By Modupe Gbadeyanka
There’s just something about the word space. Everyone craves it. Young people guard and sometimes, deify it. Individuals, businesses, and nations would give anything to safeguard it. And when you add the word safe before it, a whole new meaning is formed. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of today’s world is ensuring safe spaces. This is the focus of the 2018 International Youth Day Celebration.
Increasingly, we are witnessing young people engage more actively in issues that affect their future and wellbeing. For example, around the world, the #NotTooYoungToRun movement has gained momentum and even in countries where the voices of young people were hardly ever heard or given any importance, we are witnessing a new wave of recognition for the role of young people. In Nigeria, a bill reducing the age for holding or contesting for political office was recently passed. Now, young people can be voted into critical offices in the country which was hitherto impossible due to constitutional constraints. Today, there is a wave of young people contesting for various key offices ahead of the forthcoming elections in 2019.
While this is a big win for young people all around the world, such a win was only made possible because an enabling environment to have such conversations freely was created. These conversations are propelled by sundry sustainable development interventions and the social media. Youths now have a voice of their own, leading to an unprecedented wave of young leaders since the dawn of the 21st century.
Energy Giant, Sahara Group reiterates the need for the global collaboration towards providing opportunities and safe spaces for young people to pursue their aspirations. “As a leading international energy and infrastructure conglomerate, we are passionate about promoting youth empowerment, especially at our locations in over 38 countries across Africa, Middle East, Europe and Asia. We call it giving wings to aspirations,” says Bethel Obioma, the company’s head of corporate communications.
The Sahara workforce comprises 65 percent youth population, a unique collection of vibrant young men and women of who add incalculable value to the energy giant’s continuing growth. These young experts churn out innovative ideas from the sanctuary of the safe spaces that the organization provides – a work environment that celebrates diversity with zero tolerance for all manner of discrimination.
Recently, Sahara signed on Zuriel Oduwole, a 16-year-old girl education advocate as its ambassador. Working with Zuriel as Sahara’s Girl Child Education Ambassador, the partnership is expected to amplify the message of gender equality and access to quality education to world leaders as well as other stakeholders.
Apparently excited about the project, Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Manager Sahara Foundation says, “It is a good day for African girls where most of the projects will be executed and even a better day for girls all around the world. After all, one empowered girl is a huge leap towards the emergence of a better world.”
Of key significance, in terms of our contribution to the empowerment of young people and the creation of safe spaces for them, is our virtual extrapreneurship hub. This platform goes beyond providing a safe space for young people to interact and develop by also providing and connecting them to opportunities that help them grow, create impact, and reach their aspirations.
Offline, Sahara collaborates with various stakeholders to provide safe spaces to nurture the dreams of young people. A case in point is the renovation and state of the art upgrade of the industrial kitchen at the Lagos State Vocational Centre in Surulere where over six hundred young people in the Surulere community annually acquire food-making skills in an atmosphere that promotes learning and engenders creativity. This results in improved income generating capacity for the beneficiaries in line with goal 8 of the SDGs – Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Similar interventions have been implemented in countries across Africa including Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
In partnership with Enactus Nigeria, Sahara encourages innovations among undergraduates who design brilliant and transformative sustainable solutions to address the Sustainable Development Goals. Sahara Foundation has supported the Enactus Nigeria National Competition where these innovations from students of different institutions around the Nigeria and showcase. Recently, the partnership was reloaded to support some of the innovators to create marketable and scalable products out of their solutions.
In 2016, Sahara launched the Grooming Film Extrapreneurs initiative aimed at promoting a hub of enterprise that connects budding filmmakers with stakeholders that can help hone their skills to enhance productivity, excellence, and sustainability. In its first year, three finalists were granted an internship with Kunle Afolayan, one of Africa’s ace movie directors as well as sponsored for furthering skills development at the London Film School.
The second edition of the initiative had over one hundred girls (15 to 20 years old) from three West African Countries – Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria – acquire basic film-making and editing training from one of the world’s youngest film-makers, Zuriel Oduwole. These interventions not only empower the beneficiaries for self-reliance and improved economic capacity, it also helps girls/women who are the major beneficiaries attain an increased sense of self-worth, self-belief, and confidence to take on big goals.
Sahara’s commitment to the development of young people has led to interventions in line with goal four of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Quality Education. From the rehabilitation of seven classrooms and an upgrade of the Technical Workshop at the Manhean Senior Secondary School in Ghana to the upgrade of the library at Pugu Secondary School in Tanzania, Sahara Group remains committed to the improvement of education for young people across Africa. In addition, in the past four years, over 100 full scholarships covering tuition, uniforms, books, and feeding during schooling hours have been given to secondary school students in Nigeria who would otherwise have been unable to get an education.
David Ekugum one of Sahara Foundation’s young program officers explains that Sahara’s interventions have also enhanced access to water and sanitary facilities in schools and communities, resulting in the wellbeing of students. Over the years, Sahara Foundation has implemented numerous Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes in schools and communities across Africa. This includes over fifty borehole projects in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Nigeria; toilet constructions in schools where they were either dilapidated or none existent including schools in Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania. These interventions have resulted in improved school attendance but particularly improved safety for the students who prior to such interventions had to use bushes as their toilet. ” In our experience, girls have been the biggest beneficiaries of our SWASH (School Water Sanitation and Hygiene) Projects as open/bush defecation/urination put them at more risk than boys. The toilets constructed provide safe spaces of hygiene for these students,” says David who is passionate about the SDG for all mantra.
As the world celebrates the International Youth Day 2018, Sahara Group reaffirms its commitment to giving wings to young people’s aspirations by creating an enabling environment and safe spaces for them to express their talent and enterprise.
Google Unveils Startups Accelerator for African Women Founders
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
An initiative aimed at empowering and supporting women founders in Africa has been launched by Google. It is called Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program.
It is an extension of the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa program established in 2017, reflecting Google’s dedication to supporting startups and addressing the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Africa.
Through the programme, African women entrepreneurs will receive resources and opportunities to scale their startups and address African problems.
Intending participants can apply via g.co/acceleratorafrica before the February 20, 2023, deadline. Eligible applicants must have a working product or service, a viable business model, and a working team. The application process includes a written application and an interview with the program team.
The 12-week program will commence in March 2023 and include one bootcamp per month, held in a hybrid style of online and in-person sessions. Selected participants will receive access to Google’s products, mentoring from industry experts, resources, tools, and technology, as well as networking opportunities and connections with investors to support the growth of their startups.
“We are excited about the open call for applications for our 3-month accelerator program, specifically tailored to address the unique challenges faced by women founders in Africa. We believe that investing in women founders in Africa is critical for economic empowerment that will enable the creation of jobs for the growing African youth population,” says Folarin Aiyegbusi, head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa at Google.
African female founders face challenges in their entrepreneurial pursuits, including limited access to funding. Despite these challenges, women make up a significant portion of African entrepreneurs, with 58 per cent of African businesses owned by women.
“Elevating the participation and leadership of women in the entrepreneurship ecosystem is crucial for promoting gender equality and driving economic growth in Africa. Investing in women-led startups is a key step towards achieving this goal, and Google’s commitment to these goals is reflected in the launch of the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program,” added Aiyegbusi.
The Women Founders will be mentored by industry experts who will guide and support the selected participants throughout the program. They will be instrumental in helping startups achieve their full potential and positively impact their communities.
Akua Nyame-Mensah, a mentor for the program, said, “It’s an honour to be a mentor in the inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator Program for Women Founders. As part of supporting the next generation of leaders in Africa, this program offers women an opportunity to grow their networks and the accountability to achieve their professional goals. The focus on mentorship will be invaluable. Participants will benefit and grow from the exchange of ideas and experiences.”
Egbin Power Renovates Ijede Police Station
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Egbin Power Plc has been commended for rehabilitating the Ijede Police Station in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State through and Sahara Foundation.
The facility was renovated to boost security in Ijede, Egbin and Ipakan communities. The project was commissioned on Thursday, January 26, 2023, with representatives from the Nigeria Police Force, Egbin Power, Sahara Foundation, and stakeholders from the communities in attendance.
“We express deep appreciation to Egbin Power and Sahara Group for this beautifully renovated project. We want to assure them that what they have done today will be properly maintained, and we extend our hands of fellowship to them and the people of these communities.
“I want to reassure them that we will continue to render better security to the communities,” the Lagos State Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of Administration, Mr Ewah Bassey, commented.
He further stated that the project would go a long way in boosting the morale of the officers at the station and supporting the police officers’ efforts towards promoting peace and security in the community.
While commending the firms, the Area Commander, Area ‘N’ Ijede Division, ACP S. K. Bawa, noted that the renovation project carried out by Egbin Power Plc, and Sahara Foundation was a noteworthy initiative, which would further boost security in the communities and improve the welfare of officers in the police station.
Similarly, the Obateru of Egbin Kingdom, Oba Adeoriyomi Oyebo, applauded Sahara Foundation and Egbin for enhancing security in the communities through the intervention.
“From the project we have just commissioned, I want to commend the efforts of the management of Egbin Power and Sahara Foundation. This is the kind of cooperation that exists between the organizations, the communities, and the police.
“I want to urge the police, especially at the divisional level here at Ijede, to make good use of the laudable project and make sure that the project is sustained and maintained,” the monarch said.
In his remarks, the chief executive of Egbin Power, Mr Mokhtar Bounour, explained that the company, through Sahara Foundation, has further demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by making an impact in the lives of people and adding value to communities where the organizations operate.
He disclosed that the project was part of Egbin Power’s commitment to enhancing infrastructure development, socio-economic growth, and effective policing to promote safety and security in the company’s host communities.
“This initiative is part of our strategy at Egbin Power Plc to be closer to the communities where we operate. The police are a vital part of our stakeholders in society, and we appreciate the effort and resources they apply to deliver adequate security to protect lives and property. We also know they are doing their best to keep people and property safe in our communities.
“So, through projects of this nature, we will continue to demonstrate our encouragement and support for them in discharging their duties and making a difference,” he said.
In her remarks, the Director for Governance & Sustainability at Sahara Group, Ms Ejiro Gray, said, “the intention of this initiative is to ensure that our Police officers who risk their lives every day and night to secure lives and property in our communities are able to perform their duties in a conducive atmosphere and with the right infrastructure and facilities.
“So, this is one of the ways we are contributing our quota to that agenda of promoting access to energy, a sustainable environment by transforming lives and livelihood at Sahara Foundation, Sahara Group and by extension Egbin Power Plc.
“We cannot talk about making an impact without providing adequate security of lives and property, which is a core component of the wellbeing of every society and community.”
Effective Tips & Tricks for Attracting New Clients
Attracting new clients is essential for the growth and success of any business. Here are 14 effective tips to help you attract new clients and boost your business:
Network, Network, Network
Networking is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to bring in new clients. Attend business conferences, join groups and organizations, and connect with other business owners within your industry. Building relationships and making connections with potential clients is a great way to get your name out there and generate new business.
Leverage Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool for attracting new clients. Create a strong online presence by regularly updating your profiles and engaging with your followers. Share valuable content and participate in relevant online conversations to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Optimize Your Website
Your website is often the first impression potential clients have of your business. Make sure it is professional, easy to navigate, and optimized for search engines. Include clear calls to action and make it easy for visitors to contact you or learn more about your services.
Offer a Free Consultation or Trial
Offering a free consultation or trial is a great way to attract new clients. It gives potential clients a chance to see the value of your services without any commitment and can help them to make a more informed decision about working with you.
Use Referral Marketing
Ask satisfied clients to refer their friends and family to your business. This can be a powerful way to attract new clients, as people are more likely to trust recommendations from people they know and respect.
Leverage Email Marketing
Email marketing can be a great way to attract new clients. Create a targeted email campaign that highlights your services and offers valuable information to potential clients. Use email marketing to stay in touch with your current clients, and nurture the relationships you already have.
Hosting events can be a great way to attract new clients. You can host a networking event, a workshop, or a launch party. Events give you the opportunity to showcase your services, connect with potential clients, and generate new business.
Get Active in Your Community
Getting active in your community can be a great way to attract new clients. Volunteer, sponsor local events, and get involved with local organizations. By showing your support for your community, you can establish yourself as a respected and trusted business leader.
Use Paid Advertising
Consider using Google AdWords or social media advertising to reach a larger audience and generate more leads.
Take Advantage of Voice API
There are several ways to use a voice API to attract new clients, such as developing voice-enabled apps or services. You can create an app or service that utilizes voice commands and natural language processing to provide a more convenient and engaging user experience. You can also use the technology to optimize your website and content for voice search, which increases visibility and attracts potential clients who are searching for your products or services using voice commands.
Offer Special Promotions
Offering special promotions and discounts can be a great way to attract new clients. Consider offering a discount on your services or a free bonus when someone signs up for your services.
Use Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing can be a great way to attract new clients. Identify influencers in your industry and reach out to them to see if they would be willing to promote your services.
Create Valuable Content
Creating valuable content can be a great way to attract new clients. Share your expertise through blog posts, videos, and social media updates. By providing valuable information and answering your potential client’s questions, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field and attract new clients.
Analyze Your Competitors
Analyze your competitors to see what they are doing to attract new clients. See what your competitors are doing right and where they lag, which could present opportunities to gain a competitive advantage. Use that information to your advantage and improve upon it to attract new clients.
Attracting new clients is vital for the growth and success of any business. By implementing the tips outlined in this article, you can increase your visibility, reach new audiences, and convert potential clients into paying customers.
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