Photo by: www.premiumtimesng.com/archive
In 2014, during the National Immigration Service Recruitment in Nigeria, about 6.5 million youths stormed to apply for a meager 4,000 jobs. Putting the figures in a clearer perspective, this meant that the ratio of the applicants to the jobs is 1,625 to 1. This caused overcrowding, exhaustion and eventually a stampede which led to a tragedy that took away 16 lives and left hundreds injured.
The effects of unemployment devastate Nigerian youths up to this day. While many would sit back and complain about national issues, Ogunbowale Olugbenga, a vast digital marketer and speaker, would choose to do otherwise.
Ogunbowale’s interest in socio-economic development stemmed from that devastating event in 2014. He grew tired of watching frustrated, angry youths complain about poverty and engaging in vices like drug trafficking, oil-bunkering, and terrorism. He decided to change this trend by empowering them and businesses through an innovative combination of industry-required Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills and brand engagement.
Today, Ogunbowale’s work is built around the use of ICTs in socio-economic development like job creation through Epower - a digital marketing company he founded to help organizations engage with their target audience and improve their bottom-line using digital tools like still and motion graphics, and internet solutions.
Epower’s Office, Ibadan.
Social Impact to Date
With over 2,800 students trained, Ogunbowale has a consistent track record of successfully implemented projects. Through digital skills development, these projects have made a genuine impact in the lives of young people.
In recognition of his efforts in his community, Ogunbowale was selected as a business trainer for the ‘She Leads Africa and Facebook Program’ to deliver digital marketing training to over 2000 entrepreneurs across Nigeria.
Back in 2016, he was acknowledged as one of the top 50 emerging entrepreneurs in Nigeria by Diamond Bank and the Enterprise Development Center of Pan Atlantic University. Early this year, he was recognized as one of the 1,000 entrepreneurs whose ideas will shape Africa by Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP). He was also selected as an associate fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, United Kingdom.
With such accomplishments, many would have become complacent. But Ogunbowale saw it as the beginning of greater things. He has since then, continued to strive towards greater feats.
Turning a Challenge into a Business Strategy
Initially, Ogunbowale and his small, close knit team set out to tackle unemployment by helping youth get high paying jobs through ICT by way of teaching them a mix of industry-required ICT skills and branding. Simultaneously, they want to give them the opportunity to work on real projects from corporate and individual clients. However, this model proved unsustainable. At the same time, Epower also witnessed an upsurge in the demand for consulting services.
“This is why Epower now focuses more on delivering digital marketing solutions to help businesses enhance their brand and amplify their bottom line”, says Ogunbowale. “The ability to connect disadvantaged Nigerian youth to ICT-driven opportunities avails Epower’s team the competitive edge to offer socio-economic value and imbibe entrepreneurial skills among the targeted group.”, he added.
Ogunbowale Olugbenga at Epower’s Office, Ibadan
When asked about Ogunbowale’s plan moving forward, “Our plan is to become Nigeria’s foremost digital marketing firm committed to significantly create lasting corporate brands and reduce unemployment in Nigeria”, he responded.
Ogunbowale has proven that problems are best solved locally. It helps to seek international support and learn from best practices but it is more essential to look within. Rather than complain, you can decide to think of a solution to even just one problem faced by your community today. It is important to always believe in your dreams and to be realistic in setting goals.