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Examining MTN Foundation’s impacts on youths in ICT

When MTN Nigeria began operations in August 2001, little this the promoters and investors of the company know of the global value it would create and the time frame those achievements would be recorded with positive impacts beyond target and expectations.

While the telecommunication giant’s impact is multifaceted, with over 31.2m positively impacted in Nigeria since inception, some of the numerous impacts in the Information and Telecommunication (ICT) sector would be highlighted.

One of the ICT impact of MTN is the globally acclaimed MTN Media Innovation Programme (MIP), a 6-week long programme spread across six months for media practitioners in the Nigerian space, which debuted in 2022 with the first cohort.

The programme meant to increase the knowledge and skill base of the participants and help them understand the changing media landscape, and how to effectively use technology to create impactful media content, has the Pan Atlantic University (PAU) as partner in the much sought after programme now in second cohort of 20 participants.
The MTN-MIP is a certificate course run by the School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, with a focus on the convergence between ICT and the media.

Apart from other interventions, the MTN had also commences the sixth phase of ICT, business skills training for SMEs.
In 2018, in fulfilling its commitment to improving the qualities of lives, MTN Foundation trained 500 youths on ICT and Business Skills in Oyo State.
The two-day intensive training from technology experts was used to empower the five hundred participants. They were seen beaming with excitement as they had become better equipped to succeed in Nigeria’s evolving business landscape.
The session which was held on Thursday 28th and Friday 29th June, 2018 at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, had dignitaries like the then Special Adviser on ICT to the Executive Governor of Oyo, Mr. Niyi Ajao; Head of Digital Communications, Oyo State Government, Babajide Fadoju, a former Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu present and the training was organised by MTN in collaboration with it ecosystem partners –KPMG, Digital Bridge Institute (DBI); IBM and Oracle.
The Foundation further revealed its intention to continue to train young and aspiring entrepreneurs around Nigeria.
The MTN Foundation also said that the sixth phase of the ICT and business skills training capacity-building program under its youth development initiative is targeted at young entrepreneurs and business owners between the ages of 18-35 years.

Odunayo Sanya, executive secretary, MTN Foundation, said that the sixth phase of the ICT and business skills training will be focused on young entrepreneurs in Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Kebbi, Niger and Yobe states.
“SMEs are the backbone of every sustainable economy, and as a technology company, we are committed to empowering young entrepreneurs in Nigeria through capacity building and funding. We are constantly seeking ways to bridge the gap between our youths and the skills they require to thrive in a digital world. We will continue to partner with other competent organisations to bridge this gap,” Sanya stated.

She also disclosed that in the sixth phase, 3000 young entrepreneurs will be trained, and the training will be delivered through a five-week online program in partnership with Microsoft and Meta.

Accordingly, the training will also provide an equipment grant of N90 million for the top 300 participants at the end of the program. “The goal of the ICT training is to equip Nigerian youth with technological skills that can be applied to build sustainable businesses in Nigeria”.
Sanya also said that since the launch of the ICT and business skills initiative, MTN Foundation has successfully run five phases in partnership with Oracle, KPMG, IBM, Digital Bridge Institute, CISCO, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, and the training has been implemented in 16 states across Nigeria.

Also, recently, the MTN Foundation provided an equipment grant worth over N40m to 200 young entrepreneurs, following a four-week-long training on ICT and Business skills.

The entrepreneurs were awarded their grants, at the closing ceremony held virtually late last week.

Even via the virtual platform, recipients were reportedly excited on the programme.
Speaking during the training, one of the winners of the grants, Abigael Obaro, spoke on the impact of the training and how she hopes to use the grant to establish her business.

“The training has been an opportunity for me to learn how to upgrade my business, and I will be exploring everything I have learnt during the training. Thank you to all the partners for investing their time and thank you to MTN Foundation for the training and the grant,” she said.

The fifth phase of MTN Foundation’s ICT and Business skills training programme was in partnership with Google, Microsoft and Meta. The training was designed for 3000 young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 -35, across six Nigerian states; Lagos, Cross River, Anambra, Kogi, Jigawa and Adamawa.
In another development, the MTN Foundation said it initiated a working partnership with Microsoft and Meta to train 3000 young Nigerian entrepreneurs on ICT and business skills as part of its focus to help build sustainable businesses in Nigeria.

The empowerment, which is the sixth phase of the MTN’s ICT and business skills training in Nigeria, was held virtually for five weeks with a mix of instructor-led and self-paced learning held between September 4 and October 12, 2023.

The training, which aims to equip the 3,000 entrepreneurs with business and technological skills needed to build sustainable businesses in Nigeria, will feature a disbursement of N90 million to the top 300 participants as equipment grants upon the completion of the training. The 3,000 participants will be trained in modules including digital skills, artificial intelligence, and digital advertising.

Speaking on the importance of the training, Odunayo Sanya, executive secretary, MTN Foundation, said, “In Nigeria today, there are a lot of businesses run by young people who require skills to sustain and upscale these businesses. The training we are delivering aims to equip our entrepreneurial youths with technological skills that they can in turn use to grow their businesses.
“As a technology company, we are committed to empowering young entrepreneurs in Nigeria and we’re constantly seeking ways to bridge the gap between our youths and the skills they require to thrive in a digital world. We will continue to partner with other organisations in this quest.”
Commenting on the partnership, Ola Williams, country manager, Microsoft Nigeria, said, “Entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s economy. According to PwC Nigeria, SMEs account for 96 percent of businesses and 84 percent of employment in the country.
“This adds up to a contribution of 48 percent to Nigeria’s GDP – no small amount. It’s these industrious and resourceful business owners we want to see succeed, but digital skills can be a major stumbling block to growth. By enabling SMEs with the right skills, we are creating opportunities not only for growth but employment for many people in Nigeria and the rest of the continent.”
Also, Adaora Ikenze, director of public policy, Anglophone West Africa at Meta, expressed satisfaction with the tripartite arrangement and said, “At Meta, we strongly believe that small businesses play a critical role in driving economic growth and development, and as such, we are committed to supporting them.
“We are proud to have invested in programs that are specifically designed to provide small businesses with the resources they need to grow and succeed, and by partnering with organizations such as MTN Foundation, we are able to have a direct and positive impact on the local economy. We invite small business owners to tap into these programs and resources to transform their businesses and thrive in the digital economy.”

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