I had thought of entrepreneurship as simply proffering solutions to the challenges of the target market without paying attention to data to substantiate whether the idea is viable or not. I have realized that the reason over 80% of businesses fail within the first few years of their establishment comes from a lack of shared thinking especially as this entirely has to do with the prospective customers regardless of the bias of the promoter or initiator of the idea.
I experienced four weeks of the Innovation Readiness Training with Innovate for Africa and the experience has been a mix of a robust learning curriculum designed to not just inspire innovation in the development of products and services but to support the initiation of creative thoughts, concerted with grit and determination to see this idea move from conception to implementation.
The curriculum was divided into four(4) categories which include;
The personal branding sessions made me understand the importance of having a well-built profile online. I had learnt firsthand, that when an organization wants to hire a professional for a job or project, the first thing they do is to utilize search engines. This audit moved me to work on the creation of a website in order to showcase my skills, experiences, qualifications and projects which could increase my chances of getting selected by an organization or client.
I eventually learnt through other sessions how to create blog posts, webpages and update my resume to an acceptable standard. What was most stunning was the creation of a one-page resume that summarizes all my professional experiences.
The design thinking course had a major lesson in that it brings together a set of techniques to set the ball of innovation rolling, which has been used by most successful start-ups that exist today.
This was the most tedious and also rewarding experience as I learnt about what a hackathon is and developed a product alongside my team to help manage health records in hospitals. I learnt to develop a pitch deck and presenting an elevator’s pitch to the judges. The validation of our digital product NimraHealth was a big success to the team.
Innovate for Africa recognizes the need to holistically understand a company, therefore the strategic analysis was directed towards digging into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of an organization. This opportunity helped me to understand more about research and business development.
Hard Skills Lab
I had applied to utilize my skills as a Data Analyst and to support the development of this skill, Innovate for Africa made a learning environment possible through paced learning by adopting a specific range of tools, tutorials and activities to internalize this skill and deploy it at work. This lifelong experience from Innovate from Africa has made me understand that the rigour in entrepreneurship is quite much and grit is needed to manage a successful start-up.
I am proud of the fact that I could contribute to a growing body of skills and knowledge by engaging with other great minds by supporting the development of the client’s (SplitSpot) strategic session, the pitch, data cleaning and analysis and proposing a recommendation to initiate growth. It was challenging at first to understand how synchronous and asynchronous sessions would happen, however as the days of experience kept increasing, my ability to learn moved very fast as I adapted to the use of the tools adopted and began to use them. I was surprised at the ability of the team to put together a robust amount of content, learning materials and exercises.
Another exciting part of the Innovate for Africa Fellowship is the exposure to a wide variety of resource persons who are themselves entrepreneurs who spoke on different subjects to support our dreams of building a start-up in the nearest future.
Faith Adesemowo, the Founder of Social Lender demonstrated through her story her grit to understanding the needs of the market in providing businesses with credit facilities to support their growth. I learnt from the sessions of Drugstoc Founder, Chibuzo Opara who had to work three jobs in order to support his business before going full time.
Michael Olurunniniwo from Y-Labs spoke about his journey into entrepreneurship and I learnt about how one could master a lot of competencies and make them converge into one single offering. I also enjoyed an interactive session while Efosa Ojomo from the Clayten Christensen Institute spoke about The Prosperity Paradox and how we can help third world nations get out of poverty through innovation.
Every other session was as insightful as other guest speakers took turns to tell us about their respective journeys and how they are adapting to the growth and price that comes with running a start-up. Moving forward, I hope to build a start-up in the logistic industry to support the movement of items from one place to another.
Partnering with a startup like yours will be an incredible learning experience for fellows like Emmanuel, 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.