Entrepreneur helps youth build solar-powered cars

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By Shirley Hawkins

Contributing Writer

BALDWIN HILLS — Entrepreneur Omobola Imoisili, founder and CEO of her website Teni and Tayo Creations, conducted a “How to Build a Solar Car” workshop for children Nov. 27 at the Nothing But Black Flea Market at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

Imoisili, who has been conducting science and educational workshops since 2020, realized that the interest in the science, technology, engineering and math field is expanding, especially among parents with young children. “Many families with young children have become fascinated” with those subjects, Imoisili said.,

“I realized that parents want the children to be occupied instead of being home all day playing video games or doing nothing,” she said. “Attending the workshops gives parents something the kids can do that is both fun and educational.”

In her “Build a Solar Car” workshop, Imoisili helps children assemble a solar panel car whose parts are imported from China. The children learn to connect wiring, solar panels, mirrors and plastic wheels. They finish their cars by dipping into colorful tubes of paint to decorate their finished product.

In the past several years, interest in real solar power and electric cars have captured the attention of car manufacturers around the world. Startups from the Netherlands to California are developing cars capable of using photovoltaic cells that harness energy from the sun by converting it into electricity. Solar panels on the car convert sunlight into energy that runs the car’s motor.

Interest in solar-powered cars continues to grow since they do not require gasoline or maintenance fees as compared to cars that are dependent on fuel.

Besides building a toy solar car workshop, Imoisili, who was born and raised in Nigeria before emigrating to the United States, conducts a virtual African folktales class, where participants hear stories from across the continent about myths, legendary kings and queens, revered gods and goddesses and other folktales. The interactive class is also available through in-person private events for schools, birthday parties, and more.

The busy entrepreneur also teaches a build, paint and race an army battle tank class as well as a voice activated car class.

The in-demand entrepreneur can be found conducting the workshops all over Southern California, including Culver City, Burbank and Hacienda Heights.

“Besides my website, I advertise the workshops on the Los Angeles County Parks website and right now I am also working closely with the Burbank parks,” she said.

Imoisili, 40, also founded a website titled Teni and Tayo Creations which features items geared toward children.

“We offer educational toys, books, apparel, workshops, parties and more for kids with a pinch of African influence,” she said. The website offers an array of toys that make unique Christmas gifts.

She has expanded the website to showcase a number of her colorful products, including Afrocentric backpacks, jigsaw puzzles, building sticks and jewelry kits. All of her products were created for children, particularly children of color, as a way to boost their self-esteem.

Explaining why she decided to create her own website, Imoisoli said, “I was born and raised in Nigeria and was always surrounded by people that looked like me. But now I live in Los Angeles and I am raising my two daughters, Teni and Tayo, in an area where we are a minority.

“As my daughters got older, they started to notice how different they looked from their friends. Even the TV shows they loved so much lacked representation. I wanted to reassure them that they were beautiful just the way they were and that their African heritage was something to be proud of regardless of what they saw or didn’t see on television.

“I wanted to surround them with books, toys and more that represented their beauty and culture, but there weren’t a lot of good options available. And when I tried to find representation in the things my daughters were particularly interested in — things like princesses, fairies and superheroes — it was even harder to find options.

“I did not see a lot of diversity in products for Black children and I wanted to see that,” she addd. “I wanted to see my daughters represented more because I know it has an impact on their self-esteem.”

To combat the lack of representation, Imosili wrote a book titled “Feyi Fay,” about a Nigerian superhero princess that has since expanded into a book series. “It’s about a girl who travels the world and helps kids solve problems,” Imoisili said.

For the boys, Imoisili created a superhero named Captain Nosa, a brainy Nigerian neuroscientist.

“He has superpowers to make people extremely smart or extremely unsmart,” Imosili said.“Making people unsmart comes in handy when Nosa wants the bad guys to thwart their own plans. He is the brainiest superhero you will ever meet.”

“I hope that these products appeal to children from all backgrounds and ethnic groups while at the same time allowing Black and African children to feel more seen, empowered, handsome, proud and eager to embrace their natural beauty,” she said.

 

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