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Saturday, 9 August 2014

Meet 4 Young Nigerian Entrepreneurs Who Transformed Their Lives Using The Internet

Today, the internet has become a powerful tool in the hands of many young people. While many are busy indulging in negative vices using the internet, others are learning, getting informed and using the web to bring about change and make a positive impact. Read the story of these 4 young Nigerian entrepreneurs who used the internet to transform their lives.

Eseoghene Odiete is the Creative Director at Hesey Designs, a fashion outfit that specializes in making bags in Lagos. Through Google Search and YouTube, this fashion entrepreneur learnt how to create handbags, and found contacts for blogs and magazines to feature her products. In addition to emerging one of the 5 most inspiring web stories in Africa at the Google “Africa Connected” competition, she recently emerged one of the winners of the the British council enterprise challenge and as part of the winning prize, met Sir Richard Branson for a mentoring session in the UK.

To date, over 100 blogs have featured her designs, thus bringing her additional business. She sells her bags through her business website and conducts training for other women interested in learning how to create handbags and build a similar business for themselves. Her dream is to build her business into an international brand that promotes African designs.

Four years ago, when Eric Obuh, a.k.a Vocal Slender, was told about videos on him circulating on the internet, he could not have guessed how much impact that exposure would have on his life. Eric, who at the time was making a living from trading off disposed items in Lagos, had just been featured in the BBC documentary “Welcome to Lagos”. What he didn't know at the time was that the documentary had also been shared on YouTube, and the world was already talking about the Nigerian who gave up his love of music because he didn't have the means or affiliations needed to break into the music industry.

Fast forward to today, Eric has 2 music videos with thousands of views on YouTube and has performed in front of a huge crowd at London’s famous O2 Arena.  Online tools like YouTube makes it easier for individuals to access information and build followership that they could never previously have. A 2013 study by BRIU (Business Day Research and Intelligence Unit) estimated that 84 per cent of Nigerians go online for information gathering purposes. And with the cost of internet access falling and the speed of broadband accelerating, the web is going to become an increasingly powerful tool in the hands of Nigerians looking to start out in business.

Perhaps similar to this is the story of Mayowa Adegbile and her not-for-profit Ashake Foundation. Ashake Foundation is a business training institute that focuses on empowering widows with knowledge on how to start and run successful businesses. To get the funds to start the business school, Mayowa had used YouTube to post an appeal to potential sponsors. The result is the school which has today trained widowed mothers, giving them the tools to make a living and support their families.

This last story is one that sums up the doggedness and the entrepreneurial spirit of Naija, because it goes to prove that through determination and access to the right knowledge, every Nigerian, regardless of educational qualification has an opportunity to make an impact so great it reaches the entire country.
Meet Oluseyi Asurf popularly called “Asurf”. Unable to afford access to a university education, Asurf turned to YouTube to learn his craft; Videography. In his own words, “I used to spend endless hours at cybercafes watching videos on how to manage to become a videographer."

From having nothing but access to the internet, Oluseyi taught himself the use of the camera. Today, he shoots videos for some of Nigeria’s top artistes, including Wande Coal and top comedians Basket Mouth. Like the others, Asurf too is helping other young Nigerians find and actualise their aspirations in the field of videography. These four stories are part of thousands of other stories showcasing how the web is transforming the lives of Nigerians across the country. 

1 comment:

  1. That's good news, keep on inspiring the young ones.