As a student of Radford University in 2013, Tom- Chris Emewulu read an article from a local news source in Ghana which reported that about 66,000 young people graduate from tertiary institutions every year but only about 3% are integrated into formal employment within the first year; this spurred him to establish Stars From all Nations (SFAN) to equip youths with the skills and opportunities they need to turn their passion into a business or career. Zumalo’s Opeyemi Olugbemiro had a chat with Chris and writes.
Recent projections show that from 2000 to 2050, Africa’s population will rise by 160%, turning most countries in the region into labour abundant economies. This demographic change has important implications for the region’s development dynamics and comparative advantage.
To leverage this huge asset, Chris explains that the SFAN team aims to solve the disconnect that results from a gap between education and industry requirements, lack of opportunities for support services and lack of a new network of business enterprises.
“Everything we do at SFAN is based on a very simple premise: we believe that young people are smart and if given the skills and opportunities to engage the real world, magic will happen” – Tom-Chris Emewulu(Founder and President, SFAN)
To achieve this mission, Tom-Chris and his team pioneered two event series; Quantum Leap Career Fair and Future Executives Business Breakfast Meeting beginning in March 2015. These meetings have hosted high profile executives from major multi-nationals, diplomats, startup entrepreneurs, investors and the media with the impact reaching over 300,000 people in Ghana and beyond, and have created nearly 220 jobs and business opportunities. The live streams have been viewed from over 16 countries around the world.
A special edition of the career fair has been held for 2 cohorts of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative West Africa with over 20 firms participating and in May this year, SFAN collaborated with the Embassy of Netherlands in Ghana to organize the first-ever GNBCC Education And Career Fair 2017.
The vision of the startup is to raise the next generation of African leaders through the accomplishment of the following goals:
CAREER TRANSITIONING – Help young people have a smooth transition from education to employment through mentorship, capacity development, and job/internship placement.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT – Offer opportunities for youths to turn their passion into a business by creating platforms for networking, incubation, and funding.
COMMUNITY BUILDING – Build a community of change agents and doers.
But only events don’t cut it and Chris understands, so the team is taking it a notch higher. “Inasmuch as the events have been very successful in creating brilliant networking, job placement, and knowledge sharing platforms, they do not always provide a long shelf-life of impact. To this end, SFAN is creating a web-based skills development platform named as Readyforwork which will serve as a one-stop shop for young people and business owners that are serious about taking their career or businesses further, faster”, he added.
Readyforwork is expected to launch later this year, with a goal to impact one million youth by 2020. The platform provides entry-level job seekers and young entrepreneurs with skills for employment and entrepreneurship. It aims to improve access to quality tools to build a career or become a better entrepreneur and connect with world-class mentors.
With more platforms like this springing up across the continent, the goal of building a ready and skilled Africa to cope with the next digital and workplace revolution would be achieved.
Are you ready for work? find out soon.