Empowering Nigerian small business owners to create local opportunities

Photo of Eri-ife Adepoju
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Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

As of 2018, over 50% of Nigerian youth are either unemployed or underemployed. There is significant government funding annually to help youth become job creators but, one key factor is often ignored. Young people start businesses with no previous experience or knowledge on how to be successful. In fact, about 70% of small businesses have had no financial literacy training and 65% fail in the first 3 years due to lack of access to resources.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach. presents important information and insights needed to grow and prevent failure in one platform. Business owners can connect to their bank account, record customer and supplier information, and monitor expenses. Through a chatbot named Alie, can reveal hidden details, such as customers with the most repeat visits and the most profitable products or services. There are also actionable lessons on topics such as estimating realistic costs to increase the business acumen of young business owners. With the knowledge on their current business health and understanding of key concepts, these business owners can make better, well informed decisions and develop successful strategies to grow. Their financial literacy coupled with their knowledge erases the unintentional self-exclusion from resources such as the formal financial system thus also increasing opportunity for supported growth. The success of small businesses means better personal well-being, improved household income, and the ability to empower communities through job creation and mentorship.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

Even before I migrated to the United States, the desire to contribute to my country’s potential has always been there. In the midst of unhappiness and poverty, I still saw hope in people like my mother whose potential to be a teacher was realized by having access to resources. Last year, I began with a mission to develop a solution for internally displaced youth in Northern Nigeria to regain a sense of normalcy as their lives have been permanently affected by Boko Haram. After running into several problems it was then I realized that having access to information was the key. If I hadn’t known about the resources of Matriculate and Khan Academy, I might not have gone to college and would not be able to be a resource to my community. This is why I have decided to start this project- to make it possible for young Nigerians to provide resources for other young Nigerians.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Abby is a photographer who believes her business is growing and would like to hire an assistant to help manage new and existing customers, but she doesn't know if she can afford one. Abby signs up and connects her bank account to which confirms relevant transactions and generates profit and loss for the last 30 days. Abby then takes a lesson titled “Planning for your first employee” based on her responses while signing up. Through the lesson’s guidance, she creates a plan that details her future assistant’s tasks, the cost of hiring, and a savings goal. After 6 months, Abby has kept up with her plan and has hired an assistant. She now has more time to apply for government loans and to focus on providing quality services. She is on the path to fulfilling her dream of establishing a photography agency and knows that if she runs into any trouble, is there to help.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Highly successful businesses are often the focus of government programs. is for high potential and highly motivated small business owners who are lacking that attention and are restricted by lack of access to resources. We recognize that simply having capital is not enough. We provide necessary knowledge on how to use capital effectively and how to make a repayment plan if needed. is an accessible and practical alternative to expensive business seminars and accelerators that only accept university graduates and are only available in the biggest cities.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

To validate the idea, we have engaged with ten Nigerian small business owners, five of whom have committed to helping us build In fact, Abby-who was used in our hypothetical scenario- is based off Abbey, one of our partners who is experiencing a similar issue. We plan to track our progress towards making impact by looking at key data provided and by talking to business owners using Some important data we will look at is the number of lessons completed, number of customers since use, and amount of profit made since use. We plan on consistently surveying our users and having conversations to improve. Some questions we will include number of jobs created or retained, number of resources (such as loans) used due to’s recommendation, and if the business still exists (to calculate survival rate).

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

With the goal to meet businesses' needs, can be used to supplement loan and grant applications with the amassed financial information and proof of knowledge. Through, networks of businesses that support each other by sharing tips, successes, and obstacles can be facilitated through events and an online forum. Once businesses are ready to expand, they can be connected to graduates of’s training program for high school graduates. can also expand beyond education and financial management to include a simplified payroll solution and an inventory management system. We believe that has the potential to truly empower young business owners to become community leaders and the drivers of change.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Web/Mobile Development

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Family support

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media


Join the conversation:

Photo of Tia Johnston Brown

Hello! I love that you are stepping up to make a change within the country you were born. This is really inspiring!

Photo of Eri-ife Adepoju

I appreciate you taking time to read my entry!

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