Oluwaseyi Folayan

2022 IVLP Impact Award Project: Bezaleel Skills LabNigeria

Oluwaseyi David Folayan is a passionate entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Bezaleel Inspired Craft, a premium fashion brand for men. In addition to styling people across the globe and developing a global brand, Oluwaseyi's dream is to address the knowledge gap in building sustainable enterprises in the fashion industry and to promote a sustainable environment. After his bachelor's degree in linguistics, Oluwaseyi studied at the Copenhagen Business School on strategic management. Due to his passion for sustainable development, he has also worked on projects such as Nigeria Triumphs Polio, a campaign by United Nations Population Fund against female genitalia mutilation and Deepening Democracy in Nigeria 2 that was sponsored by the U.K. Department for International Development.

IVLP Impact Award Project: Bezaleel Skills Lab

In line with his commitment to help other players in the fashion industry grow and maximize their prosperity, Oluwaseyi sought to launch the Bezaleel Skills Lab, which was an entrepreneurship upskilling program that supported entrepreneurs with innovative ideas in fashion to plug the industry’s value chain gaps and to democratize prosperity. The program supported participants to commercialize and develop their creations as well as the distribution of their innovative fashion products and services. The goal was to help these entrepreneurs go from idea stage to the creation of a minimum viable product. The program had call for applications, review and selection, a six-week upskilling program Bezaleel Skills Lab, and final pitch day. The top 43 participants across the nation were selected based on the following criteria: innovativeness of the idea, the value chain gap to be plugged, clear sustainability plan, business model, etc. The top 43 participants will be trained on business modelling, customer acquisition, brand modeling, new trends in fashion industry and business financing. On pitch day, participants pitched their ideas to potential investors and stakeholders in the industry.

By the end of the program, entrepreneurs fully developed their ideas and had started testing their target market using the tools given to them during the program. Of the 43 participants, 30 of them were empowered to start, grow and scale their businesses after the project completed.

"This has been a good experience. When I saw the opportunity, I had to tell some of our students in the university I work at to register for it. We are even looking for opportunities on how to make this part of the school curriculum." - Project participant

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Oluwaseyi was a participant in the IVLP Project Promoting Economic Growth and Trade in the Fashion Industry, organized by the U.S. Department of State and FHI 360.

U.S. Communities Visited Virtually

Huntsville, AL; Washington, DC; New York City, NY; Akron, OH; Seattle, WA

Country: Nigeria

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