Who would imagine that Post-it Notes on a wall would help spur a young man’s creative thought process? That young man was a new eleventh grader from upstate New York who landed at SSM in 2013 to study and pursue his passion for soccer. Now a senior at Colgate University, Uyi Omorogbe ’15 returned to SSM’s weCreate Center on December 7 – where those Post-it Notes (and the music recording studio) provided him inspiration to pursue his creative ideas.
Uyi’s visit came on the heels of a successful Kickstarter campaign, which will help him launch NaSo – a clothing line that incorporates African accents and will benefit schools in Africa. The first project, using a portion of the Kickstarter funds, will offer chairs, desks, bathrooms, a new roof, and fresh paint to Okuosa Primary School in Nigeria. This is the school that Uyi’s father attended and that Uyi visited last summer. Seeing a school in need provided the inspiration to make his business idea a reality.
During his Colgate experience, Uyi joined the Thought Into Action entrepreneur organization. He was also inspired by TOMS founder Blake Mykoskie who wrote the book Start Something That Matters and has used the TOMS business model as a guiding light for his own business. He said his Nigerian parents believe there are four career options in life – a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer, and a disgrace to the family. While he jokingly shares their expectations, he also acknowledges that he is still figuring out his next steps. For now, Uyi’s dream of founding a company with a social mission is becoming a reality.
During his well-attended “Deep Dive & Dessert” talk in the weCreate Center, Uyi urged students to pursue creative ideas they have and to try new things. He also encouraged reading and offered an unprompted testimonial for his college readiness by sharing how he learned time management at SSM.
Mr. Cavellier, who was the Director of the weCreate Center when Uyi was a student, shared this observation: “Uyi blossomed in the weCreate Center; he spent hours there working in the Recording Studio. It was great to have him back here, talking to our current students about the importance of creativity and innovation. It was equally important for them to hear about how creativity and innovation intersect with drive and purpose. That’s how he found NaSo’s sweet spot, and that is how all successful entrepreneurial thinking begins.”