“We’ll show IT startups the avenues through which to limit business risks while giving those seeking career redirection the route to success”.
Without adequate mentoring it will be difficult for today’s young champs to overcome the turbulences or risks associated with nurturing businesses.
The Founder of Lighthouse Hub, Yetunde Johnson expressed this view while expatiating on the establishment of Lighthouse Hub that has been in operation in Obalende, Lagos Island, for close to two years.
Lighthouse Hub is the brainchild of Slingshot Technologies.
Entrepreneurship is as old as man, but the borough called ‘Start-up’ is relatively new in this environment. Hence pre-incubation and incubation hubs are fast springing in Nigeria.
While most tend to operate as ‘fund raisers’ (which is good) for the start-ups, atimes the start-ups lack the marketing/presentation skills to attract venture capitals/investors’ interests. It is a pain-point for many start-ups which Lighthouse Hub thinks must be addressed for the benefit of the community.
According to Johnson, the Hub recognizes mentoring, training, encouraging and guiding the start-ups as launchpad to propel them into developing and branding ubiquitous solutions, such that (investors) venture capitalists can’t turn them down. “Upcoming entrepreneurs need to be set on the right path in order to reach their potentials”, he believes.
“Lighthouse guides you to where you are going, safely. So, we are here to guide anybody that seeks to be inspired and ready to move to the next stage of achievement.
“We took a risk and we are still taking risks to make it happen. When we moved into the building, the core team took on the job of setting things right, from the electricity to decors and other works. We did this by ourselves and the funding had come from Slingshot’s consulting fees and money we have raised internally,” she said.
Why is Lighthouse doing this?
“We believe that if you give young people responsibility with the right training and mentoring, they will get to their destination. Imagine if you take an army of young people in technology or business and expose them to adequate training, the gains will be much.
But, Johnson has a concern
“My only worry: young people tend to separate themselves from the older people. It is such a fundamental mistake. There should be a ‘marrying’ of the two; it takes the raw energy of the young people and the experience or exposure of the older people to move us to a different place, the right place’, Johnson said.
Internship: Lighthouse hub way of grooming young people
She said, “It has been difficult in the country for organisations to take-on young people due to the cost required to groom them to a level where they are productive. Therefore, we are trying to give them (young people) hands-on experience in IT. They are here for real life tasks to develop their skills. We have six pioneer interns”.
“One of the key things is that our interns follow us to meeting businesses. On one of such occasions, I spoke to a client and the company was willing to take four interns, train and pay them stipends. At the end of six month one will be selected, as a permanent staff. More employers need to do that.
“You can’t develop a skill if you don’t give experience. You can’t keep people unemployed because they don’t have the right skills or certification, yet you don’t provide the right environment for that. You can make it tax deductible whereby every business is involved in training m the young people . Businesses can not just be sitting by the corner; not want to assist in job creation. They should train our youths to be employable”.
“Lighthouse Hub,” Johnson added, “will show IT startups the avenues through which to limit business risks while giving those seeking career redirection the route to success.
“Our costs are seemingly the lowest in Lagos and you can still get zero entrance. When we train somebody, we do it thoroughly. But people aren’t turning up. We did training on WordPress which anybody can take up and begin to make money. We had little or no turn out.
“There is something wrong with the present generation that must be addressed. Some of the best IT trainers are in Nigeria, but the young people are not paying attention. We did a programme for teachers in collaboration with Teachers Nigeria; they tend to train teachers on how to use Google related research tools. They were so disappointed.
Part of this article first appeared in Nigeria CommunicationsWeek.