This blog was written by Ahmad Hosseini, Dean of American University of Nigeria School of Business and Economics. He reflects on his experience participating in the AUN Entrepreneurship Boot Camp.
In this five days of event I had extraordinary opportunity to meet and work with about 200 young high school students from seven different high school in the Yola area who attended our Youth Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. I saw the energy and optimism that these kids brought to our boot camp. The last day of the boot camp was the day when students met the investors and pitch for their products
They spent one week on our campus and they were exposed to a challenging curriculum designed to teach them that business can be fun and exciting. The curriculum provided them with the financial literacy, business fundamentals, and the confidence needed to be self-sufficient and successful, thus priming the pipeline for them to be the next generation of business and community leaders in Nigeria.
During this five-day boot camp, they were inspired by two very successful entrepreneurs, one from Nigeria, Mr. Autin Okere, the Founder & Executive Vice Chairman of CWG Plc and Entrepreneur in Residence, Columbia Business School, New York, and Mr, Jon Eberly, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Clock Four, Inc., an award-winning digital marketing and technology services firm from Silicon Valley in California.
Our participant in the boot camp had the opportunity to play video game. Of course in this video game they did not have a chance to kill the bad guys or play football. They had the chance to use a computer business simulation and started a small business and the computer guided them to make many business decisions to manage and grow their company. Some teams made as high as $140,000 and another team lost all of their money and went bankrupt. But they learn that failure is a chance to re-start wiser and smarter.
They had the opportunity to play several games to help them learn how to work as the team, and how to improve your memory skill. They learned how to think outside the box and develop an imaginary product. They learned how to market their product and how to convince investor to provide funds to produce and sell their products.
In short, this five-days event was packed with many different activities that helped them to start thinking about creating their own business, to be their own boss, and never think about working for some else.
I hope these five days was a life changing experience for all of them. Supporting entrepreneurs is a key part of how we create jobs and fuel innovation here in north east of Nigeria.
“Introducing youths to entrepreneurship and creating a ‘can do’ culture from an early age not only helps with self-esteem and personal development, but also enables students to better understand the impact of their decisions at the secondary school level. I hope we start seeing these types of events everywhere in Africa. These kids are unbelievably smart and we need to help them to utilize their talents.”Ahmad Hosseini, Dean, American University of Nigeria School of Business and Economics