Celebrate global entrepreneurship week by supporting digital entrepreneurship in Nigeria’s first Google impact challenge
Consider Abdul. Born to low-income parents in a small town in North Central Nigeria, Abdul has just graduated secondary school with very few prospects for his future. Though a very intelligent boy, Abdul has not been able to get admission into university because his parents want him to study medicine and he barely passed his science subjects. Abdul’s main interest is photography – an interest sparked by his uncle who brings his beautiful cameras with him when he comes from Lagos to visit Abdul’s parents. After another argument about his future, Abdul’s uncle asks his parents to send him to Lagos. In Lagos, Abdul’s uncle helps him enroll in digital photography classes and lets him use his cameras to take photos, which Abdul is able to sell on Shutterstock and other online stock photography sites. Abdul also learns to drive and registers his uncle’s car with Uber and other ride-sharing apps. Before long, Abdul is making enough money to send a small amount to his parents every month and enroll himself at Yaba College of Technology to study photography, even while continuing to take digital photography courses online.
Abdul’s story is not unique. Millions of young people around the world, typically referred to as “Millennials”, are reinventing the way we see life and work in the twenty-first century and technology is allowing them to do so. In many companies today, as in many households, members of older generations wonder loudly: “what is wrong with these lazy Millennials who don’t want to work hard like we do?” But perhaps this is the wrong question. Instead of wondering what’s wrong, perhaps we should look at how to stimulate them to create those engines of growth that many of them are plugging into to generate wealth. Shouldn’t we be asking ourselves how to get our young ones to become active drivers of the global digital economy by creating the next Shutterstock, Uber, Airbnb, Facebook and Amazon?
The Global Industry Vision (GIV) 2025 report revealed that the number of personal smart devices will reach 40 billion and the total number of connections around the world will reach 100 billion by 2025, creating a digital economy worth of $23 trillion! We can either sit back and watch this pass us by or we can start training our young people to fully participate in this as wealth creators instead of as consumers. At Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN), we have chosen the latter, and that is why we are participating in the Google Impact Challenge.
JAN is part of Junior Achievement Worldwide, the world’s largest and fastest-growing economic education non-profit dedicated to empowering young people to own their future. Since 1999, JAN has empowered over 800,000 young people in primary and secondary schools across Nigeria, through our financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs, and some of our alumni are now highly successful and socially responsible entrepreneurs. Not only do we have successful alumni in management positions at all major corporations operating in Nigeria, our alumni also serve as CEOs and Executive Directors of the most dynamic non-profit organizations in Nigeria including FATE Foundation, Africa Initiative for Governance, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, LEAP Africa, The Education Partnership Center and many other organizations we are proud to call partners in the development of Nigerian youth.
As we encountered reports about the future and the relevance of Nigerian youth, we decided that teaching financial literacy and entrepreneurship was no longer enough to prepare our youth for the future; we had to begin to teach digital entrepreneurship as well! With unemployment levels rising to almost 20% in Nigeria, we were clear on the need to infuse our award-winning entrepreneurship program for senior secondary school students, the Company Program, with digital skills training so as to develop digital entrepreneurs who are fully equipped to lift Nigeria to its highest potential. Our goal is to develop 10,000 young digital entrepreneurs who will put Nigeria firmly among the nations benefiting from that $23 trillion digital economy in 2025!
So this week, as we mark Global Entrepreneurship Week, I hope you will partner with us to make this dream a reality by voting for JAN in the first ever Google Impact Challenge in Nigeria! If we get the highest number of votes, Google will provide a whopping $250,000 as well as training and tools to support JAN in achieving our goals to develop 10,000 digital entrepreneurs in Nigeria by 2025! Join us by voting now!
Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week!
Nwogugu is Executive Director, Junior Achievement Nigeria