"Without Balloon ICS I wouldn't have met such inspirational entrepreneurs and friends!"
In this, the latest from a series of posts focussing on our inspirational Alumni and where they are now, we chatted to Busayo Yusuff, who volunteered with Balloon ICS in Kenya.
BV: Tell us a little bit about what you were doing before you applied for iCS.
BY: Prior to applying for ICS, I was working within the legal sector and travelling around India and Sri Lanka. Further I was a committee member of the London based think tank, Nigerians In The Square Mile’s Young Professionals Network.
BV: What was your main motivation in applying for Balloon ICS?
BY: I applied for Balloon ICS as it provides a unique opportunity to work alongside local entrepreneurs on socially conscious and exciting business ideas, whilst utilise my skills and experience to make a significant and lasting impact. Unlike travelling where your vantage point is often skewed by western perspective, Balloon ICS’s main attraction is that it fosters a full integration and immersion experience.
BV: Can you remember the entrepreneurs you worked with on placement? Tell us about one who really inspired you.
BY: It’s hard to pick one. Three stand out: Mary, hair salon owner, soap maker and full-time amazing lady! Peter, restaurant owner; and Steven, farmer and part-time builder.
BV: What skills do you think you developed most while on your placement?
BY: Prior to the placement, I wanted to make a difference; inspire and empower others, whilst also increase my social and personal development. Through the placement I learned and development several skills.
First, I became more adaptive. Experiencing the challenges entrepreneurs face, I was forced to be flexible and adaptive in order to identify various opportunities. Second, undertaking the Balloon Enterprise Curriculum, and working with local business owners, I further developed my business knowledge. Third, I developed my leadership skills. During the placement you work in small teams, often I was required to take initiative and lead projects. Although daunting this was a great experience that further developed my teamwork skill and demonstrated a strong desire to take on greater responsibility.
BV: What have you been doing since you returned from placement?
BY: Since the placement, I have participated in community based initiatives, such as Byte Night, Action for Children, and started work as trainee solicitor.
BV: How did what you learned/developed on placement help you to achieve what you’re doing now?
BY: The placement has given me friends, both home and abroad, which I will be in contact with forever. Further Balloon ICS developed skills which will enable me to continue helping others.
BV: If you had to finish the sentence “Without Balloon ICS…” what would you say?
BY: Without Balloon ICS I never would’ve met such inspirational entrepreneurs and friends!