In November 2016, Bloomberg reported that Nigeria had reached roughly over 182 million, “with more than half its people under 30 years of age, putting a severe strain on a nation suffering from a slowing economy and declining revenue to provide enough schools and health facilities.” Director General of the National Population Commission, Ghaji Bello, said this estimate was based on the population of 140 million recorded in the last census over a decade ago. The country has boomed from its over 45 million population in 1960, and so have the various problems that have plagued the giant of Africa.
However, the vibrancy of the young Nigerian has appeared to inflate as opposed to Nigeria’s political or economical growth. Amidst the cries for political stability and credible economic and financial infrastructure, the enduring spirit of our youth seeks to fight for survival using various avenues – entrepreneurship, entertainment, tech startups, etc. Areas with youth-focused ‘capital’ have begun thriving in spite of numerous calls for strike action, prolonged strike, increasing rate of unemployment. A report in the vanguard.com has shown that the number of unemployed Nigerians rose by 3.3 million to 20.9 million in the third quarter of 2018, only.
The entrepreneurial spirit in the Nigerian youth has served as a fuel and thankfully, others within the shores have taken notice. MTN Nigeria kick started the maiden edition of its Pulse Invasion series in July 2018 at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly known as the University of Ife) where hundreds of young students were held spell bound for the five-day duration of the event. One of the biggest draws for the event was the Pulse Talk Series that had famed beauty entrepreneur, Bimpe Onakoya, and life and business strategist, Steve Harris. Students gathered in droves to listen to two people who had once been in their shoes and made it ‘out’.
Onakoya built a thriving beauty empire from scratch and pure determination. Harris was a two-time college dropout who now coaches CEOS and tycoons. They were the perfect people to get the attention of the young ones to listen and learn. An extensive Google training followed, that covered using the internet to expand the entrepreneurial footprints of the students.
By October 1st, the second edition of the year had begun in earnest at the University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River. Excitement coloured the air as impactful entrepreneurial skills was expertly served with the right doses of fun and excitement. Over the course of two months, tertiary institutions in Ogun, Delta and Kwara states received the Pulse Invasion treatment.
One of the most impressive aspects of the series has been the vastness of the fields of those who anchored the motivational sessions – Pulse Talk Series. Tech entrepreneur and co-founder at Jobberman (an online career portal from Nigeria), Opeyemi Awoyemi; Actor, film producer and director, Kunle Afolayan; Beauty entrepreneur and owner of the Tara beauty line of cosmetics, Tara Fela-Durotoye; Nkechi Founder of Aso Ebi Bella (Nigerian online wedding magazine), Nkechi ‘Ink’ Eze; Bisola Dakolo (professional photographer), and many others.