till today, there is not one national daily or weekly devoted to the problems of economic change. The stuff of politics is their sole daily material and fills every column.

A new mental attitude is vital to the rapid growth of the nation and must be stimulated by all people in a position to give leadership. I recall that while I was in India last year, I found out to my astonishment that the average citizen in the street knew basic contents of the Indian five-year development and his own contribution to it.  Many of them would tell you the number of engineers that would be produced and the increase in production in Industry and Agriculture. The contrast between this mental attitude and that of our own people is staggering.

Granted then that this change is possible and is indeed made,  we are confronted with the primary question of our generation: How can we pull level with more advanced nations in the shortest possible time while still retaining our freedom and happiness.

It is my intention to state as concisely as I can what I consider to be the additional effort over and above that envisaged in the Development Plan which this exercise must entail. There can be no doubt that the Six-Year Development Plan is a major step in the right direction.  It is indeed a source of satisfaction to all who took part in formulating it. Its priorities are unexceptionable —Agriculture, Industrialization and Technical Training.

The sections on the two major basic industries of the plan period– The Niger Dam and Iron and Steel Industries–are very satisfactory. Its aim to achieve a capital formation of 15 per cent. of Gross Domestic Product now estimated at £ 1,183.3 million would, if the calculations are correct and hopes realised lead to a growth rate of 4 per cent. for the economy.

Of course we all know that about 50 per cent of the funds required must come from outside Nigeria.  Without this most essential help, the rate of growth envisaged cannot possibly be generated.  This constitutes the first major danger to the plan.  India found out that outside assistance was not always forthcoming in the volume required, nor were recent word trade conditions favourable for earning much needed foreign currency so necessary for planned development.

It is unlikely that Nigeria’s experience would be different. Under such circumstances we would then have to fend for ourselves as best as we could, to the extent that outside assistance falls short of expectations.

Short of curtailing the size of the plan and therefore failing in achieving the all-important growth rate, we must save as a matter of life and death.  An attitude of laissez-faire will no longer do.  If the anticipated foreign capital does not materialize then compulsory savings for all Nigerians must be the order of the day. The next major problem is that of apathy to Agriculture.  It is not enough to specify the priorities in the plan, they must be also adhered to. More than that, the average citizen must show a new interest in this vital sector of the economy.

Modern Agriculture development is the foundation on which industrialization can be based.  It provides raw materials for industry; it is a good consumer of industrial goods like fertilizer and insecticides and power; it provides the food for the growing population; and it also earns, through export crops, the foreign currency so essential to sustained development.

These are self-evident facts, but totally ignored by many citizens especially the elite. How different the picture would be if every educated man had at least five-acre modern farm in the village to serve as a demonstration to the villagers.

There are many spectacular things we can do in this country that would not add to our progress, but rapid economic advance would be impossible if this major change did not take place. Our aim therefore must be that every square inch of land in Nigeria must be utilized for some productive purpose. 

It is perhaps in the field of Industrialization that the greatest vagueness enshrouds all national effort. Here I must say that the implications of the European Common Market are far reaching. Now that we have unanimously and rightly refused to be associate members, we must grapple with the implications without further delay.

For instance, I have never understood why Nigeria should export 41,947 tons of raw cotton in 1961 valued at £9.5 million while importing 177, 684, 000 square yards of textiles valued at £19 million. Why should we continue to import such heavy commodities as cement when limestone abounds in this country?

The only adequate answer to the European Common Market with the obnoxious tariff walls is our manufacturing most of what we import from them. With the best will in the world, this will take time. But a start must be made now by deliberately concentrating on those goods which can be easily manufactured here thereby saving foreign exchange.

I have already mentioned two, but I believe that it is possible to concentrate during this period of the plan on three specific fields covering food, clothing, and shelter. The industries associated with food are salt, sugar, beer, liquors, fisheries and fishing oil seed processing, milk production, etc.  The aim must be to all intents and practical purposes self sufficiency in food.  In clothing we must aim during the plan period at being self-sufficient in all textiles and footwear.

In housing we must aim at being completely self-sufficient in building materials such as cement, aluminum sheets, corrugated iron sheets, furniture, linen, mattresses, sanitary ware, crockery and other household goods like utensils. Unless these minimum targets are set industrialization will lack the direction that it so badly needs today. Nor will there any urgency on the part of private enterprise to establish factories here if it can equally import goods into Nigeria from the factories of Common Market, unless there is a danger to an established market or there is the possibility of quick and very attractive returns on investment. Of course, in trying to mitigate the undesirable effects of the European Common Market, it is customary to recommend a search for new markets. This is sound, but old markets are yet to be completely explored and costly and circuitous channels of trade eliminated. These old markets must therefore not be forgotten.

Thus, the exploration of new and old markets should add to new sources of income. Direct negotiations with the Common Market, which should incidentally proceed now, must never blind us to the only adequate long-term answer that Africa can muster— an African Common Market.

I have heard it said that such an arrangement will be ineffective since Africa produces primary commodities with little or no manufactured goods. But a start is being made already with cement, textiles, beer, ceramics, asbestos sheets, footwear, petroleum products, etc., in many parts of Africa. And others are assembling cars, trucks and bicycles.

There is therefore a basis for a market, not, of course, as developed as the market between Europe and Africa since the produce of one were complementary to the products of the other. In another sense, however, it will be possible for the primary producers of Africa to insist on better prices for their produce.

But perhaps the greatest practical value, apart from the psychological one of African Union, is that Africa’s growing industries will have, backing their output, a vast market of about 250,000, 000 people. This will no doubt be a great stimulus to industrial development and Nigeria should now address herself to the realization of this objective.

In all discussions on Rapid Economic Advance, one always comes up against the bottleneck of the lack of high-level manpower.  My views on the role of universities in the next ten years are conditioned by the fact that the problems facing us can in my belief be most rapidly solved by using the tools of modern science. Indeed, modern science is the main magic of Western civilisation.

If Nigeria were to concentrate on this specific field for a decade, broadening out again later, I believe that the Nation would achieve a major break through in terms of prosperity.  I cannot say honestly that the Nigerian Universities are doing anything of the kind.  It seems obvious to me that where funds are limited as they are in Nigeria, they must be reserved for the most essential sectors of the economy.

In Western Europe and North America they can of course afford to cover the whole gamut of human learning, but I am convinced in my own mind that in this country such a policy would have to await future prosperity.  I am aware that many people usually speak about balanced growth they wish to attack the idea of concentrating largely on science to solve the problem of under-development. But it is precisely to achieve balanced growth eventually that the new emphasis is necessary. At the moment, our educational system in this country pays little or no heed to scientific training. Indeed, many people will agree that if the number of lawyers trained by this country already were scientists and technologists, we would have made a more rapid progress. No one is recommending of course that all arts faculties should be closed. Many of these arts graduates would be required in the educational field and administration.

The point that must be emphasized is that a deliberate policy of over emphasizing science is necessary in all our universities. The longer such a policy is delayed, the later will be the dawn of economic starvation. It amounts to this: that the next one and the half decades in Nigeria must be regarded as a period of economic emergency by the Governments, the citizens, the Universities and all our friends abroad.

Some countries eager to liberate themselves from poverty as quickly as possible have selected the quick sure way of totalitarianism or total war, when enormous sacrifices are taken for granted and forced savings made by all; when all land is commandeered by the state for increased production and when political controversy is reduced to a minimum by the system of a one-party state or coalition Government, and when Universities and industries concentrate on science and technology.

It is said by some experts that under such a system investment can rise to 30 per cent/per annum of gross national product. This is the great temptation that is sweeping all over Africa today.  Is this the short cut to success? Its inherent danger is in the ease with which people under such a system, without adequate safeguards and checks, easily lose their freedom. If this danger can be overcome, then there is every reason to mobilize as in total war all resources of the nation in general assault on poverty.

How can this delicate operation be done?

First, there should be a review of the constitution which should make provision for a united front Government in which all shades of political opinion will be represented, for a period of not more than fifteen years.  I use the figure fifteen because I am assuming, as we all did in the development plan, that self-sustaining growth will be achieved after the third or fourth plans.

After this period the nation should then return to the luxury of partisan politics. Of course, adequate distribution of powers between the Legislature and the Executive and the Judiciary is an additional safeguard. Inherent in this crash programme is that all land must be mobilized immediately for modern agriculture, crops diversified, and modern implements, machines and fertilizers introduced. All universities must fall into line with this programme and concentrate on the essentials for rapid growth.

The plan also implies that Nigeria will be manufacturing practically all her needs from aeroplanes to pins by end of fifteen years, we all know the weaknesses of an ordinary coalition Government. In point of fact, I have always opposed the suggestion in the past as it was only designed to lessen political bickering and nothing else.

But a United-Front Government as a tool for rapid economic growth such as I have outlined is another matter and should be very closely studied by all. It is quite different from the controversial one-party Government.

The advantage of this approach is that we shall not only continue to develop within a framework of democratic government, but we shall develop rapidly within such a system. Such constitution could have written into it safeguards against totalitarianism, thus ensuring the complete return at the end of the emergency of our beloved partisan politics!

No one who has studied the rate of growth of the totalitarian countries can fail to be impressed by their totalitarian performance, but this is usually achieved at the cost of human suffering and the loss of a good deal of happiness, I have equally had a very close look at India.

This is one shining example where a deliberate effort is being made, as we are making, to develop within a framework of democratic government. Herein lies the great importance of the Indian Experiment.  But such development always relies on massive external aid.  Many people in Nigeria wonder whether we shall be so lucky  in attracting foreign aid in such massive amounts.

They may be right, since the dangers posed by communism next door to India do not exist here, and to that extent the West does not feel the urgency of the Nigerian problem.  But a temporary modification of the Indian experiment by us is possible and can be achieved, provided we are all agreed and determined to the cut the chains that bind Africa to poverty. 

The formula that I recommend may be summarized under six heads:

(a) Mass assault on poverty through greatly increased agricultural production and maximum use of land.

(b)   Rapid Industrialization with fixed targets.

(c)  Raising the battle cry for, and adequate emphasis on, science in all Nigerian Universities

(d)  The conscious projection of an African Common Market and other remedies to the ills of the European Common Market

(e)  The establishment of a United Front Government for a period of fifteen years after appropriate Constitutional Review.

(f)    The maintenance of the Nation’s stability.

It is assumed that we shall, of course, fully use the levers of the Central Bank and the National Economic Council to achieve the first, second, third and fourth objectives.

Perhaps the most controversial suggestion is that of a United-Front Government. This proposal is likely to be of the greatest interest to politicians who would be spared the bitterness of partisan political conflict for at least fifteen years. But I must remind them that this proposal must go along with massive effort in Agriculture, industrialization, science, the realization of an African Common Market and the maintenance of the nation’s security.  Indeed, the idea of a United-Front Government is the one proposal that is incapable of standing alone.

The effort required to put the whole programme across will be great, but its aim will be nothing other than an extension of the lofty aims of development plan — “sacrifices now……. for later prosperity”. It is my earnest hope that the implication of these suggestions will be fully considered by expert committees of the National Economic Council particularly on Agricultural Development, on Industrialization, on Fiscal and Monetary problems, on the contribution of universities and the remedies to the ills of the European Common Market.

Implicit in all my suggestions, of course, is the maintenance of the nation’s security and stability. Economic development is impossible without stability; no pains should therefore be spared in order to guard the nation’s name and stability jealously. I do not wish to dwell at length on our security.

I merely wish to point  to the fact that the recent experiences of India show clearly the need for adequate internal security forces to back a policy of non-alignment. In order not to cripple our economy with too large a security force we might take a leaf from Israel where the armed forces are not only for defence but also for production. Indeed, our battalions here are already famous for launching bailey bridges for the villagers. This idea could be extended in suitable cases to productive farming such as in some kibutsm.

I have said so many controversial things today that I ought to be winding up in order not to forfeit the seasonal Christmas greetings of so many of my friends.  But I offer no apologies for these views, which I honestly hold as the surest and quickest way to rapid Economic Prosperity in Africa without Tears. Ours is a democracy. I therefore do not expect everyone to agree with me that Agriculture is the key to our survival, but I should love any contrary argument to be carefully stated.

My views on Industrialization and fixed targets might not commend themselves to all, but I should love to see any alternative argument. I do not expect Universities to agree on the priorities of science in a developing country. No doubt they would come up with beautiful arguments why they should cover most fields of learning now, but they do not feel the urgency of the problem of immediate economic advance.

As they are likely to have the last word, a partial solution is for the Governments to restrict scholarships to Science, Agriculture, Engineering, Medicine, Veterinary Science and Education. I do not expect, either, that the idea of regarding the next fifteen years as a period of economic emergency will be popular, since this will involve yet, more sacrifices.

No doubt there will be warning voices and fears for our democratic way of life. Let me assure people that only rapid economic advance will safeguard democracy in this country.  And in any case, all such fears will be taken care of by the constitutional review which will spell-out all the checks and balances. I have no doubt in my mind, however, that in the absence of massive external aid, this is the only acceptable alternative to slow crawling growth.

But its implementation will require the highest forms of statesmanship and patriotism if the people are not to gamble away their freedom as in some one-party states.  In a nutshell we must all declare war on poverty and prosecute this war as in an emergency. But in all the campaigns of such a war we must remember that the purpose of the exercise is welfare and happiness of all citizens of Nigeria.

All births are painful processes. The emergence of Nigeria from centuries of under-development to an era of technology is a birth. But a midwife can, through guidance, make a birth less painful than usual. As the nation’s midwives, the leaders of the country, whether in Government, industry or the Universities, must, deliver the baby safely and on time, so that the citizens’ vigil may end with a happy reward.

#CelebratingWomenWhoDare: Olamide Olowe is the Youngest Black Woman to Raise $1 Million #SistersInc


These Gen Z founders just launched a skincare brand from their apartment—it sold out within days

Watch the video interview here:

Ahead of their company debut on Friday, August 7, Olamide Olowe and Claudia Teng were running on fumes.

They were hours away from the official launch of their new skincare brand, Topicals, which offers science-backed and clinically tested products for the one in four Americans who experience chronic skin conditions, such as eczema and hyperpigmentation. Their brand, which launched online and in select Nordstrom stores that day, has been years in the making and had to delay its 2020 debut twice.

The first time was in March, when the coronavirus pandemic swept the world and disrupted, among many other things, the Topicals supply chain. Then, just ahead of the brand’s rescheduled launch, came the powerful uprisings against racism and violence following the police killing of George Floyd in May.ADVERTISING

With each national reckoning Olowe, 23, and Teng, 24, have taken the change of plans to make their products and their business even better. Their growing momentum in recent months has led Topicals to secure $2.6 million in funding, the company says, from investors including Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John, entrepreneur and DJ Hannah Bronfman, and the Emmy-nominated leads of the HBO show “Insecure” Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji.

Despite recent setbacks, “we’re really launching at the perfect time,” Olowe tells CNBC Make It. “At this point, [it] feels like a dream.”

Here’s how the two Gen Z founders built their skincare brand despite surmounting challenges posed by the pandemic.

A company built on a change of plans

While Olowe began raising money to launch Topicals two years ago, the origins of the brand take root in her experience growing up with hyperpigmentation and post barbae folliculitis, a type of skin inflammation. Olowe, who is Black, recalls countless appointments with dermatologists who said they didn’t know how to treat her darker skin.

She found a common bond with Teng after meeting through a mutual friend last year. Teng, who is Asian American, also spent her childhood in and out of doctor’s offices seeking treatment for her severe eczema.

In high school, Teng worked as a dermatology clinical research assistant and witnessed the disparity in access to health care for people of color. There were instances, she says, that not a single Black patient was enrolled for clinical trials she worked on, meaning there was no representation to see how certain treatments would work on darker skin.

So, in the fall of 2019, the Olowe and Teng decided to forgo their plans to apply to medical school (they were both pre-med in college with dermatology careers in mind) and instead set out to build a skincare line that catered to people like themselves: individuals of varying skin tones and conditions who didn’t want to feel like treating their skin was a source of shame.

Rather than being relegated to pharmacy aisles or doctor’s offices, they wanted to create balms and salves that made treating their skin (in both a literal and figurative sense) an act of self-care, rather than a chore to “fix” their concerns.

“Everyone’s aspiration is to have clear skin,” Olowe says, noting that Teng’s product formulas do, in fact, help minimize the effects of certain conditions. However, on the whole, “we want to take the focus off of having perfect skin and put the onus on making treatment more fun. I’m going to live with this skin condition for my whole life — I don’t want to dread taking care of myself.”

They got to work, with Olowe in Los Angeles and Teng in Palo Alto, initially using FaceTime to do business long-distance. In 2020, the two moved into an L.A. apartment together. Their commitment to customers: “Funner flare-ups ahead.”

A new player in the $5.9 billion skincare market

The U.S. prestige beauty industry generated $18.8 billion in sales during 2019, according to the market research company NPD. Americans spent $5.9 billion on skincare alone last year.

But just like access to health care and dermatology, the beauty industry has its own problems serving people of varying skin tones and textures. Just three years ago, artist and entrepreneur Rihanna challenged the beauty industry’s standards when she launched her eponymous Fenty Beauty, complete with 40 shades of foundation that went well beyond the color range of competitors. Its impact in calling for more inclusivity in beauty has been dubbed the Fenty Effect, and companies in the years since have followed by expanding their makeup lines to cater to more people of color.

What Fenty did for cosmetics, Olowe and Teng want Topicals to do for skincare. Olowe already has start-up skills to draw from. While in college at UCLA, she co-founded beauty brand SheaGIRL, a younger sister line under SheaMoisture, alongside fellow student and former roommate Rechelle Dennis, the daughter of SheaMoisture founder Richelieu Dennis. The skincare brand was sold to Unilever as part of its Sundial Brands acquisition in 2017.

After graduating in 2018, Olowe began building Topicals. As CEO, she found a partner in Teng, who was working in clinical research at Stanford’s Department of Dermatology. Teng now serves as the Topicals chief product officer to develop and test formulas alongside a team of experts, including the head of pediatric dermatology at Stanford.

In order to cater to a customer base with varying skin tones, the founders are reexamining what are considered to be “gold standards” in the beauty industry. For example, Teng points to the use of ingredients like hydroquinone, a depigmenting agent used to lighten and “even” skin tones. However, this ingredient can be damaging to darker skin and has been linked to the permanent death of skin cells in some severe cases. Beyond the medical risk of prolonged or damaging hydroquinone exposure, Teng says that its use in skin-lightening products perpetuates harmful cultural ideals of beauty.

The Topicals founders also want to reshape what it looks and feels like to use products that treat chronic skin conditions. Don’t expect their branding to have an ultra-white, clinical aesthetic or frowning “before” pictures of people experiencing skin flare-ups. Instead, their first products are encased in bright, colorful packaging that reads more “boutique pop-up” than “dermatologist’s office.”

“The doctor’s office isn’t the only place that people with skin conditions live,” Teng explains. “Treatments don’t have to be focused on the medicinal all the time. People who have skin conditions are multifaceted and live in color.”

Topicals launched to the public with two products: “Like Butter,” a hydrating mask, and “Faded,”  a discoloration-treating gel serum, both of which retail for under $40.

The Topicals line sold out on within hours of its launch; on their own site, inventory was snatched up within days.

Third time’s the charm

Olowe wholeheartedly believes that “everything happens for a reason,” including the Topicals twice-delayed launch.

The extra time allowed the duo to ship their very first mass product — an interactive game called “Sun, Skin and Stars” that plays like a mashup between a horoscope reading and a quiz about your personal skin concerns. For every play, the brand donates $1 to Sad Girls Club, an online community that provides mental health services to girls who don’t have access to treatment. The game raised over $10,500 in donations.

A commitment to mental health access is fundamental to the skincare brand, Teng says: People with chronic skin conditions are two to six times more likely to experience anxiety or depression. With this in mind, Topicals donates 1% of profits to various mental health organizations. To prioritize their own mental wellness, both Olowe and Teng sought therapy as they began their business partnership.

After George Floyd’s death in May, Topicals and a collection of beauty brands teamed up with Therapy for Black Girls to help sponsor 150 memberships to their virtual group therapy community. As protests followed in the weeks after, Topicals posted an educational Twitter thread about how to handle skin irritation from tear gas, which was retweeted more than 900 times.

The pair knew, in building their community, how to respond to the current events and what was naturally on the minds of their audience, much like their own.

“We’re both women of color, so we immediately shifted our energy and resources as a company to supporting the movement,” Olowe says.

With all the changes, Olowe and Teng are comfortable moving at rapid speed, meeting the needs of their community at a moment’s notice, even while staring down a once-in-a-generation world event.

The uncertainty “gave us more time to build community and home in on what we wanted to do for customers,” Olowe says. “Now, our customers feel like they have a stake in brand. They built the brand with us.”

Read more here:

10 Habits of Happy People (SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN).

(Article Source:

Happiness is one of those things in life that we’re constantly on the lookout for. We strive to be happy people, but sometimes life can get in the way. Our daily stresses, our different environments and situations we may come across can all impact our ability to be happy. So how do we become a happy person, despite all of our obstacles? Here are 10 scientifically proven habits of happy people.

Apply for the BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program (It closes on August 13, 2021)



BMO, in collaboration with Deloitte, is pleased to present the BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program.

10 Women-Owned Businesses in Canada will each receive a $10,000 grant, and an additional 8 will receive a $2,500 grant for their business.
Sustainability is fundamental to BMO’s Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. In line with BMO’s commitment to direct capital to achieve positive sustainability impacts, applicants for the 2021 BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program will be evaluated for their contribution to social, environmental and/or economic sustainability outcomes. Applicants are asked to demonstrate how they are creating positive impacts, or minimizing negative impacts, for their customers, communities, employees and/or other stakeholders. Impacts can be generated through an organization’s policies, practices or products, where these advance sustainability objectives such as those of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Is my business eligible to apply?

To be eligible, you must be able to convey how your business is contributing to social, environmental and/or economic sustainability outcomes.

Applicants must also meet all eligibility criteria, including:

The Applicant:

  • is a resident of Canada, and
  • has reached the legal age of majority in their province or territory

The Business:

  • is at least 51% owned or controlled by women or by individual(s) who self-identify as women,
  • is headquartered in Canada with a minimum 50% of revenue tied to business sales done in Canada,
  • is currently active and operating in Canada,
  • is a for-profit business with annual revenues of $10 million CAD or less, and
  • has been in operation selling a product or service for a minimum of 2 years as of January 1, 2021

NOTE: Applicants who received a grant from the BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program in 2020 are not eligible to participate in the 2021 program. For full details on the BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program, please click here for the Official Terms and Conditions.

What information is needed to apply for a grant?

The application itself requires providing basic information about the business owner(s) and the business. Each applicant must answer a series of short questions about the sustainability impacts that have been incorporated into their business. Each applicant must also create a short video and include the URL with their application. (Additional Information for Video Submission)

For further information on the grant program and sustainability, watch our BMO Grant Program Education/Support Webinar below:

When can I apply?

Click here to apply: BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program

Applications are currently being accepted. The last day to submit an application is Friday, August 13, 2021 at 11:59 pm ET.

Once your application is completed, click “Submit Application” and your application will be forwarded to a secure data platform for consideration and review.

See the Official Terms and Conditions for full details about the 2021 Grant Program.

Key Dates:

  • July 26, 2021: Grant application portal is open for submissions
  • August 13, 2021: Grant application portal closes
  • Early September: Semi-finalists will be notified
  • Early October: Finalists will be notified
  • Late October: Grant Recipients will be notified
  • November 19, 2021: 18 Grant Recipients will be announced

ESDC: Apply to become a member of the External Reference Group – Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative.

News release

May 12, 2021              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

“Diversity, inclusion and belonging are a pivotal part of our Canadian identity, which is why our government has pledged to address systemic racism, including barriers faced by Black Canadians, and is taking concrete actions to do so. Today’s launch is another important step in the right direction. I look forward to working with the new members of the External Reference Group as we continue to build capacity for organizations serving Black communities across Canada.” – Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Culled from Employment and Social Development Canada

In Canada, diversity is our strength. That’s why the Government of Canada is building on progress under its Anti-Racism Strategy by demonstrating federal leadership, empowering Black communities, and building awareness and changing attitudes.

Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, launched a call for applications for the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative’s (SBCCI) newly created External Reference Group (ERG).

ERG members will support the Initiative’s work to help build capacity within communities by providing strategic advice, expertise and insight on the priorities of Black Canadians.

The group will include up to 15 members of African descent drawn from the not-for-profit, education, public and private sectors. In recognition of the diversity of Canada’s Black communities and to ensure a wide range of perspectives are brought to bear, members will reflect diverse ethno-cultural, gender, regional and linguistic backgrounds. The Government encourages Black Canadians aged 18 and older from across the country to apply, including women and youth. Members will serve two-year terms, with the possibility of extensions by one-year increments.

Apply to become a member of the External Reference Group – Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative

Interested individuals are encouraged to apply by May 27, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. PDT, by consulting

FLOW: Re-evaluating personal finances post Covid-19 pandemic.

Culled from: The Wall Street Journal and accessed on April 17, 2021.

“With 2020 in the rearview mirror, and the end of the pandemic (fingers crossed) in sight, there’s a lot of economic damage to be assessed. But there are also a lot of personal-finance lessons we can learn—lessons that will put us in good stead, whatever the economic future holds.

Lessons about the importance of emergency funds and having different income streams. Lessons about how this time really isn’t different (no matter how much it feels different). Lessons about how personal finance is truly personal. And much more.

These are some of the lessons we heard about when we asked financial advisors and others to reflect on the past year. It was a year, no doubt, that many people would prefer to forget. But before we try to wipe those memories clean, here are some of the things that investors, savers and spenders would do well to remember.”


Prime Minister of Canada Announces Support for Black Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

Every day, Black business owners and entrepreneurs make invaluable contributions to communities across the country, and their success is essential to Canada’s economic recovery and future prosperity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated existing systemic barriers faced by Black entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized business owners in Canada. While we have made progress in advancing equitable access to support and opportunities, much more needs to be done to better help Black business owners and entrepreneurs, and address anti-Black racism.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced investments of up to nearly $221 million in partnership with Canadian financial institutions – including up to nearly $93 million from the Government of Canada over the next four years – to launch Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program. This program will help thousands of Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country recover from this crisis and grow their businesses.

The program will include:

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Clean Technology Hub presents: “NWANYỊ BÙ ÍFÉ” Campaign – Celebrating Unsung, Innovative and Phenomenal Igbo Women


Image8th of March is globally known as the International Women’s Day (IWD); a day designated to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women – past and present. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights as well as a day for a global call to action demanding gender parity in the role of women in the society. 

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#NwanyiBuIfe #EducateAGirl: Improving Access to Affordable, Equitable & Quality Education (STEM) for Girls, in South Eastern Nigeria.

Globally, new possibilities are being explored to expand the education ecosystem, especially in developing countries, through the use of Technology (Edu-Tech). The interconnectivity of the Internet makes online learning and collaboration seamless and has ushered a new phase of innovations.

New models and apps are being developed to solve local and global problems, and create new value chains. Global Digitalization means that access to data, information, and communication channels are easier, faster, more efficient and effective.

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#LeadershipMatters: Embracing the Gift and Power of Forgiveness

Reflections on a nation that is traumatized, fractured, and in dire need of collective healing and forgiveness.


“To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes

Sometimes, people hurt, malign, disappoint us in unconscionably vile, crippling and painful ways. It may be through their words, silence, attitudes, actions, or inactions. And it is often worse when these acts of commission or omission are done by loved ones, those closest to us, and with the greatest powers to inflict the deepest cuts.

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Apply before July 1, 2019: “MIT – SOLVE’s 2019 Global Challenges”

“How can citizens and communities create and improve social inclusion and shared prosperity?”

“How can all children under five develop the critical learning and cognitive skills they need to reach their full potential?”

“Do you have solutions that use innovative technology to improve the quality of life for women and girls?”

These are some of the crowdsourced Solve’s 2019 Global Challenges and they are open for solutions by July 1, 2019. Over $1.5 million in funding is available.  

Visit the website for more details: 2019 SOLVE GLOBAL CHALLENGE

Make the leap and APPLY HERE. Good luck and all the very best to all participants!


Watch some highlights below, from last year – “SOLVE at MIT 2018: The Next Solve Global Challenges”

#Poetry4ChangeAfrica | “Development Is” – By Dike Chukwumerije

“No culture is older than being human; this is the truth, and until we accept it, our nation will struggle on its broken feet. For the same things can bind us that drive us apart. For the wall and the bridge are both in the heart.”
– Dike Chukwumerije

Parts I & II

#FixPublicSchools #EducateAGirl #EducateABoy | History of Education in Nigeria by AfricLearn

To address the gaps in Education and radically reform public schools in Nigeria, it is necessary to study the historical development, the previous and current structure, management, operations, regulatory frameworks, funding models, results, vision, philosophy, and their evolution over the years

“A man who does not know where the rain began to beat him, cannot say where he dried his body.” Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe [Chinụa Achebe]


Source: AfricLearn [“The number one resource platform for all types of digital education textbooks, general books and a provider of scalable and effective education solutions for learning institutions”].


“AfricLearn is a cloud based e-book and digital learning management system solution driven by a vibrant and innovative company which applies cutting edge technology to, e-book content distribution, schools and other education settings. AfricLearn is underpinned by a flexible digital technology which enables e-books and contents to be easily aligned with the requirements of individual readers, teaching establishments and various curriculums.

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#iSERVE2050 #LeadershipMatters | The phenomenal mindset of Africa’s future leaders | Nkosana Mafico | TEDxUQ

Nairobi, Kenya, 2020: The Next Einstein Forum | Here’s a recap of the last edition in Kigali, Rwanda

The third edition of The Next Einstein Forum will be held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2020. Here’s a recap of the last edition held in the lovely, clean and green city of Kigali, in Rwanda. This blog post below, was culled from the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation website on January 15, 2019. It was written by Regina Mennig and originally published in April 2018.

The spirit of the Next Einstein Forum

In Kigali, the Next Einstein Forum initiative recently hosted the largest science conference in Africa to date. What does this conference mean to African scientists?

The Special Spirit of the Next Einstein Forum

In Kigali, the Next Einstein Forum initiative recently hosted the largest science conference in Africa to date. What does this conference mean to African scientists?

In Rwanda, in late March 2018, the air was shimmering with heat underneath the cupola of the Convention Centre. Here, Africa’s brightest minds came together to discuss the latest in research, share ideas, and exchange business cards.

About 1,500 people attended the global science conference of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF), including astrophysicists from Ethiopia, biologists from Zimbabwe, and nanotech researchers from Niger, while Nobel prize winners, publishers of leading scientific journals, and presidents of global research institutions mixed with the crowd. At the heart of the conference were the NEF Fellows, a group of outstanding young African scientists who received funding for their research projects…


What sets the largest pan-African science conference to date apart from other conferences around the globe? Maybe that a panel discussion about the gender gap in science and technology was opened with a poem? It was recited by Juliet Kego, an engineer, poet, and activist for the cause of encouraging women to enter STEM professions. “Today I will not bow,” the anaphora of her poem, resonated with the audience in the packed Gasabo plenary hall at the Convention Centre. And when she began to sing Amazing Grace, everyone stood up to join her in singing, and swaying along.

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#Nwanyibuife #CelebratingWomenWhoDARE | The 2018 AWP Network Power List is Here!

Farida Nabourema

#CelebratingWomenWhoDARE! A huge thank you to African Women Power [AWP Network], for celebrating and recognizing forty (40) phenomenal African women with powerful, inspiring, and influential voices. Kudos to all the phenomenal women who were honoured.

And a special salute to honour the resilience, beauty, enterprise, strength and courage of millions of African women across the continent and globe. We celebrate the unsung, and those in under-served and rural communities, who do so much, with so little, to make our society more just, equitable, safe and prosperous for all. And they do it all, with grace and grit, in the face of near impossible odds and barriers. #CelebratingWomenWhoDARE!

Congratulations to one of ours, -Whole WoMan Network’s co-founder, Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, for making the list.

To see the rest of the women honoured, click the link below:

The 2018 AWP Network Power List

[Culled from African Women Power; on January 3, 2018]


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#Nwanyibuife #EducateAGirl: Investing in Girl-Child Education (STEM), in Nigeria.

Globally, new possibilities are being explored to expand the education ecosystem, especially in developing countries, through the use of Technology (Edu-Tech). The inter-connectivity of the Internet makes online learning and collaboration seamless, and this has ushered a new phase of innovations.

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#PostcardsFromALAIGBO: Congratulations to our contest winners!

As we wrap up the year, once again we wish to celebrate the inaugural winners of 

  • Iheanyi Igboko;  – His entry was about the Monthly Distinguished Speaker Series – Nkata Umu Ibe by Centre For Memories, Enugu, Nigeria
  • Nenye Nwobu;  – Her entry was about her experiences at the stage play “August Meeting”, produced by Raconteur Productions. The play chronicles the lives of the famous Oloko women, after they returned home, following the “Aba Women War.”

Both pieces will be featured on subsequent posts on our blog.

Some of our prizes include best-selling books, cash, and amazing event tickets etc.












iSERVE2050: Are You Ready, Able and Willing to SERVE?

Leadership ◙ Advocacy ◙ Sustainable Communities ◙ Volunteerism

“Every generation must recognize and embrace the task it is peculiarly designed by history and by providence to perform.”

– Chinua Achebe

[There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra, 2012].

iSERVE2050  →  iGWEBUIKE! South East Renaissance Volunteer Experience

iserve logo (2) (2) (1) (1)

Re·​nais·​sance|\ˌre-nə-ˈsän(t)s; a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity – [REBIRTHREVIVAL, AWAKENING, RENEWAL]


Building an African Success Story!

An integrated, borderless ALAIGBO that is advanced economically, technologically, educationally, and fair to all, irrespective of gender, disability, economic and social strata; retaining and attracting outstanding NDI-IGBO and citizens from Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.


Empowering ONE Million Youth as SERVANT-LEADERS to TRANSFORM ALA-IGBO, one sustainable community at a time (A Nation of Leaders).


“The trouble with Nigeria is simply a failure of leadership…The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.” – Chinua Achebe

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#PostcardsFromAlaigbo | #NkataUmuIbe: Jide Ofo -Politics of Conscience & Ideology by Dike Chukwumerije

“No culture is older than being human; this is the truth, and until we accept it, our nation will struggle on its broken feet. For the same things can bind us that drive us apart. For the wall and the bridge are both in the heart.”
– Dike Chukwumerije


The following piece, “The Days of Small Beginnings”, written by Dike Chukwumerije, was culled from Africa Travel News -ATQ


In January 2016, on my way to Nnewi, I stopped to see the Radio Nigeria South East Zonal Director in Enugu. Ken Ike Okere had an idea, to replicate the sort of literary society he had helped nurture in Abuja, and wanted to know if I was game.

And so began a love affair with the Coal City, flying in to attend the monthly Enugu Literary Society meetings, till the whirlwind of MADE IN NIGERIA struck. And, still, Enugu was my 2nd stop. I tell you. Not till Maiduguri, a year later, did I find an audience as embracing as the one I found in 042.

So, in 2017, when I bumped into Patrick Okigbo III in Abuja, and he told me about this thing he was doing in Enugu – this Centre for Memories, conjuring images of ghostly figures striding out of the harmattan mist on a cold December morning – I told him, if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.

And he did – after he’d run a rousing campaign for Osita Chidoka in Anambra, and Nnanna Ude had called to ask me to speak for 10 minutes at the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, and he and Nnanna Ude had started a Guest Speaker Series, ‘Nkata Umu Ibe’, in Enugu – after all this, Patrick Okigbo III called to know if I would be their 4th ‘distinguished speaker’.

Me? True. This is not an easy path to follow, you know? After Professor Okey Ndibe, and Professor Chidi Odinkalu, and Dr. Okey Ikechukwu, and knowing Chief John Nnia Nwodo would be 5th, me?? So, I went first – as every child in troubled times is guided by our culture – to my mother’s hut. And she put a few words in my mouth and said, Speak from the heart.

And then I went to Enugu. To Enugu Sports Club, to be exact, where the history etched into the timber columns and the high ceilings had me staring. You see? Ben Etiaba, Chairman of the Club, gave me the tour himself. Stopping on the way to introduce Stan Okoronkwo, ex-Enugu Rangers from the legendary ‘70s squad, and Professor and Professor Okoronkwo, the pleasant parents of Ndidi Nwuneli. And I thought again – me??

Because there to listen, in a hall quickly filling up, was Dr Joe Nworgu, former Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. To his far right was an old friend of my mother’s, and former FRCN boss, Chief Kelvin Ejiofor. And to his immediate left was an old friend of my father’s, and former DG of the National Orientation Agency, Professor Elo Amucheazi.

You see? I am as I am. The jeans I feel most comfortable in, and the shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbows. I am often awkward in Nigerian social circles because I am not great at protocol and so can offend without meaning to. You understand? But Professor Amucheazi sat me close, even before the lecture, and said, ‘I am very proud of you’. And this is the confidence Love gives – to validate first.

So, I went to the lectern, where the speaker stands alone. From there I saw the amazing Igbo poet, Amarachi Atama, who had come from the screening of her latest documentary, ‘Biafuru’ to be present. Further back, Osinayah Prince Agu, who I knew had come all the way from Aba.

From there, I remembered the warnings of Nnanna Udeh and Patrick Okigbo III, to expect an expectant crowd, for the hall had erupted in spontaneous applause when they were told I was coming, how Nnanna then laughed at the look on my face and added, ‘No pressure!’ And so, I gripped the lectern with two hands, took a deep breath – thought of my mother and the grey that charges like smouldering fire through her hair – and began to speak.

“We must, even in the face of excessive provocation, maintain our demand for a more meritocratic society where people are judged not by their tribe or religion but by their competence and ability. Because it is only this that can release the potential of this nation and all of its constituent parts.

That is why Meritocracy is an Ideal worth fighting for. That is why it is an Ideal worth dying for. That is why we cannot give up on it simply because of the odds stacked against it, or because other people are acting differently and succeeding thereby. No. It is in times like these, in the face of frustration and overwhelming resistance, that we must remember proverbs like ‘mberede ka e ji a ma dike’.

Because if apartheid could end in South Africa, if segregation could end in America, then meritocracy is possible in Nigeria. But in the pursuit of that Ideal there will be many days when we will be tempted to give up on our innermost convictions and give in to what is most convenient.

It is on those days that we must remember the weight and import of that hallowed command, ‘Jide Ofo!’ For if we do, if we hold on to our Ideals and refuse to let go no matter what this world does to us, then there is, and will always be, hope for the better parts of our collective humanity.”

This is what I said. And Professor Elo Amucheazi rose to his feet. And Ben Etiaba brought out a fresh bottle of Hennessy, tipped a little to the concrete floor, and said, ‘You have done me great honour’. It is true, I tell you, that there is never a time the truth should not be spoken. But, know this too, every truth has its time to be heard.

So, if your heart stirs consistently in a certain direction, rugged and rough, persevere in what it asks you to say. For, my brother, you can never tell by looking at the turbulence around you in which Times you live. True. This is what we mean when we say, ‘Jide Ofo’. It is how to walk through the darkness…

042. I thank you for the love.

Nkata Umu Ibe – the Monthly distinguished Guest Speaker Series of the Centre for Memories – holds on the First Fridays of every month at Enugu Sports Club, Enugu.

Enugu Literary Society holds its meeting on the 2nd Saturday of every month at Radio House, Enugu.

For did you not know? There is no tsunami that does not begin with a wave.

By Dike Chukwumerije



About the Centre for Memories, Enugu | @cfmemories

The Center for Memories is a repository of the history & culture of Ndigbo, informing and empowering leaders to serve with excellence and integrity, with a vision to be the leading hub for Igbo history, culture, and excellence.

#Poetry4ChangeAfrica: Once Upon A Time (A Poem) by Gabriel Okara


Once upon a time, son,
they used to laugh with their hearts
and laugh with their eyes:
but now they only laugh with their teeth,
while their ice-block-cold eyes
search behind my shadow.

There was a time indeed
they used to shake hands with their hearts:
but that’s gone, son.
Now they shake hands without hearts
while their left hands search
my empty pockets.

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“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller


  • EKCEP (EnvironFocus Knowledge and Culture Exchange Program) –is an avenue for teachers in developed countries (Canada) and in developing countries in Africa, to work together in solving sustainability issues, thereby fostering innovation among children.

  • EKCEP aims to solve the following questions:

    I. How do we raise children that will solve the sustainability problems of the present and the future?

    II. How do we transfer knowledge that is unbiased?

    III. How do we create solutions that are trans-boundary and take cultures into consideration?

    IV. How do we ensure that single stories are not told?

  • WAAW FOUNDATIONWorking to Advance African Women and Girls in STEM Education

  • PAS PRIZE, Nigeria – an Educational Reward Program produced by “Developing Talents in Our Society Initiative” for recognizing and rewarding Educational achievements of outstanding secondary school students in Nigeria.

  • PRAXIS HANGOUT –is a quarterly gathering of creative people in Nigeria, where they interact with their fans and fellow lovers of the arts. We bring artists from across board: painters, writers, performance poets, actors, musicians, film-makers etc.

  • HAGI – Hope for African Girls Initiative; through community service projects, HAGI empowers African girls on leadership and personal independence, by enlightening them on their possibilities as stakeholders in a democratic environment, rather than its victims.

Postcards From Africa | Fundamentals of Human Dignity by Pius Adesanmi


An old post by Pius Adesanmi, I posted it a few years ago and based on recent events in Nigeria, I think it’s worth re-posting again. All the salient issues he raised then are still very relevant today. Enjoy!

[Culled from his Facebook Page on December 16, 2013, and re-posted here]

Fundamentals of Human Dignity. A multilevel compulsory subject to be taught from Primary One to Primary Six, from JSS One to SSS Three, from One Hundred Level to Four Hundred Level.

APC Ogas if you are interested in building this into your vision, call me. You have my number. I wanted folks to know that I suggested this to you so we don’t turn it into behind-the-scenes backpatting talks (brilliant idea, Prof, we shall do it and it is not done); so that you don’t say that nobody drew your attention to the matter.

Click Here to Read More

#POETRY4Change – Hadraawi: Celebrating the great Somali Poet by KHAINGA O’OKWEMBA

Maya Angelou Poetry for Change

[This article was written by KHAINGA O’OKWEMBA and is culled from]

Legend has it that in early 1970s, renowned Somali female singer Magool gave a concert in Khartoum, Sudan. Magool returned home leaving behind an enchanted man: a Sudanese man had fallen in love with the Somali nightingale! But she was gone.

The man decided to write her a love letter which he then posted. Unable to read this letter because it was written in Arabic, Magool sought the help of Hadraawi, the celebrated Somali poet, who spoke the language.

The letter was presumably written in red ink, but as Hadraawi read it he discovered that the love-stricken man had used blood drawn from his veins which he had put into a fountain pen and poured his heart out! Hadraawi, the great poet that he is, had his imagination soaring. To come to terms with what he’d just encountered, Hadraawi wrote the famous poem, Has Love Ever Been Written in Blood.

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#NwanyiBuIfe #WWNAdvocacy #ShatteringTheSilence |#MeToo by Eketi Edima Ette

I’m angry.

I heard the story of a certain school in Lagos taking the side of a teacher against a three-year old girl’s accusation of sexual impropriety. When I read that headline, I felt a heavy ball drop in my stomach; a potpourri of pain, incandescent rage, and horror. I have been there. I was three too.

At first, I didn’t want to write this but I’ll do it for her. I’ll do it because when it comes to toddlers and older children, in the face of evidence properly collected, many people still believe they have no memories of traumatic experiences, and are prone to telling tales.

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#Poetry4ChangeAfrica: Poem -“Elegy for a Nation” by Wole Soyinka (for the late Chinua Achebe at 70)

Elegy for a Nation

Ah, Chinua, are you grapevine wired?
It sings: our nation is not dead, not clinically
Yet. Now this may come as a surprise to you,
It was to me. I thought the form I spied
Beneath the frosted glass of a fifty-carat catafalque
Was the face of our own dear land — ‘own,’ ‘dear,’
Voluntary patriotese, you’ll note — we try to please.
An anthem’s sentiment upholds the myth.

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F.L.O.W: Financial Literacy for Women, -an initiative of Whole WoMan Network


“Money has some rules attached to it. And if you follow the rules, you’re going to have more stability in your life than if you don’t follow the rules.

Doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman.

The rules are the same: You need to have a plan for how you use your money, you need to have a healthy credit identity, you need to have emergency money and some insurance.

I think it’s really important that we come to realize that life is about balance, or even more so, how to integrate all aspects into a fulfilling and enriching experience. It is not zero-sum; life is not all or nothing.

It’s not spending every waking moment thinking about money or spending no time thinking about money, Managing money isn’t really that hard.

It requires some discipline and there is some detail involved, but in reality it doesn’t take that much time and the payback is huge.” ~Gail Vaz-Oxlade

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#PostcardsFromAfrica: “Progress Without Tears” By M.I. Okpara

In this edition of Postcards From Africa, we’ve decided to go back in time and revisit the wise words of some of our past national founders and builders. Sometimes, the answers for the present and future light we seek, may be buried in the shadows of our unexplored past.

I’d like to advocate that Michael Okpara’s philosophy and leadership principles be taught at schools in Nigeria and in fact made compulsory learning for all politicians, especially those of South Eastern origin. To think he was only 42 when he delivered this address! (Warning: It is a long read and yet so insightful, definitely worth every minute).

Click Here to Read More

2018: WWN™ Financial Literacy & Leadership Training Program For Women

flowlogo_financiall4w_dec13Join us from January 15th, 2015, for a series of upcoming Experiential Financial Literacy and Leadership Trainings, Workshops, Webinars and Audio Podcasts.

Watch this space for more details.

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“Edikang Ikong, Time and Timelines” – by Eketi Edima Ette

As the year draws to an end, WWN Guest blogger, Eketi Edima Ette, serves us a delicious piece on the wisdom to “give time, time”. It is as hilarious as it is insightful. In her words; “Allow life and time cook you at your own pace, adding maturity, wisdom, self-control, discipline, and success at the right moments. Trust me, at the end, you’ll come out tasting delicious.”

From all of us at WWN, here’s wishing you a happy, fulfilling and adventurous New Year!

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The Bridesmaid Series by Eketi Edima Ette [Part II]

PART 2 [The first part of “The Bridesmaid Series” by Eketi Edima Ette [Part I]]

Did I stop picking money? Nope. Another friend asked me to pick up her sprayed cash.

“Tell everyone that I’m the one packing money o,” I said, pulling my ear for emphasis. “Tell your husband and his people.”

I told her about what happened at Wedding 3.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ve informed everyone. It’s just you and Esther who’ll pack my money.”

Okay. Everyone had been told. What could go wrong?

At the reception, the dancing began. Esther and I went to work. Then…. ghen ghen….

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The Bridesmaid Series by Eketi Edima Ette [Part I]


I used to be a professional bridesmaid, until the series of events I’m about to tell you, led to my retirement.

I first began to think of retiring after Wedding 1. I arrived the town in which the wedding was taking place, and discovered that the bride had arranged for just one room for eight bridesmaids in a rundown hotel. The room she’d gotten was filthy; the floor was thickly coated with dust. Two used condoms lay on the floor and on the bed, were old, stained beddings.

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#EducateAGirl #EAGNigeria #MyEAGExperience by EAG Scholar, Dorothy

One day I was browsing through twitter and I saw an advertisement targeted at girls between the ages of 18-24 years, who were interested in a 4-day Journalism & Leadership training to be held in LAGOS.

According to the organizers, there would be free transportation (from anywhere in Nigeria, to and fro) free accommodation and feeding. And I thought, Ah ah, just like that? In Lagos? 

I was skeptical about applying, but I still went ahead and did so. I was selected a week after. Excited, I packed my bags and left for Lagos like I knew where I was headed. The training was scheduled to hold at Virgin Rose Resort, Victoria Island. That was about all I knew.

#WWNetworkAfrica™ #Inspiration A Ruby Dee Family Poem that inspires Lynn Whitfield


[Culled From Oprah’s Masterclass}

“Today is ours, let’s live it.
And love is strong, let’s give it.
A song can help, let’s sing it.
And peace is dear, let’s bring it.
The past is gone, don’t rue it.
Our work is here, let’s do it.
The world is wrong, let’s right it.
The battle is hard, let’s fight it.
The road is rough, let’s clear it.
The future vast, don’t fear it.
Is faith asleep? Let’s wake it.
Because today is ours, let’s take it.”

(c) Ozzie Davis and Ruby Dee Family

#WWNAdvocacy #LeadershipMatters #PostcardsFromAfrica| Richard Ezekiel, a Deaf Nigerian Citizen, Writes a Thought-Provoking Letter to President Muhammadu Buhari


I got to know about the creativity, resilience and positive attitude of this remarkable young man, Mr. Richard Ezekiel, when he approached my Management Team, Olive Media Network, for permission to perform a choreographed dance piece titled; ‘DEFIANCE’, (an adaptation based on one of my poems), at #BAIDDF – the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival in California. His production company -Magic Finger Entertainment was the only Nigerian/African group invited to perform at the event.

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#LeadershipMatters “Restructuring Nigeria; Not When, But How.” By Mr. Oseloka Obaze

Restructuring Nigeria; Not When, But How By Mr Oseloka Obaze

“Because Nigeria is so politically polarized, rallying the nation to a consensus on restructuring is fraught with difficulties. Yet two points must be made emphatically. Nigerians must accept that the phobia against restructuring is misplaced, more so when linked with a breakup. Secondly, restructuring need not be a one-off or a this-day event.”

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“A New Dream of Politics” by Award-winning writer, Ben Okri -OBE FRSL

The following poem by Ben Okri is shared Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd. See original post here:



They say there is only one way for politics.
That it looks with hard eyes at the hard world
And shapes it with a ruler’s edge,
Measuring what is possible against
Acclaim, support, and votes.

They say there is only one way to dream
For the people, to give them not what they need
But food for their fears.
We measure the deeds of politicians
By their time in power.

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#LeadershipMatters #PostcardsFromAfrica The Bridge Builder: Structuralist Vs Essentialist by Osita Chidoka

[This article below, written by Mr. Osita Chidoka, was initially published on “Scan News Nigeria” on February 23, 2016. It was accessed and reposted on WWN platform on May 24th, 2017, with permission from the author].

“The post-civil war generation should not inherit the prejudices of a failed past but build new coalitions that can re – negotiate the structure and, more importantly, the essence of the Nigerian state.” ~OSITA CHIDOKA

My debut column elicited a lot of comments on social media. I appreciate the comments, feedback and concerns. Going through the comments, I can discern two strong schools of thought. The first, for purposes of identification I refer to as the Structuralists and the second, the Essentialists. I got the terms from my interaction with Sam Amadi, one of my favourite intellectuals.

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A Joyous & Glorious Mother’s Day…


Biafran Mothers

Women and Children at a Biafran Refugee Camp [Source: © Bettmann/CORBIS]

A blessed Mother’s Day to all mothers who feel voiceless, dreamless, faceless, nameless…

As we joyfully celebrate mothers around the world on this wonderful day, let us also honour the often ignored mothers who came before us, victims of past wars.

And those who are also presently with us; victims of terrorism and insurgency, mothers in refugee/Internally Displaced Persons’ camps, mothers who hunger for bread, shelter, security and peace, and many mothers in these harrowing conditions, who were forced into motherhood through acts of rape and sexual violations.

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Nelle Harper Lee (Harper Lee): A Happy Post-Humous Birthday to a Literary Icon.

Nelle Harper Lee (Harper Lee), widely known for her classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, was born on this day in 1926, in America’s southern state of Alabama. Dear Ms Harper Lee, continue to rest on in peace and cook up a storm in Literary heaven! A happy post-humous 91st birthday to a literary icon.

I think nothing quite captures the spirit of Harper Lee than this story below.

In 2006, A young fan asked Harper Lee for her autographed picture, she wrote a letter replying this young fan who had asked for a picture by offering up some advice. The note reads:

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#Nwanyibuife #CelebratingWomenWhoDare – Dr. Mina Ogbanga: Social Scientist & Trailblazer, Creating an Innovative Biofuel Gel for Domestic Cooking Initiative…

Dr. Mina Ogbanga

Ananke Platform shared a series of insightful dialogues on mainstreaming gender, sustainability and STEM. It was a 2-part series of titled –“STEM: PATHWAY TO SUSTAINABILITY” – featuring various dynamic women, who are trailblazers in STEM.
[To read the articles Click Here for Part ONE and Click Here for Part TWO].

#CelebratingWomenWhoDare One of those featured is our own Dr. Mina Ogbanga.
Dr Mina Ogbanga
from Nigeria, Dr. Mina Ogbanga’s was enrolled in the College of Medical Sciences when she used to dream of transforming her home country for good. In addition to being a social scientist with a PhD degree in Sustainable Development Studies and another ongoing PhD in Public Policy; Dr. Mina has research and technical interest in Renewable Energy. She has an incredibly immense track record in STEM, with specialization in clean energy.

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Rotman Women and Leadership Experts Speakers Series Featuring Lorna Borenstein, CEO Grokker, formerly of eBay Inc., Yahoo and Move Inc.

Rotman Initiative for Women in BusinessThe Rotman Initiative for Women in Business invites you to attend:
Rotman Women and Leadership Experts Speakers Series, Sponsored by BMO Financial Group

 Lorna Borenstein, CEO Grokker, formerly of eBay Inc., Yahoo and Move Inc.

From Your Big Break to a Big Mistake: How to Have Resilience and Remain Authentic

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#PostcardsFromAfrica – Enita Akpojevwe: Why I Am a Feminist in Nigeria.

The following post was culled from Bella Naija website [accessed on Tuesday, April 26, 2017; 8.45 pm EST], with the permission of the writer -Enita Akpojevwe

Recently, award-winning author and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in an interview with the UK Guardian came out to say that she would be more successful in Nigeria if she is not a feminist.

“Feminism is not that hot. I can tell you I would sell more books in Nigeria if I stopped and said I’m no longer a feminist. I would have a stronger following, I would make more money” she said.

She is spot on in this case. Feminism in Nigeria is an endangered movement or belief; it is associated with so much bile, prejudice and stigmatization.

You are either ascribed to one or more of the following stereotypes; man-haters, angry nasty women, pro-abortionists, homosexual or pseudo homosexual, unmarried or a career woman, anti-motherhood, an atheist, unbeliever, a bad wife or an amoral woman. . .

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#CelebratingWomenWhoDare #NwanyiBuIfe – Obie Agusiegbe, CEO EnvironFocus Incorporated.

mj4sxduo“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” ~Maya Angelou

WWN™ #CelebratingWomenWhoDare series is excited to profile Obie Agusiegbe, –a dynamic member of Whole WoMan Network. A woman who has blazed a trail in environmental sustainability, waste management and community service.

Obie Agusiegbe is the Chief Executive Officer of EnvironFocus Incorporated.
EnvironFocus Show and Tell” events in the Toronto area are must attend showcases, linking industry practitioners and members of their communities. They are interesting hubs with an eclectic mix of spoken-word/poetry performances, innovative products & services, engaging speakers with unique perspectives on diverse issues and in the past, some events have had finger-licking, healthy Nigerian foods (courtesy of Suya Paradise Catering & Events)!

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EnvironBuzz MarketPlace – Shop Green!


EnvironBuzz Marketplace is an EnvironFocus Initiative run by Obie Agusiegbe, a member of the WWN Community. She created the online store to promote green vendors and their products. Featured product include LifeStraw Go With 2 – Stage Filtration and the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter shown below. To see more green products visit here.


LifeStraw Go With 2 – Stage Filtration

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#WWNAdvocacy #PostcardsFromAfrica: HRH Emir Sanusi of Nigeria Speaks Out Against Child Marriage #NwanyiBuIfe

The piece below was culled from the instagram page of HRH Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi [Muhammadu Sanusi II; Husband, father, grandfather, formerly Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Serving as 14th Fulani Emir and Ruler of Kano]

“(Marriage of women (girls) below 18 years) – Women (girls) are suffering from reproductive health challenges because of such marriages. Time has come (for) the Muslim community (to) live by the reality of economic recession and consequences of early marriage.

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#CelebratingWomenWhoDare – Beyond the commercialization of Mother’s Day in North America, let’s dig into the history & intentions of the remarkable founder(s)

History of Mother's Day in North AmericaI find history very fascinating and the history of women who shaped history in their own way, even more so. And I think history has a way of giving a nuanced context to seemingly isolated (contemporary) issues.

This post was inspired by a fascinating and insightful conversation, a long while ago, on the Facebook wall of Marianne Williamson (, based on a post she made on her wall titled: “The original Mother’s Day idea was for women to gather from all over the world to take a stand against war.”

[Other sources for the post below are and wikipedia].

The History of Mother’s Day Celebration in America

In summary, social activist, Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis founded the American celebration of its version of Mother’s Day in 1858. It initially started as a call for health sanitation.

A few years later in 1870,  Poet and Activist, Julia Ward Howe, who was herself inspired by Ann Jarvis, wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation as a call to Peace.

After the death of Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, her daughter Anna Marie Jarvis embarked on a mission to make Mother’s Day an officially recognized holiday in the United States.

The Fascinating Back-story of 3 Phenomenal Women

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WWN™ #ThrowbackThursday |#NwanyiBuIfe #EducateAGirl: Investing in Our Community/Public Schools

WWN Scholarship Recipients

WWN Scholarship Recipients and Co-Founder

In the first picture above are 2 of 5 WWN’s 2015 Scholarship Recipients: Chidinma Ezeudu and Blessing Ochomma of St Kizito Girls’ Secondary School. (Future courses of study: Petroleum and Chemical Engineering Respectively).

And in the second picture, I asked to take a picture with them, because like I told them, based on their passions, academic excellence, leadership skills, sense of humanity and creative abilities, they are sure to achieve greatness in the near future. (And I’d love to be a part of their story)!😀

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