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One Young World Summit: Part 2

Posted by | November 29, 2013 | Alieu Fofanah, Personal | No Comments
Alieu with one of the founders of OYW

I am singing the South African song WENA in my head as I make my way up the escalator. 3 months I researched, asked, wrote, pleaded and on the day before OYW is set to finish, I finally get in. I feel like a real GoGetter, truly humbled and blessed.

I find a schedule with the activities for the rest of the day and it looks like the main talks are finishing in the next 30mins, with several breakout sessions located all around Johannesburg. Each session has a particular topic and the one which grabs my attention is the social impact of high growth entrepreneurial businesses.

I hurriedly make my way to the info desk to find out how I can attend the breakout session. They tell me that press are not allowed in the breakout sessions!!!

After 3 months of trying to get into the summit now they are telling me I can’t go to a breakout session, which is in line with what GoGetters is looking into! I stand back and think to myself, I’m not accepting this.

I call Adam, the guy who granted me access to OYW, and he tells me to contact Mary. Mary is in a meeting, she tells me to go to the 3rd floor and speak to Derek. Taking the stairs two at a time I finally reach Anton, he tells me a resounding no. I call Adam again, he instructs me to go up to the press room, and I make my way there. I see a sea of faces, none of whom I recognise. I then get a text from Mary asking me if everything is sorted? She directs me to go to the room next door to the press room, which I do. Once there I give Adam a call again, he answers. It turns out that both of us are in the same room. He points me in the direction of a few people on laptops; I speak to them and inform them that I want to attend the breakout session. They agree to give me the address, but can’t guarantee that I will be allowed in.

I decide to take the risk! I leave the main summit and call a taxi. It takes 45mins in total to get there. I have a sinking thought that I am going to be late! Thankfully I arrive some minutes later and I ask my taxi driver to stay behind just in case I’m not allowed in.

I enter the building and ask for directions to the conference room. When I arrive 5 people are sitting down. They look really happy to see me. They say, “Finally, where is everyone else?”  I am a bit confused by the question; I explain that I am here by myself, and that I am being extremely cheeky.  I then go on to tell them how I got to the location, how I got into OYW and about GoGetters. They agree that I can sit in. Result!

Alieu with the MD of Endeavour and the CEO of Taste Holdings

Alieu with the MD of Endeavour and the CEO of Taste Holdings


The rest of the OYW delegates arrive 2.5hrs late!  The event was meant to start at 2.30pm, they arrived at 5pm. The driver took them to the wrong location.  Due to the other delegates being late it gave me the chance to speak to the MD of Endeavour and some of the interns and staff. In the end we had one presentation from the CEO of Taste holding, an organization which has grown from 1 store to 600 stores in 6 years! Their story is inspiring and their results, in terms of high growth businesses and the impact it has on society is evident as they are able to higher thousands of staff.

So, I got into OYW, but that isn’t the end of my story!  There are plenty more events that I want to attend. Next up in JoBurg is Tech4Africa, in Kenya there is Demo Africa, in Rwanda there is Transform Africa and the list continues. No funds and no ticket for any of them, but then again I have been given a new found sense of belief, whatever the challenge, whatever the hustle… Giving up on a dream is never an option!

Our motto inspired by Harun (founding member) is that GoGetters “go and get what they say we can’t get because we are can-do-people!” So let’s GoGet’em!

Alieu with a fellow delegate at the end of One Young World

Alieu with a fellow delegate at the end of OYW

Alieu Fofanah

About Alieu Fofanah

An Associate Chartered Accountant who in 2010 was invited to the House of Lords by Lord Adebowale, to feature as a Future Leader in the Magazine published by Powerful Media. Previously worked as a debt restructuring and business recovery specialist at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Alieu’s vision for GoGetters to act as a channel for entrepreneurs to build creative solutions, which transform the world.

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