'Gbenga Sesan

Paradigm Initiative Nigeria

Paradigm Initiative Nigeria connects underserved youth with ICT-enabled opportunities in Nigeria.

Focus: Information & Communication Technology, Employment
Geographic Area of Impact: Nigeria
Model: Hybrid-Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 7,335 (2013)
Annual Budget: USD $ 183,000 (2013)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 60% (2013)

Nigeria currently has an unemployment rate of 23.9%. With 70% of its population below the age of 35, Nigerian youth employment stands at 50% of the total population and this totals 64 million youth that are currently unemployed. Moreover, the majority of the youth is at a further disadvantage because of their socio-economic status. What would have been an opportunity to leverage new technologies for this large segment of unemployed youth is bedeviled by another problem – cybercrime. In 2012, Nigeria lost $13.55B (equivalent to 45.7% of its 2012 budget or 4.97% of GDP) to consumer cybercrimes. In addition there are currently very few entrepreneurial training programs that empower young people from underserved communities through information and technology.

Innovation and Activities
Paradigm Initiative Nigeria’s vision is to connect underserved young Nigerians with ICT-enabled opportunities in order to improve their livelihoods. Solving these twin problems – unemployment and cybercrime – are at the heart of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria’s strategy. Its model involves a two-pronged approach including Capacity Building/ICT Empowerment and ICT Policy interventions.

Paradigm Initiative’s activities include Ajegunle.org, a capacity development initiative that connects the community’s youth with ICT/Entrepreneurship training, internship and mentorship opportunities, TENT an in- school program that helps university students spend their school-time acquiring relevant ICT skills in order to graduate with a business plan instead of solely with CVs and a comprehensive ICT Policy intervention program built on the Internet Safety Security and Privacy Initiative for Nigeria (PIN), a social campaign that is tackling cybercrime issues in Nigeria.

Ajegunle.org and TENT help empower young people through tailored information and technology programs whilst the ICT Policy intervention helps address the issue of cybercrime, whilst also ensuring that the rights of Internet users are not affected. In addition to the core programs, PIN offers income-generating ICT training and Social Media consultancy to private or non-profit organizations that need them, working with Paradigm Initiative Nigeria’s graduates as implementing partners. Current partners include the Peery Foundation, Internews, Microsoft, and Google.

The Entrepreneur
‘Gbenga Sesan founded Paradigm Initiative Nigeria in 2007. Originally trained as an Electronic & Electrical Engineer, ‘Gbenga completed executive education programs at Lagos Business School, Oxford University, Stanford University (Social Entrepreneurship) and Harvard University (Science, Technology and Innovation Policy). In 2012 he was listed by CNN as one of the top 10 leading African tech voices to follow on twitter and by Venture Africa as one of the 40 African legends under 40. He is an Ashoka fellow and has served on his country’s Presidential Committees on ICT Restructuting (2006-2007) and Broadband (2012-2013).