Hi, I'm Adebiyi.

As a young Nigerian software developer, levelling up in your skills might not be the easiest thing to do on your own. Upon graduation from the Federal Univerity of Technology Akure, I made the effort to begin building my skills in the field.

Joining the Innovate for Africa fellowship in 2021 not only exposed me to other skills and opportunities but placed me in a community of like-minds where I can collaborate towards achieving my self-development. The fellowship kicked off in January 2021 with an intense 4-weeks training program called the Innovation Readiness Training where a team of professionals and educators from Harvard and MIT put ~30 fellows through sessions on design thinking, strategic thinking, personal branding, and hard skills lab where I decided to build a skill in digital marketing. We were also trained to imbibe certain IFA values needed in modern startups today; they include. grit, innovation, collaboration, growth mindset, inclusivity and diversity.

The training began with the personal branding session where I understood how to market myself as a brand, how to be professional in communicating better. Next was design thinking where I got to collaborate and build a solution to a common challenge facing cities in Nigeria, human logistics. After three weeks of market research and prototyping, my team came up with; TRANSIX, a solution to address traffic congestion in the metropolitan city of Lagos, Nigeria.

The most challenging part of the fellowship for me was the Hard skills lab as I chose the digital marketing track which was something quite new to me. I was assigned a mentor, Lanre Nathaniel-Ayodele, he has experience in the industry and was able to guide and support me when needed. This session truly helped me learn grit because of the volume of information I had to process.

I find it difficult to believe that as a novice digital marketer, I was able to consult for Kanin Energy, an energy startup on their digital marketing project. All thanks to IFA, and their amazing team of facilitators for the opportunity.

Finally, we had sessions on strategic analysis. Using a case study, we learnt how to map out an organisation and identify its various systems and processes. We learnt how to analyze the strengths and weaknesses using SWOT analysis and map out strategies that would aid in achieving the goals of an organisation,

My favourite part of the fellowship had to be the guest speaker sessions. I had the opportunity of learning from the experiences of some individuals like Faith Adesemowo; CEO of Social Lender, Vivian Nwakah; founder of MEDSAF, Chiedo John; a Senior Engineering Manager at GitHub, and Efosa Ojomo; co-author of The Prosperity Paradox. It was eye-opening hearing these people talk. I learnt a lot from these sessions and was able to connect with some of the speakers.

At the end of the training, it was quite evident that without imbibing grit, innovation and other IFA values, one would be incapable of completing the training. All in all, the one-month Innovation Readiness Training was intensive and energy-consuming but I can't think of a more productive way to have spent my January as I have added a new skill to my portfolio.

Partnering with a startup like yours will be an incredible learning experience for fellows like Adebiyi, IN ADDITION to helping your startup accelerate with passionate African innovators.

Sign in to our IFA Portal to see the range of talent that can join your startup today.

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