Global entrepreneurship organisation Seedstars has announced the launch of its first digital entrepreneurship academy in Lagos.
The aim of the academy is to educate digital change-makers in Nigeria and enable them to spread the use of internet and digital technologies. This, Seedstars says, is aimed at helping the country combat its rampant youth unemployment rate, which according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) affects over 5.5 million individuals who are unemployed and over 12 million who are underemployed.
According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, a large part of the academy’s mission is to address the imbalance between academic knowledge and the skills required to fill gaps in the economy.
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Seedstars reckons the key to resolving this disconnect is to disrupt learning by working backwards from the unmet needs of the markets, the private sector and the entrepreneurship ecosystem and equipping students with the skills desired from those stakeholders.
The Seedstars Academy will apparently try to disrupt that disconnect by “bringing in a blend of transferable skills (entrepreneurship and soft skills) which includes effective communication, teamwork, project management, business modelling and innovation and vocational skills (digital innovation) which includes UI/UX, rapid prototyping, online marketing, analytics et al; supplemented with instilling an entrepreneurial mindset needed for students to bring meaningful change with digital entrepreneurship”.
Interestingly, students selected for the programme don’t have to pay or find sponsors to cover their tuition. Instead, the students themselves are paid for the programme’s six month duration, making it accessible to those from poorer backgrounds.
Students also have access to a number of mentors throughout the programme and, according to Seedstars, get a boost to boosts to their employability with the organisation helping them “expand their network and leverage Seedstars’ global community either to launch their own companies later on, continue in the companies they interned at or join another organisation”.
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The Lagos academy is the set to be the first on many such academies, with Seedstars planning to expand the initiative to more than 10 hubs around the globe.
According to Seedstars, the academy itself is built to be inclusive but “to ensure only the most committed are chosen, the candidates go through a rigorous selection criterion with the acceptance rate in the single digits”.
Candidates, it says, are tested on their tenacity, logical reasoning, storytelling and their ability to sell through a blended series of tests and challenges both online and offline. The Academy is looking for a candidate with a clear entrepreneurial mindset and a strong drive, passion for technology, strong problem solving skills, attention to detail and fluency in English.
Applications are open online.