Team: MICHAEL IYANRO CYCLE Team leader: Michael Iyanro Team member: Abigail Alabi Country: NIGERIA
EXPERIENCES AND DISCOVERYBottom-line Experience:1.Nigeria, West Africa’s largest country, between thirty-five and fifty percent (35%-50%) ofyouths are unemployed. Overall, the youth unemployment rate in Nigeria stands at anunacceptable level in excess of thirty percent! Already, the social consequence of thismalaise is evident in the crime rate- both domestic and international, as well as the loweconomic output of the country with 160 million people and counting, relative to her peers.While Innovation can provide a fast and cheap route to create wealth, there are noestablished support for innovators and entrepreneurs, and where they are present: fundingis lacking. This has led to rising tide of poverty and crime, as increasing numbers of youthsgraduating from tertiary institutions are unemployed and poor.2. The ability to earn an income is the driving force behind health, happiness, and a betterfuture for the next generation. We believe that in countries where unemployment rates aresky-high, every lost opportunity to earn an income is unacceptable. In Nigeria, formal work isscarcely available. Workers rely on informal jobs, which often do not pay a living wage andare often not stable forms of employment. This lack of opportunity for income keeps workerstrapped in the cycle of poverty. The problem we see is a disconnect in the entire ecosystembetween service providers & customers, especially in the short-term labor market.. Infact, the only way that people currently find temporary workers is through word ofmouth, relying completely on referrals from family and friends, and sometimes evendisregarding skill sets of the worker. This is where YOUTHNNOVATION HUB comes in.
Discovery: Nigeria as a country is often described as a rich country majority of poor citizens where 50% of theCitizens live below poverty level. Unemployment has been a problem in Nigeria, especially since1980, when the nations economy took a turn for the worse as world petroleum prices tumbled, theNigerian currency became devalued, corruption became rampant, and the population of Nigeriaballooned at a breathtaking pace. The resultant poverty has posed questions about the wisdom ofconventional strategies for national development.Many decades ago, Nigeria was perceived one of the richest countries in Africa because of her greatpetroleum reserves and large population. Ironically, the most dominant feature of the Nigerianeconomy is unemployment and poverty. There is a need for a development plan that will revitalize theeconomy of Nigeria, and thereby provide relevant strategies for combating unemployment and povertyin Nigeria.Effective land tenure reform and provision of training in development of agriculture related industriessuitable for unskilled Nigerians could make agriculture a more viable source of employmentopportunities and building wealth for those citizens. Also, Governmental organizations and landownerscould be encouraged to make land available to poor Nigerians on a more equitable basis for agriculturalrelated industries, such as farming. Until such occurs, agriculture will continue to be an unviable sourceof employment opportunity and poverty alleviation for most Nigerians.Nigeria has sufficient land mass and labor resources to become a great location for labor-intensiveindustries, and thereby provide employment for the masses. Cost cognizant industries could easily bedeveloped and located in places with the most poverty stricken people in order to take advantage oflow-cost of labor and land, and as a means of economic development.Nigeria has a total land mass of 923,768 square kilometers, which comprises of 13,000 squarekilometers of water and 910,768 square kilometers of land, however, the climate varies from equatorialin the south of Nigeria, to tropical in the center, and arid in northern Nigeria. This results in much of theland not being arable, and such makes the agricultural sector unappealing as a viable source ofemployment opportunities for Nigerians. Hence, the country is not as agriculturally blessed, as it wouldseem from a review of the pre-oil boom history.In addition, the estimated population of Nigeria in 2002 was 159,934,911, which makes it difficult for asignificant proportion of such a large population to earn a living by farming in an area of 923,768 squarekilometers. Therefore, land cultivation is not a viable means of providing economic opportunities formany Nigerians.
The oil sector of Nigeria provides 20% of Gross Domestic Product, and 95% of foreign exchange earnings, and about 65% ofbudgetary revenues. Other industries in Nigeria include: coal, tin, palm oil, peanuts, cotton, rubber, wood, hides andskins, textiles, cement, food products, footwear, chemicals, fertilizer, printing, ceramics, and steel, however these industrieshave minimal impact on the foreign exchange earnings of Nigeria, because potential for utilization of such industries has notbeen maximized.Another drawback regarding utilizing agriculture as a means of providing employment opportunities for considerablenumber of the underprivileged Nigerians is that a great proportion of land in rural Nigeria where agriculture primarilyoccurs is not easily accessible or not fully utilizable because such are lineage, sacred land, privately held by largelandowners, etc. In addition, land is usually loaned or rented in rural communities in Nigeria, so many poor rural residentsdo not own sufficient land to make farming a profitable undertaking, and do not have the opportunity to accrue capital onloaned or rented land.Governmental organizations and businesses in Nigeria are yet to invest in significant amounts in development of non-petroleum industries in Nigeria, as a strategy for economic development. In addition, much poverty stricken Nigerians lackskills, knowledge, tools, beliefs, and values to seek employment opportunities in non-petroleum industries.People who lack skills, knowledge, tools, beliefs, and values to perform financially rewarded activities are not usuallyemployable. This results in a lack of employment opportunities, as employers tend to locate their businesses whereappropriate human resources are available. The vicious cycle of poverty and unemployment therefore continues unabated.Provision of employment opportunities to the masses is a means of ensuring participation of all citizens in the nationaldevelopment process. Lack of employment opportunities for many Nigerians has resulted in large number of Nigeriansliving in poverty. In turn, poverty leads to alienation of poor people (who are often rural residents) from political-economicfunctioning of their society. This cycle is complete when alienation further decreases these citizens interest in developingthe skills, knowledge, tools, beliefs, and values to perform financially rewarded activities.Development of varied industries in Nigeria would diversify the countrys sources of revenue, and effectively utilize theabundant labor supply of poverty stricken and unemployed Nigerians, and thereby reduce the reliance of the majority ofNigerians on oil revenue handouts. Such reliance fosters a culture of dependence on the government and institutionalizespoverty. In turn, poverty leads to alienation of poor people (who are often rural residents) from the political-economicfunctioning of the society. In, summary, effectively decreasing the number of Nigerians, especially rural residents living inpoverty by creating varied industries in Nigeria, would revitalize the Nigerian economy by providing viable options tocombat unemployment and poverty in Nigeria.
SOLUTIONSUMMARY:In order to address these unmet needs, our solution is the “Youthnnovation Hub” that willbring two basic services into the community:a)YOUTHNOVATION ACCELERATOR: a Start-Up business accelerator that will draw upon a richpipeline of entrepreneurial ideas emerging from higher institutions in Nigeria, and will leverageaccess to a network of contacts, space and broadband into fast-paced prototyping and businessdevelopment. The Youthnnovation accelerator will mobilize internal and external network toseed and fund businesses emerging from the platform. Ultimately, the Youthnnovation modelwill get entrepreneurs from ideas to funding literally in 6 months! The crucial distinction in thehub’s incubation model will be as follows: participants will come singly with their various ideasfor high impact entrepreneurship, and leave in groups…of businesses. The hub literarily willmake innovators collaborate by putting premium on team oriented solutions to uniqueproblems (by “bandstorming”), and the speed of identifying, prototyping and launching thesesolutions into revenue generating businesses in exchange for flat 5% equity.b)YOUTHNOSOURCE: is a basic service of the Youthnovation hub that will provide wages andmeaningful work via the Internet to youth who were previously earning less than a living wage.Youthnosource will bring technology skills training and paying digital work to poor youth indeveloping countries. We will achieve this by connecting youth living off less than $2 a day tomicrowork: small, digital tasks taken from a larger project that can be performed using theInternet. We will pro-vide a fair wage and valu-able job train-ing skills to those previouslyexcluded from the formal sector. This will enable people to gain skills, earn a living wage andbreak the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.
DETAIL DESCRIPTIONa)YOUTHNNOVATION hub is driven by the idea that high impact innovation is what the youths Nigeria require to breakout from the cycle of unemployment, poverty and economic despondency. The Youthnnovation Hub via theYouthnnovation accelerator will implement a collaborative start-up business incubation model of targeting final yearstudents in Nigeria with specialized technology training, and moving them from ideas developed at this stage to product& business development and ultimately funding & operations. That is, upon conclusion of the Technology Training, theyare admitted into a fast paced start-incubation process that takes them from product ideas in Week 1 to Funding in Week6.PATHWAYS TO INNOVATIONYouthnnovation Hub will provide five main services to startups and existing entrepreneurs:-1) Access to full office support2) Access to business consultants and professionals3) Access to mentors (Technical and Business mentors)4) Strategic management Advice5) Access to fundingOur programs will be divided as follows to meet the various needs of startups and entrepreneurs:-Short impact Programs: This will cater for entrepreneurs whose need does not include all of the five listed above. Theyare:i. Youthnno Consulting-- Bi-weekly first time complimentary consulting and low-cost follow-ups for start-ups at variousstages of development.ii. Youthnno Space-This service will help provide business with full office support internetaccess, stationeries, classrooms, seminar rooms, workstations, boardrooms e.t.c.iii. Youthnno pad- This will be a 4 bed, or 3 bedroom apartment. This will be for development lockdowns, in-houseretreats and temporary accommodation for business teams that have such needs.-Long Impact Programs: This will provide all the five services to the entrepreneurs and startups. The programs here willinclude:i. Youthnno Camp - The pilot phase of the full-blown process will be targeted at higher education teams of studententrepreneurs wanting to build marketable products, and float a business to monetize such. The Youthnnovation Cycleswill succeed this pilot program, and will expand beyond the higher education demographic.ii. Youthnno platform - This program will provide established early stage technology entrepreneurs with ongoing projectpursuit, follow-ups and execution support as well as expansion space and network to grow their business. iii. Youthnno preneure-In-Residence: this will be a one year corporate social responsibility program for entrepreneurswho are challenged and can exchange their skills to add value to us while they get a wavier on the fees that help thembuild their business at no cost.
b)YOUTHNOSOURCE: As part of the basic services in the youthnovation hub model, Youthnosource willprovide wages and meaningful work via the Internet to poor youth who were previously earning less thana living wage. In many developing countries, formal work is scarcely available. Workers rely on informaljobs, which often do not pay a living wage and are often not stable forms of employment. This lack ofopportunity for income keeps workers trapped in the cycle of poverty.By working with US- and Europe-based technology and data companies, Youthnosource will identifyprojects that can be done via the Internet, such as Internet research, image tagging, or transcriptionservices. Using Youthnosource’s technology platform, the Youthnovation-Hub projects will be broken downinto small pieces of work, or microwork. Youthnosource will work with in-country partners to recruit youthformerly earning below a local living wage. These recruits will receive 2-4 weeks of computer-basedtraining on the Youthnovation-Hub, including English and soft skills, to prepare them for microwork. Oncethey finish training and demonstrate proficiency, workers will begin performing microwork, and in turnbegin to earn a living wage.Youthnosource will bring employment into disadvantaged communities and will allow workers to enter theformal sector. Youthnosource will enable disadvantaged people to earn wages while building theirconfidence and skill set, with the goal of helping to lift them out of poverty permanently because at theheart of the Youthnnovation model is the need to create an affordable and quick path to innovativeentrepreneurship that maximizes the scale of non-profit techniques, with the efficiency offered by the for-profit approach to entrepreneurship development; while fostering collaborative partnership to achievethese ends.YOUTHNOVATION HUB BUSINESS INCUBATION TARGETThe Youthnovation hub will support the development of new ventures contributing to sustainability.These may be technology or nontechnology businesses, though the goal is to support 80% hightechnology companies in the green tech / clean tech space.
Examples of technology businesses:• Alternative energy companies, dealing with solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, co-generation, etc. andrelated technologies• Conservation-oriented companies• Alternative fuels companies• Recycling and reuse businesses• Waste treatment and wastewater• Measurement and metrics related to sustainability• Hydroponics, greenhouses, and urban agriculture• Other environmental initiatives• Nanotechnologies that relate to sustainability• Green manufacturing companies• Green building technologiesNon-Technology Businesses:• Financial and market mechanisms related to sustainability• Technology transfer processes• Consulting and service companies supporting sustainability initiatives• Educational initiatives• NonprofitsMILESTONES6-MONTH MILESTONELaunch the YOUTHNNOVATION Hub PlatformTask 1Recruit 4 Universities and Launch Tour Events in each of the Participating SchoolsTask 2Develop an online platform to screen business plans & manage the programTask 3Implement Phase 1 of the Program- Award Cash Prizes for Top 3 Ideas in each College
12-MONTH IMPACT MILESTONETake 12 University Teams to FundingTask 1Implement Phase 2 of the Program- Identify top 12 winning ideas and awardincubationTask 2Implement a fast-pace Business Incubation Program for the 12 teamsTask 3Take the 12 teams to funding at a series of Pitch Events to Local and InternationalFundersBARRIERS & HOW WE WOULD OVERCOMEOur greatest barrier to success will be government interference and inadequatespace/funding. We will overcome the first by ensuring we keep the governmentagencies abreast of the social benefits of the sector, and by creating anenvironment of trust with policy makers. The later issue is an executionconcern, since we believe we provide a market for both entrepreneurs and investorsthat seek them; and creating the platform will be profitable in the long term as globalinvestors are increasingly interested in Africa based start-ups. Our space(infrastructure) barrier can however be overcome by the help of our friends and wellwishers; organizations like CHALLENGE:FUTURE & CEEMAN that want to partnerwith us for change!
EVALUATION FACTORSThis project sees the proposed channels as an important tool in the economicdevelopment toolkit of the area that would be a means to create new jobopportunities for area residents, create higher wage jobs, better leverageintellectual property from the University and other research institutes, contributeto the growth and success of emerging technology businesses, and as a sourceto generate new tax revenue for Nigeria. These factors would provide the long-term metrics against which to measure the success of the incubator.EXPECTED IMPACT, RESULT & OUTCOMEIn order to achieve maximum impact, our team will be committing minimum of 8hours daily to our project. Our projected impact in 2-3 years is to have impactedover 20,000 youths via the Youthnosource, and 1200 youth entrepreneurs viaYouthnovation accelerator, and adding at least 60 great companies to ourportfolio of businesses in the course of doing business, generating over15,000high paying jobs in the process and creating direct wealth and ownership for upto 270 people. In addition to this, we plan to develop fledgling initiatives like theYouthnnovation Africa Incubators Network to impact even more entrepreneursthrough the vision of our partnerships and solutions to concerns surroundinginnovation and their funding in the Africa region. Our immediate goal is tolaunch the Youthnovate Business Plan competition and the Youthnosourceplatform to scale up our program in the next year, and also to expand ourspace/staff to accommodate the increased demand.