Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million people, is well known as Africa’s largest and most youthful country – but did you know that by 2050, Nigeria’s population is expected to nearly double, reaching 377 million people?
Young people will account for roughly 70% of this population. This youth bulge poses a serious challenge to Nigeria’s efforts to overcome poverty and inequality, with job demand expected to skyrocket while unemployment remains a reality for many Nigerians.
To prepare for this demographic shift, young Nigerians must consider innovation and entrepreneurship as a viable career option as well as a means of creating jobs and new opportunities for their communities.
However, this is not an easy path, and many young entrepreneurs lack the necessary knowledge, resources, training, and network. It is therefore critical that we recognise the important role that young people play in creating the Nigeria of the future – and it begins by giving them a platform to be seen.
As a result, here are ten inspiring Nigerian youth innovators from Ekiti State to keep an eye on in 2023 as the country strives to build a better tomorrow:
1. TechHead Nigeria
TechHead Nigeria is a one-stop shop for automated household devices, bringing limitless possibilities to homes through the use of Artificial Intelligence (Al) and a smart device ecosystem.
This concept arose from a love of engineering and modern technology. According to the team, while AI is still in its early stages, and new innovations and devices emerge on a daily basis, the technology is ready to be commercialized for home use, and TechHead aims to ensure that Ado Ekiti and Nigeria do not fall behind.
2. ORMD Datalab
ORMD Datalab is a company that trades in memes – an AI-powered mobile application that uses automated algorithms to create memes and humorous captions from any event or situation, and then shares them with your friends for viewing.
Users can also trade their memes for money and any intellectual property they create using ORMD Datalab’s AI algorithms.
Gigsdev is constructing an innovation and technology incubation center (a “technology village”) in Ekiti State to foster innovation. They want to provide 24 hours of uninterrupted electricity and internet connections for innovators and computer technology personnel to conduct continuous and uninterrupted research and development.
In doing so, the village hopes to foster mentorship and solution incubation using locally sourced raw materials.
Motivar is a social enterprise dedicated to addressing the distribution issue of digital skill training and education, particularly for young people who have limited access due to financial or social circumstances.
The company, which was founded in 2014, aims to provide learner support services and to be the most convenient way for students to find, begin, and complete digital courses. The five-person team has just finished the first of four stages of their pilot, with the goal of distributing the service through software products and community centers.
5. The Health City
The concept for The Health City arose from a survey conducted by the team, which revealed that more than 70% of respondents handle the majority of their sexual-related health issues on their own or with the assistance of their friends. This prompted the team to create a chatbot on their website that allows Nigerian youth to speak with a doctor for free about their sexual health concerns.
Due to the overwhelming demand, the Health City had to place restrictions on this chat box, which inspired them to develop a comprehensive solution. For a fee, youth can access a variety of sexual health services, such as virtual consultations, referrals to physical services (such as lab testing and pharmacies), and accurate sexual health information via a website.
Rice Inventory Storage and Exchange (or RISE) is a commodity storage system that provides electronic receipts to customers who store their goods on the premises. These receipts can then be traded between farmers or buyers and redeemed when goods are removed from storage.
This is all in an effort to support farmers in their post-harvest stage by giving them access to storage facilities and harvest protection products, such as Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) storage bags and chemicals like Actellic Super. In the future, RISE hopes to provide farmers with access to short-term loans and to create opportunities for smallholder farmers to store their paddy for a longer period of time before selling it, allowing them to earn the most money from their crop.
7. Raising Royals
School curricula are frequently chastised for failing to emphasize the non-academic aspects of raising a child; to address this, Raising Royals is utilizing internet-based communications technology to provide non-academic lessons to young people across the county.
Raising Royals, which focuses on topics such as leadership, financial education, sex education, resilience, and character, arose from the belief that more could be done to better prepare students for life ahead, with the team dedicated to achieving this mission.
8. Solarify Africa
Solarify Africa is a youth-led organization with two distinct missions: to eradicate energy poverty in Nigeria’s rural communities and educational institutions, and to provide secondary school students with access to the internet, tech gadgets, educational software, and training to bring the education system into the twenty-first century.
This vision was sparked by the initiative of Mr Ayodele Fayose, the former Governor of Ekiti State, who provided the team with laptops, internet access, and software while they were studying at Ekiti State Government College.
wRide is a transportation innovation that uses digitization and data science to improve bike transportation in Ekiti State. wRide hopes to see the Ekiti bike transportation system digitized and corporateized within the next three years.
Safebuy is a digital marketplace that connects farmers, vendors, and customers looking for a reliable platform to buy, sell, and trade fresh produce. All of this is done to increase the visibility of food providers by providing a space for users to browse all of their regular items, order them for same-day delivery, and pay for them in a secure and affordable manner.
While still in the development stage, SafeBuy is on track to deliver a roadmap with all essential features this year and begin its journey to becoming a market leader in Nigeria.
To support the growth and scalability of these youth-led innovations, Innovate UK KTN has partnered with the Lagos Business School’s Enterprise Development Centre through their Global Alliance Africa project to upskill their entrepreneurial expertise and provide them with pitch training ahead of the opportunity to showcase their unique ideas to a global platform of innovation investors, advocates, and enablers.