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Africa 2100: Helping Them Help Themselves

Since entrepreneurship is a proven engine for accelerating economic growth, Obiaya believes that helping the youth to start businesses makes them take control of their fate, improve themselves as well as their community.

According to the study “Fostering Productive Entrepreneurship Communities”, entrepreneurs play a critical role in cities and nations as they create new jobs, generate economic growth, and spread the development of new innovations. When local entrepreneurship communities are productive, their cities and regions are more likely to thrive, but when entrepreneurship communities struggle, cities and regions can become trapped in decline.

It is with such background that Chudi K. Obiaya, came up with the idea of Africa 2100, to give agency to improve lives in underserved communities in Africa by connecting aspiring entrepreneurs with essential resources for increased income flows, secure employment, and accelerated economic growth within the community.

What challenges do Obiaya and his Africa 2100 seek to solve? Studies show that Africa has the world’s fastest-growing population and, by 2050, is forecasted to have more than one-third of the world’s young people. 35-60 percent of Africans are currently unemployed with only 1 in 4 hired in the formal economy. There is a dire need for jobs and economic growth.

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Since entrepreneurship is a proven engine for accelerating economic growth, Obiaya believes that helping the youth to start businesses makes them take control of their fate, improve themselves as well as their community through the increased economic activities, and are better positioned to pay it forward by lifting up others in the community.

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Obiaya’s  Africa 2100 uses a three-prong approach – enable access to training and resources that foster the entrepreneurship mindset; provide a platform to enable entrepreneurs in underserved communities to obtain the resources needed to be change agents within their community; and, use the entrepreneurial culture to generate sustainable change within the community.

As part of training at workshops, participants are first given cards to build their dream house and debrief everyone.

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Workshop participants

This method aims at equipping trainees with the ability to create a vision, which is a powerful tool for any entrepreneur.

Such exercises also enabled participants to complete and conduct empathy mapping to understand the challenges and vision of aspiring entrepreneurs.

Africa 2100’s vision is to help aspiring entrepreneurs get their businesses started with the expectation that they will subsequently pay it forward within their communities.

“Our expectation is that the increase in entrepreneurial activities will potentially provide more income flows, secure employment, and improved lives in the community”, says Obiaya.

So far Africa 2100 has organized three workshops in Accra, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; and, Nairobi, Kenya. Some of the workshop highlights include:

  • ⁠ Participants between the ages of 22-40 who desire to start a business and need help to fulfil their entrepreneurial dreams.
  • ⁠⁠⁠To demonstrate the power of visioning, as well as to introduce themselves to one another, each participant created a house with index cards and shared its features and benefits
  • ⁠⁠⁠Participants conducted multiple Empathy Map activities to provide Africa 2100 with a deeper understanding of their needs for the delivery of a richer experience.
Chudi K. Obiaya with workshop participants.

On completion of the workshop, the aspiring entrepreneur becomes visible to sponsors on-boarded onto the platform. Sponsors then select a candidate and venture from the list of available entrepreneurs and offer to sponsor the requested resource. Thereafter, the entrepreneur provides progress updates on the platform to keep the community engaged as they accomplish the expected outcome. Concurrently, local and virtual online events are regularly conducted to foster peer-to-peer networking between aspiring entrepreneurial communities.

To ensure continuity of purpose, for instance, after the Accra workshop Chudi Obiaya urged participants to build a network to continuously push their vision through regardless of the challenges.

Transforming and empowering people are not bread and butter issues, so who is Chudi K. Obiaya?

“I am proud to have built a reputation as a forward-thinking, top-performing operations executive and change agent with 20+ years of success in aligning business and IT strategies to expand capabilities and optimize performance in the healthcare industry. I champion digital and organizational transformations, including enabling strategy execution for Fortune 20 healthcare organizations,” Obiaya says about himself.

He adds: “I evaluate operations to identify areas for improvement, revamp ineffective controls and processes, and optimize efficiencies. I forge alliances and partner with C-level decision-makers, stakeholders, and customers to achieve set targets. I am eager to immerse myself in the dynamic world of startups, leveraging my passion for innovation and problem-solving to contribute actively to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and drive transformative change”.

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