Hi, I'm Umar.

I am a passionate researcher and data analyst seeking to leave positive impressions in the field of agriculture and similar green spaces. Outside this, I love to spend time with nature by hiking and exploring my environment, I also love to travel and experience new cultures. As a versatile individual, stumbling on to the Innovation Readiness training (IRT) program became one of the most engaging and inspiring learning processes I have undertaken as it keeps exposing me to innovative strategies that inspired me to engender new hope for myself and Africa.

Being an ingenious strategy to develop Africa's innovation ecosystem, Innovate for Africa trains and inspires its youth to engage in a learning opportunity that incorporates developing ones' experiences, the IRT is a 4-week innovation readiness program where fellows would undergo rigorous training on design thinking, personal branding, hard skill acquisition, and strategic analysis. They are also trained on core IFA values which are some of the important values needed in the growth of startups today, they include; Innovation, Collaboration, Grit, Growth Mindset, and Inclusivity & Diversity. This is structured and implemented by a diverse team consisting of professionals and educators from Harvard and MIT.

First, we started with the design thinking process, where we implemented the D-school bootleg design thinking process to empathize, ideate, and prototype a solution to a persisting problem. To have a practical understanding of this process, we had to collaborate to create a solution for the situation we would love to solve. This process gave birth to AGRONOVATOR, a climate-smart solution that will lead to Nigeria’s commercial agricultural revolution. It was a great experience as I saw how creative individuals can create something unique, these ideas reinstated my belief that African youths can indeed create the Africa we want.

The Hard skill lab was an opportunity to develop a skill and consult for a start-up in real-time, this was perhaps the most intensive and challenging aspect of the program for me. I nurture the aspiration to become a practising spatial data analyst in 2021, and the program gave me an indoctrination into the world of a data analyst. I worked on a data project for Splitspot. I was assigned Will Decesare; an industry expert in data analysis to mentor and guide me as I develop my skillset. My mentor has been extremely helpful and influential in my learning process and I appreciate him for this as I continue to maintain my relationship with him after the program. The delegation of mentors to the trainees is another inventive approach by the IFA team as their inputs and recommendation fast-tracked our learning processes.

Finally, I would love to express my gratitude to the individuals that I have connected with during the fellowship so far. From the IFA team to the facilitators; Omozusi Guobadia, Maria Camila and Viviana Rivera. For the fellows, I had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with Idara Uwatt, Kamaldeen Adekola, Ochanya Adah, Adeyinka Meduoye, Joy Chukwukere, Sope Ogunlaiye, Archibong Akpan, Gbolahan Kolawole, Otori Emmanuel, and a whole lot more on amazing projects.

I am glad to be part of the IFA program and I'm determined to keep the spirit alive as I am interested in improving my environment and contributing to innovations that support the cause of reducing poverty. To discover more on how much IFA has had an impact on me; click here.

Partnering with a startup like yours will be an incredible learning experience for fellows like Umar, 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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