I came into my internship sort of unsure of what to expect and what I would be doing… At first, I was doing a little bit of everything I guess. My boss is those kinds of leaders that give you the final goal and says “alright… go do it”. I felt very lost in the first weeks but once I started understanding how the environment here worked, how people networked, how my company worked it became much more smooth. As the weeks went by, I managed to ground myself on a project to make a stronger connection between Nigeria and the Silicon Valley. So, here it is… my final product:
On September 25th – 28th, 45 Nigerian executives will be coming to Silicon Valley for an Investment program where they will learn about disruptive technologies, startup investments, incubators, etc. They’ll be meeting local entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and lawyers so they can establish their own personal and professional network in the Valley area.
As I was planning for the program, I spoke to a lot of Nigerians involved in the entrepreneurial business world and many of them said the same thing… Africa is going to be the next billion users. If that is true, imagine the impact that local investors and entrepreneurs can have if they still have space and freedom to grow and establish a concrete industry, before big names like Google and Apple come in?
The goal of the program is for them to understand that change isn’t always bad. Nigeria is somewhat stuck in a more traditional economy, and as expected, has been suffering from the oil crisis. We want to bring the “top dogs”, who can make the “big” decisions in the nation, in order to open their eyes to new industries that may not always be the most obvious.
Nigeria is full of young “techy” entrepreneurs, but their voice is still very low. Like most of us can relate, a big portion of the unemployment in Nigeria is from the youth that has just graduated. The combination between the poor economy due to dependency on oil, and the fact that the new generations are staying away from more… conservative industries means that there is a large unemployed youth with a lot of potential. Perhaps by showing the people with more capital power and experience that investing in these young minds is worth it, we can make Lagos Africa’s Silicon Valley?