The Kinabuti/Pulse.ng ‘Dare2Dream’ (D2D) model search, an international youth empowerment initiative sponsored by First City Monument Bank (FCMB), with support from other leading brands like Nestle, Lenovo, Dana, Golden Vita, Mac and host of media partners came to an exciting end last Wednesday at the Federal Palace Hotel and Casino in Lagos, with the grand finale. At the end of the competition, 21 years old Tolulope Balogun, of the University of Lagos, emerged as the winner. For achieving the feat, Tolulope Balogun won half a million naira in cash and a year ambassadorial role with FCMB.
The month long Dare2Dream initiative began with a selection programme that took the organizers across some universities and across the country in the search for the next big talent in the fashion and modeling industry. At the end of the exercise, 18 candidates made it to the national competition. They then embarked on a rigorous training programme (bootcamp) that took place at Federal Place Hotel & Casino where they were coached on different subjects from presentation skills, posing, walking, social media strategies and inspirational speeches from entertainment celebrities and successful business owners who have made a mark in their different fields and careers.
One of the highlights of the Dare to Dream project was the contest tagged, ‘’FCMB Challenge’’, which was hosted by the Bank and used to further evaluate the contestants and select the final winner. The FCMB challenge provided the contestant with an opportunity to hear directly from various celebrities and business owners on their own personal journeys and dreams they have seen through to fruition. They were trained and advised on various topics such as the importance of selfesteem, job hunting skills, and the ability to persevere in a competitive environment like Nigeria. Some of the celebrities featured during the FCMB challenge include the Co-founder of Jobberman Nigeria, Ayodeji Adewunmi, Ms. Dolapo Oni of Ebony Life Television, Eku Edewor of Studio 53 Extra, Toke Makinwa of Rhythm FM, Bukky Karibi-Whyte, CEO of The Bobby Taylor Company, Yoanna ‘Pepper’ Okwesa-Chikezie of Spice TV and Balasama Sangare of Mac Cosmetics. The contestants all marvelled at the calibre of the celebrities lined-up and at the opportunity to mingle, chat and network with each one of them. Speaking when the Bank hosted the finalists at its Head Office in Lagos on Monday (November 10, 2014), the GMD/CEO of FCMB, Mr. Ladi
Balogun, expressed his appreciation to the contestants for taking the bold step towards achieving their dreams, stressing the need to be focused, hardworking and determined. Mr. Balogun iterated on the importance of giving youths the platform to pursue meaningful endeavors, sighting his own personal growth and career aspirations in his over two decades in the banking industry. For him, banking is beyond financial services, but rather is an avenue to support lives, create businesses and grow economies. FCMB, as part of its retail strategy, is very passionate about serving the Nigerian youth market and is strongly committed to creating dynamic offerings to meet their evolving needs. He also added that the Dare2Dream competition is a great platform for the contestants to build lasting relationships. “This Dare2Dream initiative has given you a competitive edge – maximise this opportunity and network with the professionals and personalities involved in this project. Leverage on their experiences and knowledge, and form friendship and mentorships that can enrich your lives and career” he advised. The grand finale of the Dare2Dream event was hosted by Kaylah Oniwo of Cool FM who dressed in Kinabuti designed outfits.The show, which took place at lagoon side of the Federal Palace Hotel garden, was graced by dignitaries, indigenous and international celebrities.
The guests were served CIROC Vodka cocktails and NESCAFÉ drinks with DJ Rolly on ground to provide stylish house music. The runway was revved with Kinabuti Vlisco Khan Collection presenting both menswear and women’s wear with stunning pieces while a beautiful Kinabuti bridal wear stood out. The Dare2Dream grand finale attracted remarkable talented designers such as TAJ from UniUyo and Morafa from Unilag who showcased their women and men’s wear on stage. Two upcoming artists Izy and Sunni from Uniport (singers) and Sammy from UniUyo (comedian) discovered in the course of the University auditions, performed for the first time in Lagos in front of the most distinguished crowd while SPAN dancers held the audience spellbound.
The four finalists which include Eno Josephine from Lagos State, Ekah Idongesit from Akwa Ibom State, Chiamaka Chinedu from Rivers State and Tolupe Balogun from Lagos State had the chance to perform their first runway, proudly appearing in the Kinabuti new collections. The four female finalists, though from different fields of study and different parts of the country, had three things in common. They are young, beautiful and determined to achieve their dream.
The final challenge of the show was to defend “How the FCMB prize would contribute to achieve their dream” in front of high-profile jurors, including Dharnesh Gordon MD of Nestle Nigeria, Lola Omotayo-Okoye, Marcy Dolapo Oni and Remi Sanusi of FCMB. Tolulope Balogun won the competition having provided the best answer making sure to note the role of youth in any upcoming enterprise.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Ladi Balogun of FCMB assured of the Bank’s commitment in continuously supporting the youth by empowering them, encouraging them to develop their skills and ideas that can drive them to achieve their dreams.
Guests at the event included Ladi Balogun, Idowu Sobanjo representing Lagos State Governor, Dr Grazia Dellanova acting Italian consulate, Alhaji Sayyu Dantata Chairman of MRS Holding, David Kliegl GM Federal Palace Hotel & Casino, Dharnesh Gordon MD of Nestle, Lola OmotayoOkoye, Anita Okoye, Maje Ayida and Toke Makinwa, Baba Epega from Richard Coker foundation and The Venus Bushfires, Marcy Dolapo Oni, Toke Ibru Publisher of The Guardian, Eng. Amin Moussalli GMD of Cool/Wazobia TV, Tatiana Moussalli Nouri DGMD of Cool/Wazobia TV, Gautham Hathiramani DMD of Dana Group, Shahin Nouri, Eku Edewor, Freda Francis, Malcolm Obinna, Elma Godwin, Ene Maya, Ozzy Agu amongst others.
Dare2Dream is a co-production of Kinabuti Fashion Initiative (KFI) and Pulse.ng and proudly sponsored by FCMB, Lenovo, Golden Vita, Nescafé, Dana Air, Mac Cosmetics, Federal Palace Hotel & Casino and Richard Coker Foundation. The media partners are Bella Naija, The Guardian, This Day Style, COOL TV, COOL Fm, Wazobia TV, NTA, Africa Magic, Spice TV, 360Nobs.com and Stylevitae.com