• David Makoni

It's a wrap! (LIFT Capstone Project)

Updated: May 21

A big thank you and congratulations to our 2021 LIFT Capstone Project fellows partners and mentors! For 8-weeks, we worked together with them to solve challenging problems for mid/large sized corporations (for-profit/not-for-profit).

Today, many employers rue the lack of graduates with the requisite skills to succeed in digital enterprises. Research has shown and attributed this to curriculums at most tertiary institutions not adapting to the digital evolution that our world is continuously experiencing, and not getting enough exposure to real entrepreneurial leadership experiences within high-growth industries.

This was the idea behind LIFT, and the problem Inspire Africa sought to provide solutions for. Through an innovative and comprehensive Capstone project model that offers blended learning experience, we were able to instill critical thinking principles in our fellows which they would repeatedly showcase throughout the project. They were guided by experienced entrepreneurs and mentors from our network.

Furthermore, financial and business/project management was a centerpiece in the LIFT Capstone Project. We wanted our fellows to experience working in real environments where the need for tangible results and performances are felt, and to which they are accountable for.

For the fellows, this means they have been given comprehensive exposure in real digital business environments, a quality employers in today’s enterprises will value greatly.

Akpesiri Precious Rhigho, Emily Mogano (both the project managers and leaders of their respective teams), Clinton Ndubuisi, Ibrahim Garba, Olisa Ononye and Nnamso Esu- did not only learn the digital/soft skills needed to succeed in a business environment, help organizations innovate solutions to customers’ needs and increase ROI, they also applied these concepts and research findings to real business situations with our project partners and mentors.

An excerpt from one of the team’s bi-weekly reports gives insight on how they organised themselves early on to efficiently take on these tasks.

  • “Understanding of the project - as a team we met with representatives of each participating company who gave us an extensive analysis of the problems they want us to proffer solutions to.

  • Getting familiar - as fellows we first organised a meeting within ourselves to get acquainted with one another before we met with the partners. Social media platforms for easy collaboration was created - this has helped effective dissemination of ideas, deadlines and general information

  • Meeting with mentors - this was targeted at bringing the mentors up to speed on the purpose and progress of the project.”

Teamwork and leadership are two recurring themes from this account and these were ideals that Inspire Africa was also trying to instill in the LIFT fellows.

The partners

These were an important part of the project as their company's provided the platform for fellows to learn and develop their skills. The partners were:

  1. Afrimash, a leading supplier of livestock in Nigeria,

  2. NEAT Microcredit- a microfinancing company that aims to bridge the gap to accessible credit for individuals and SMES across Nigeria,

  3. Shago Payments Ltd- an online payments solution-, and

  4. Chaka, a local and global stock investment platform.

In a world where students and recent graduates have little opportunities to horne their skills and what they can contribute in rapidly advancing and high growth industries, the LIFT Capstone project offers a solution towards bridging the business knowledge gap and lack of experience for school leavers as they enter the labour force.

As Linda from Shago Payments said at the project's conclusion, LIFT was very helpful for their company as the fellows gave them insights towards viable and well researched strategies that they could implement as part of their quest to expand the companies operations outside Nigeria. She left no doubt of the usefulness of this project. Her sentiments were echoed by N.E.A.T Microcredit which has already indicated it is interested in partnering with Inspire Africa again for the next LIFT Capstone Project.

At Inspire Africa, we couldn't be more optimistic about the 2021 LIFT Capstone Project experience and we will continue to actively pursue similar opportunities for young Africans to develop their employability skills.

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