Investing in street youths, incubating bright ideas

Map of Lagos, Nigeria showing urban areas, lag...

Map of Lagos, Nigeria showing urban areas, lagoon, harbour, port areas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Generation Enterprise is an all-volunteer group of young community leaders working on four continents to realise one revolutionary vision:  Investing in street youths, incubating bright ideas, transforming communities. In 2009, it launched a pilot project in Lagos, the world’s fastest-growing megacity. Its business training and incubation programme, YouthBank, equipped homeless and unemployed youth to build viable, sustainable businesses that would allow them to leave gangs, prostitution, odd jobs, and criminal activity.

 

Developed by Wharton and Oxford business students, McKinsey Consultants and Nigerian youth leaders, the organisation adapts lean start-up methodology from Silicon Valley to Lagos’ bottom-of-the-pyramid markets. The goal is to foster new high-growth businesses, generate sustainable jobs, and get youth off the streets.

 

More than 80 million of the world’s young people are unemployed. Another 150 million youths are part of the “working poor,” eking out meagre and precarious livelihoods in the informal economy. This figure is the highest of unemployed youth ever measured by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and represents the breeding ground for a global social crisis.

 

The young social entrepreneurs on Generation Enterprise’s team are fighting to defuse this “ticking time bomb” and help a “lost generation” find its way. They have descended on Lagos, the world’s fastest-growing megacity where population explosion, slum expansion, desperate poverty, but also entrepreneurial drive and a new spirit of civic engagement collide.

 

Shopping in Lagos

Shopping in Lagos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The GEN drivers came from Washington DC, Atlanta, Berlin, and New York City are here again to to join their Nigerian teammates in Lagos to follow-up on their Alimosho and Agege project started earlier. They are partnering with the Lagos State Ministry of Special Duties and the Wiseup Foundation to open incubators in Alimosho and Agege. The Elumelu Foundation has joined the partnership.

 

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