Can you believe it’s been 20 years since we started running the flagship JA Company Program in Nigeria? To mark this huge milestone, we held a webinar on the Importance of Entrepreneurship Education in Schools which was proudly supported by the Citi Foundation. The webinar which was well attended featured panelists made up of JA Nigeria partners such as Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, Honourable Commissioner for Education, Lagos State and Mrs. Funmi Ogunlesi, Executive Director Public Service Citibank Nigeria. We also had a few of our Company Program alumni in the mix including Nkechi Eze, Founder AsoebiBella; Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, CEO Future Africa; Asa Asika, Co-Founder The Plug and Bright Dikko, Head of Research and Program Development at UBEDA.
The conversations were rich and insightful with all panelists shared on their various experiences and the growing need and benefits of entrepreneurial education especially in schools especially at the secondary level. The Honourable Commissioner for Education shared on being a part of the JAN family in various capacities since 1999. She also touched on the work being done by this administration and the role organizations like JAN can play in encouraging Entrepreneurship Education. In her own remarks, Mrs. Ogunlesi stated that Citibank, through Citi Foundation is committed to supporting the development of its operating environment, in line with the company’s core values and mandate. She mentioned that Citi Foundation has been supporting JA Company Program for a number of years and will continue to do so because of the programs long-lasting impact. She went on to emphasize on the need for volunteering in promoting entrepreneurship in Lagos State schools by stating that “Lagos is a young city; it stands or falls by the youth”.
Bright Dikko shared his perspective on entrepreneurship before and after his participation in the Company Program. According to him, he once perceived entrepreneurship as a pursuit that was not so respectable; however, JA Nigeria helped change that mind-set. This eventually acted as a catalyst that enabled him to get a full scholarship at the Africa Leadership Academy. He also shared useful insights to participants interested in seeking scholarships abroad.
Similarly, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji shared his experiences, elaborating on how JA Nigeria encouraged his passion for entrepreneurship and supported his business back in secondary school while participating in the Company Program. He stated that students should be encouraged to explore value in different ways that can be monetized. He also spoke on the need for students to be taught how to build systems that can scale the impact of their ideas. Iyinoluwa emphasized the importance of brand positioning and promotion as an entrepreneur. After creating a product, he said it is only ideal that an entrepreneur should focus on their target audience, attending to their most pressing needs – this is one of the ways to ensure constant cash follow
In his own opinion, Asa Asika who has been a creative/entertainment entrepreneur for a number of years advised attendees to know that there are different ways of getting into a particular sector; he went on to admonish aspiring entrepreneurs to identify their God-given talent and know where their passion lies if they truly want to be successful. Finally, we had Nkechi Eze encourage attendees to keep things simple as they design their products/services.
In his closing remarks, Chairman, JA Nigeria Board, Niyi Yusuf, shared the aspiration of JA Nigeria to raise one million digital entrepreneurs in five years like the current one million student milestone was achieved in 4 years. He called on well-meaning individuals, corporate organisations and philanthropists to support this drive and help Junior Achievement Nigeria raise one million digital entrepreneurs in five years.