As we celebrate and remember the the life and triumphs of Nelson Mandela, let us most of all, not forget the valuable lessons that he has taught, not just in words, but through his actions. What legacies are you building for generations yet unborn? On Konnect Africa today, another young man strives to build a lasting legacy.
Jake Adebayo is the Founder of the eStreet Academy, a premier educational and career development network whose mission is to deliver free web-based business-creation & career development services in socially fun and entertaining ways. In this interview with Konnect Africa, he shares his vision for the eStreet Academy, from helping owners of small and medium-sized businesses, to offering industry-certified online Management and Leadership training programs, and empowering and educating young people on the need for Self-development, Business-creation and Career sophistication skills.
Why is eStreetNG a big deal? I mean, there are lots of interactive sites…
eStreet.com.ng/eStreetAcademy.com is a social “Business-Creation” and “Career Development” network that doubles as an accredited online Business & Career Academy. It could be seen as a more digital form of what the Havard Business school, MIT Sloan School of Management or Lagos Business School already represents offline.
We found that many young Nigerians do not find it convenient to take a traditional online degree training program to further their studies. We intend to solve this difficulty by offering technically advanced, high performance and state of the art learning and certification programs which address these needs much more effectively than current organizations in our market area.
With our world class, industry-certified online Management and Leadership training programs, eStreet members can learn real-life scenarios and the essentials to enhance their management careers along with learning the business fundamentals such as that what is taught in a conventional MBA degree program.
Successful eStreet members (with scores 80% and above) get free authenticated Business/Project Management Certificates: If desired, they have the option to receive a certificate of completion. This management certification is not only ideal for framing, but will also be an extremely valuable addition to their resume portfolio.
The eStreet Academy coursework is designed to help owners of small and medium-sized businesses identify, understand and overcome the challenges they will face on a daily basis. By making this wealth of knowledge available to everyone, we create a business environment in which new ventures flourish and communities are strengthened.
Of all the things you could have done, why this? What was your founding vision?
Back in the University of Ibadan, Oyo State Nigeria, one of my Lecturers was fond of the saying “We live in a country whose younger generation craves for a little more than shallow purpose-less living, chasing the opposite sex and cyber-fraud but don’t do anything for the benefit of society.”
Yet the strength of Nigeria can be found in only 2 places. The first is the melting pot: you find a mixture of all tribes and there is no friction between local tribes in the country. The second source of Nigeria’s strength is in the great creativity and improvisation of its younger generation.
To the foreigner the perception is chaos – abject poverty, national insecurity, brutal oppression, looting politicians, chronic illiteracy, seasonal labour strikes, and infamous cyber-crime – for members of the eStreet community it is not chaos at all. There is hope because we discover daily a fast growing army of young Nigerians who notoriously do not rely on the Nigerian government. With youth crime in Africa becoming more severe, unemployment rates increasing, and quality further education opportunities decreasing, we recognize that there is a real and urgent need to inspire and support young African young people.
By using eStreet’ as a vehicle for personal development, eStreet’ empowers young people to discover their strengths and passions, and thereby take responsibility for their own lives. Through our innovative programmes, involved youth mature as a result of the support, direction, and exposure that eStreet’ facilitates. eStreet’ members emerge with skills, confidence, and dependable financial resources’ to take control of their lives, embrace workplace, entrepreneurship or educational opportunities, and stay out of the unemployment/criminal justice system.
At the most basic level, our members will be part of a network of other like-minded individuals across the country, and will be able to share thoughts, ideas, best practices and forge stronger relationships and partnerships. We will also regularly be featuring a video interview with an outstanding enterprising member showcasing his or her idea, achievements and challenges.
Estreet; does this name have any significant connotations?
Generally a street smart person is one having the shrewd resourcefulness needed to survive in an urban environment and has a lot of common sense and knows what’s going on in the world. This person knows what every type of person has to deal with daily and understands all groups of people and how to act around them. This person also knows all the current deals going on in the streets and the ghetto and everywhere else and knows how to make his own right decisions knows how to deal with different situations and has his own independent state of mind. Most truly successful business people are Street smart. Unfortunately most of the skills and habits of a street smart cannot be acquired within the four walls of any formal school.
At eStreet we strongly believe that in real life making your dreams come true or business idea a reality is all about mental toughness. It is NOT about Talent, Beauty, Money, IQ, University Scores, Rich Parents or Who you know; very simply put, it is about being eStreetSmart!
With the current state of the Nigerian economy there is much awareness than ever before of the need for Self-development, Business-creation & Career sophistication skills. This has occurred as a result of the alarming increase in youth unemployment, and creates tremendous opportunities for businesses that specifically respond to this situation.
Now only major corporate bodies seem to have series of regular management & leadership development training sessions for their employees. Other private entities that organize these events for the public do so for really astronomical fees or at locations and dates and times that may never be suitable for our target audience which tends to be on the lower income stream of the earning power the actual quality of these programs.
When anyone decides to join the eStreet family, they become one of Africa’s finest self-made intellectuals, strategic thinkers & career leaders of struggle who confront misfortune – not by crying, excuses and low-esteem – but with a smile taking it in their own style, that is with humour, swag & rugged determination; finding their ideas, resources and inspiration from the streets. With every resource our participating members gets on eStreet, they legally earn the right to live and succeed; they live each day by their wits, by self-reliance in the skill of their hands and the strength of their minds not for themselves alone but also for all the good they can contribute to the human family.
How would you sell eStreet in one sentence?
We are part of the rapidly emerging Digital Business & Career Education industry.
While eStreet is a fast-growing members-only social hub of investors, social innovators, and advocates, collaborating to grow impact and accelerate change; our primary service is delivering free web-based business-creation & career development services in socially fun & entertaining ways.
Is this a solo undertaking, or are there other partners?
eStreet Technologies was founded and incorporated in June, 2013. Jake Adebayo is the founder; other (early- stage) key personnel include Samuel Owolabi , Dolapo Adebayo, Olamide Oladeji , Jedidiah Akalumhe and Bolatito Doherty who bring special expertise in the areas of Product Development, UX & Visual Design, Content Creation and Events & Media promotion respectively. With this young team of experienced and talented individuals, the company is already positioned to meet an emerging, underserved need for our members to enhance their business & career skills. Our Online learning system was in development for the past 12 months. We also have recruited a very dedicated team of 40 National Brand Ambassadors & representatives across various campuses in the country.
What demography are you hoping to influence?
A core element of eStreet’s strategy is to target upwardly & socially mobile young Nigerians who are ambitiously Career & Business savvy. This target market is highly predisposed to eStreet’s initiatives and they constitute around 50 to 74 per cent of all internet users (Close to 80 million people) from Nigeria.
Typically potential eStreet users are more likely to be: Experienced social media users & internet friendly; Opinion leaders; Open minded; and Selective in their media consumption; Desirous of a higher than average Nigerian household income; Well-educated and informed on a range of subjects; Willing to signup & pay for authentic business-creation experiences and certificates participating in the thrills, buzz & hype of Start Up creation and experiencing it, rather than observing it; eager about building social interactions; Meeting and interacting with potential Mentors, Advisors & Angel investors who would be interested in funding their next ‘Big Idea’ or Business concept; Young career people longing to experience & earn something different from what their normal day-to-day job can give; Receptive to exposure to unique and compelling solutions to their most valuable needs.
Very simply our target audience is the typical young Nigerian student – currently in secondary schools, tertiary institutions; young people looking to further their careers; lifelong learners; concerned citizens; people who have no other easy means to access otherwise expensive self-development courses, programs, seminars, workshops, business schools etc. Our target audience also includes people who want to learn so they can educate others (teachers); people (investors, advisors & mentors inclusive) who want to make an impact/solve problems; people who want a global perspective, alongside knowledge savvy (high flying) executives who might never be able to afford the luxury in time and space that a conventional Business & Career Learning System may demand.
What are your long term plans? Where do you see EStreetNG in another 5 years?
At this point the eStreet project is only about 12% done. As we chose to go live quietly to enable us to rework all constructive feedback our pioneer members are offering…before going live with TV and Radio commercials and pursuing aggressive online marketing campaigns by the end of December, 2013.
Our ultimate goal is garnered on expanding the eStreet Academy to the realistic possibility of becoming a very large business within 5-7 years, large enough for a major public offering or for sale to a fortune 500 company.
Our mission is to:
Demystify the business of “getting started”;
Build a culture where mature social entrepreneurs start up the next generation of change agents from within the communities they serve; and
Catalyse the influence and resources of players across sectors to foster startups.
I assume the site is being funded; how do you plan to make any money from this venture?
To date we have raised money from the company founders, key managers and their relatives. Our Advisors have each personally invested in the company and include Efe Omorogbe (MD/CEO, NowMuzik), Professor A.O Osofisan (HOD, Computer Science Department – University of Ibadan), Chief (Mrs.) B. A Oloyede (SURE-P National Committee) and Joshua Akinbanjo (Director Brand Assets & Marketing Communications for Globacom Nigeria).
We are also in an integrated partnership with GTBank Plc to power our weekly Social Earning initiative thus empowering eStreet members to build solid revenue streams for themselves.
Additionally, deals at contract stages are in the pipeline with our partners in Decision Analysts, Inc. (who own the American Consumer Opinion Panel – www.acop.com) to commence sophisticated market research on Nigerian soil to fully implement our Paid Survey offers program.
But above all we are eternally indebted to MIT who via their OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all our subjects available on mit.estreeetacademy.com, free of charge.
We expect to generate revenues from:
Purchases of our sealed printed /PDF certificates between 60 and 80% on all transactions. The PDF format is free for paying members of the eStreet network with an active annual subscription.
Our premium members network who subscribe for eStreet emails (N3200 per user renewable every year).
Monetization of monthly traffic.
Hosting upgrades from members/clients who use our powerful website builder.
Advertising campaigns for interested companies, clubs, NGOs and associations.
Onto Jake Adebayo the person; what’s your ethnicity, what are your favourite memories of childhood?
I’m an Anglo-Nigerian. I was born and spent most of my early years in the United Kingdom but the bulk of my growing years was here in Nigeria…my folks originated from Ekiti though I have never been there… I have lived basically in Lagos. My fondest memories are of the Halloween & Slumber parties I attended with my twin sister.
Age? An educational tour please; what are your areas of specialization and how do they relate to your present pursuits?
I’m in my early twenties. I did take an interest in computers or the worldwide web until I was sixteen…luckily for me I got to study Computer Science at Nigeria’s premier university…the University of Ibadan- where I got to develop a sophisticated and successful communication network for the campus (StrictlyUI.com). I now seek to streamline my life’s pursuits as a “Social Apps Creator and Web Developer.”
What are the most challenging obstacles you have encountered in life, work, etc.
I think the toughest obstacles I’ve had to encounter and overcome are the difficulties (emotionally, physically, socially and financially) associated with growing up without knowing who your biological father is…or even his family…it’s a worldwide problem but trust me it’s a lot more challenging if you find yourself stuck here in Nigeria, with all of its unique hurdles.
Any CEO advice?
The key to building any successful start-up lies in not only having faultless plans and the dogged tenacity to follow them through but also in perfecting the art of getting others to do the tasks you can’t or don’t need to really do…while you concentrate your efforts on developing innovative marketing strategies which when you strip away everything is extremely simple: You figure out who you want to sell to and then you determine what it is that will get them to buy.
What are your views on continuous self-development?
Continuous Self Development is where individuals commit themselves to improving their knowledge and understanding throughout their careers.
There are always a number of areas where an organisation can benefit from having employees who continually develop themselves. They include cost savings, time savings, new work habits, and an improved working climate, which would be evidenced by low, or reduced, turnover, staff commitment and satisfaction.
I think it is important for us to remember that continuous self-development through our very own personal initiatives is not about frustrating yourself by living in your difficulties. Instead you practice self-development through abiding in the solution and accepting progress as it comes.
What are your views on the now popular concept of ‘following your dreams?’
I am a steadfast believer in anyone willing to follow their dreams…so long as it is a Dream with a very realistic possibility, not just wishful fantasy thinking…plus anyone ought to be fully prepared and passionate about making their dream(s) a reality as soon as they can…as opportunities perish every day with the setting of the sun.
Inspire a young African in one sentence?
Success comes to us when we are at our best – when we’ve given it our all…we only fail when our “all” is so little since we have not invested in ourselves…because you cannot give what you do not have.