When Miracle Olatunji was in the early days as founder of OpportuniMe, she was a high school entrepreneur, a Diamond Challenge for High School Entrepreneurs ambassador and one of Mogul, Inc.’s “50 High School Students You Need to Know About.”
Now, nearly five years later, the Wilmington Charter graduate is a junior at Northeastern University, where a focus on experiential learning, a year of COVID-19 and a looming graduation have shaped OpportuniMe into a platform for people preparing to enter the workforce in mind.
Olatunji is also back in Delaware, having left the Boston campus at the end of last semester to study virtually at home.
It’s a shift she’s taking in stride.
“With the online classes, I can see the downside,” she said, “but it’s allowed me to spend time with family, actually eat three meals a day and take better care of my health.”
COVID-19 has curbed some types of the experiential learning that drew her to Northeastern, especially travel; pre-pandemic, she studied in Denmark and traveled to San Francisco to network with Silicon Valley founders. But not all: She recently finished an internship with Deloitte, took on two student interns with OpportuniMe over the summer, and in September received a grant from Colgate’s Optimism Project.
“Colgate did this study and found out a lot of Gen Zers are losing optimism for the future, with people losing their jobs, illnesses — it’s kind of bleak all around,” Olatunji said. “So they started this new initiative and they invited me and five other young founders to be part of it. It’s been a great experience.”
The pandemic, loss of optimism and Olatunji’s personal existence in a transformative period of nearing college graduation led to that shift in OpportuniMe’s focus. Once, it primarily focused on helping high school students find interesting opportunities for personal growth that they could put on their college applications. Today, while it still offers resources for teens, the focus is on career and self-care.
“I’ve been focusing more on creating content to help people with wellness, and how to manage stress around the job search and interviewing,” she said. “The last year has been really stressful, and I want to create a platform for people to have resources and advice on how to take better care of themselves while still working on their goals.”
A new website, which will live at opportunime.org, is currently in development. The plan is to launch it by the end of April. In the meantime, you can follow OpportuniMe on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
One of the tools offered is a self-care menu, which provides ideas for different simple things people can do throughout the day in five, 15 or 30 minutes to help them practice self care or give themselves a mental energy boost.
“Over the last year I created different resources on how to prepare for a virtual interview, how to do a virtual coffee chat,” Olatunji said. “In high school, there aren’t too many internships, but they can start networking and create a LinkedIn profile and reach out to professionals in industries they’re interested in.”
The main theme, helping people connect with experiential learning opportunities, is the same: “Your passion doesn’t just fall into your lap,” she said. “You have to try things and be curious, ask questions, build your network, and that’s how you discover what you’re passionate about.”
Olatunji admits that she hasn’t fully decided yet which direction — working for a company or being a full-time founder — she will choose.
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” said Olatunji, who is studying finance at school. “I’m really interested in the tech industry. I know that I want to work there after graduation.” Still, she doesn’t seem to be planning to drop entrepreneurship. She’s even started another, newer startup, HerWallet Media, a project for financial literacy for women. “I want to grow all these different things, but I also want to grow my skills working at a big company.”
For now, though, she’s making the most of virtual life.
“There are definitely some benefits to the virtual format,” she said. “Last month I gave a talk for the University of London. I was the only American on the panel. It was just cool, being able to connect with all of these people. I was literally in my bedroom doing the talk.”
As OpportuniMe evolves, along with new projects and opportunities, so does Olatunji.
“I feel like, thanks to things like the Diamond Challenge, I’ve grown from this really shy girl,” she said, “and now I’ve stepped into my confidence.”