Abigail started Spawn Ideal to tackle the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria. Since 2008, she has been on this journey of twists and turns and has encountered some challenges and successes. However, the challenges have not deterred her from her goal- which is to train as many youths as she can and help them operate their businesses with an entrepreneurial mindset.
As she said, We are trying the solve the problem of youth unemployment. We believe that today in Nigeria, the number of white-collar jobs available is not equal to the number of graduates we churn out each year. We are trying to develop a platform in the educational sector to decrease that margin.
In this piece, Abigail Alade talks about her journey with Spawn Ideal and gives valuable insights on running a business.
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What inspired you to start your business?
When I was in OAU, we had strikes that would keep us at home for four to six months. During one of these strikes, I went to volunteer with an NGO that works in capacity building specifically with young adults. After my experience there, I decided to form an organization to contribute to young people’s development. After school, I wanted to launch it as a non-profit but then there were challenges with funds so I decided to work with a corporate organization for some time to expose me to possible networks and help me make some money. So I was a banker for some time but soon enough I had to make the hard decision to let go of the job to face my passion.
How did working for a corporate organisation impact your business?
The exposure I had gotten from working in a corporate organization made me realise that I could make it into a for-profit business. This way, I could empower young people and still make revenue. I believe that teaching children vocational skills early helps them set the pace for their lives. Like I said, most graduates look for jobs unsuccessfully for four to five years before going to learn a skill. If these children are being introduced to vocational skills from a young age, it becomes part of them and they are more likely to excel in it unlike people who learned as adults. Right now we operate in Ile-Ife, Osun state.
What are some of the challenges you currently face at Spawn Ideal?
In Ile-Ife, finding man-power has been a challenge. Unlike most tailors and carpenters who work with apprentices in their shops, we operate as a school. So we want people that can teach not just the skill but also the business side of it. Our students need those skills on how to run and grow a business so we need skilled people who can speak good English, preferably even graduates with vocational skills. That has been hard to find in an area like Ile-Ife.
Funds are also a big issue because the way we want to expand, requires a lot of funds. We need to get so many equipment and that costs a lot of money. We started small and we are growing gradually.
What is your vision for Spawn Ideal?
In the next two years, I plan to have trained 200,000 youth through schools. We go to schools and train students in schools so in that way we get numbers. After the lockdown is over, we would resume the drive so that we can reach lots of young people. We are also working on having a mobile app so that even though we can’t reach some people physically, we can reach them online.
In five years, we want to expand to universities and train them in an entrepreneurial way. So regardless of what you studied in school, you can apply an entrepreneurial mindset to it and instead of waiting for job, be a job creator.
What advice do you have for people who want to start a business of their own?
- With any business or passion you want to pursue, you have to be tenacious. The issue most of us have is that we are so excited when we have great ideas but the truth is that excitement alone can not keep your business running. There are challenges that you are going to face but being tenacious and resilient will keep you going.
- Try to do something every day that gets you closer to your goal. Things are going to get tough sooner or later and it may feel like you are not achieving much but work at something everyday, no matter how small.
- Do your research to be sure that this is what you want to do. You do not want to start a business without doing research or knowing the possible challenges and setbacks. If you start a business unprepared, you may not be able to withstand the challenges that come with running that business.