Ingressive for Good (I4G) is a non-profit empowering Africans with tech skills through micro-scholarships, training, and talent placement to increase their earning power.
By training young Africans in tech, I4G is increasing their earning power and making them relevant in the 21st-century labour market. A report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) revealed that 230 million jobs across the continent will require some level of technical and digital skills.
Programming jobs are growing the fastest, 12% more than the market average. Yet, there are only about 700,000 developers across Africa with over 50% concentrated in Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa.
To tackle this talent shortage, the non-profit—Ingressive for Good—was founded in July 2020 by the leadership of Ingressive (Advisory), originally a market entry firm for global businesses and investment groups. In 2017, Ingressive Founder, Maya Horgan-Famodu, founded Ingressive Capital to become an active player in the funding rounds of these promising startups.
In a 2020 Forbes interview with the Founder of Ingressive Capital and co-founder of Ingressive for Good, Maya Horgan-Famodu explains that “We [Ingressive group] are building a pipeline from the time a student thinks ‘I want to be in tech’ all the way to the time they IPO”. The leadership of Ingressive for Good are Sean Burrowes (COO of Ingressive for Good) and Blessing Abeng (Director of Comms @ Ingressive for Good and named co-founder in July 2021) signifying a separation of concern for maximum impact.
Indeed, the Ingressive for Good team has been impactful. In less than two years, they have awarded micro-scholarships worth $73,000, trained 82,000 African youths, and placed close to 1,000 in jobs. The I4G community has about 130,000 members with African participants in 84 countries.
It remains mind-blowing how they managed to do so much with limited resources. But a conversation between co-founder Blessing Abeng and benjamindada.com explains the economics. As of 2021, it cost Ingressive for Good an average of $2 (₦1,000) to train one African youth, an average of $0.1 to support its student community. This meant a $1,000 contribution to I4G led to the development of about 500 African youth.
Guess what? Google just made a contribution towards I4G’s fundraising goal of $1M-$2M and multiplied Ingressive for Good’s ability to reach more African youth by donating $250,000.
Ingressive for Good’s journey to 130,000 community members and Google’s $250,000 backing
At this juncture, it’s essential to take a minute to process the significance of this vote of confidence from a leading tech giant like Google.
“We started out in July 2020, in the midst of COVID, people were not giving donations, except to healthcare-related projects”, says Blessing Abeng. “It was worse because our only claim to success was the Ingressive campus ambassador program we did as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project under Ingressive Capital”.
While campus meet-ups and talks are good, getting placements and access to more structured education was better. “This inspired our mission to increase their earning power by providing them access to opportunities, resources, and training”, adds Abeng. “We decided to structure our programs to scholarships, technical training, and talent placement. So, we began to search for donors to fund this mission”.
Abeng told benjamindada.com that they gave scholarships to financially strapped final-year Computer Science students. They also organised three to six-month technical training in partnership with other reputable specialised training organisations like DataCamp. Ingressive for Good’s technical training focuses on five core skills, namely: data (w/DataCamp), design (w/GenezaSchool), software development (w/Zuri Team), and product management, and marketing. “By December 2021, we had a community of over 100,000 people”, says Blessing Abeng, co-founder of Ingressive for Good.
Building on the back of 2021’s success, the team set a mission to train 200,000 people. This ambitious target is more than 2x the number of people trained in the last two years of the company’s existence. Not only that, I4G wants to help place the top 0.05% of those trained in jobs.
Now, to how Ingressive for Good and Google happened.
“Google is on this mission to improve digital skills in Africa and make information easily accessible. They are all about access and so are we. So, there is a strong alignment of our collective vision”, says Blessing Abeng, Director of Communications and co-founder at Ingressive for Good. “We reached out to Jeremiah Gordon, and spoke to him about the program. He was thrilled by the impact we had made with the resources at our disposal”, she adds.
Jeremiah Gordon is the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at CapitalG, Alphabet (Google’s parent company)’s growth equity fund “investing in people who are passionate about the potential for technology to change how we live”.
“So, Alphabet, facilitated by Capital G, donated $250,000 to us with full faith that we were going to use it to make the most impact”, Abeng concludes.
What next for Ingressive for Good?
Although the year’s target for the non-profit is 200,000 youths trained, Google’s $250,000 will go a long way. The fund injection will help to provide technical training, hire more hands, and provide more tech tools for people to learn.
It’ll help lay the foundation to build the Talent Placement assessment structure to automate job placement and also be able to expand special programs like 1000 Women In Design.
The year is already off to a great start as Abeng reveals a partnership with Masterclass, an online educational subscription-based platform that allows students to access pre-recorded lectures by experts in various fields (not just tech skills).
The annual subscription for a course on Masterclass averages $150. But with this partnership with Ingressive for Good, 1,000 Africans can “take any and all of the Tech and personal development courses for free”, says Abeng.
Second, I4G recently announced its annual Women in Design program, where 1,000 African women have access to learn design skills from top design schools. They have partnered with Geneza School of Design, a hands-on design school that teaches design thinking principles, to deliver this training.
With just word-of-mouth marketing from previous participants and influencers, their design training received almost 20,000 applications. “We try not to spend money on advertising. We just put out a word. Social media and tech Influencers also help us to amplify it because they know it will add value to the ecosystem at large. For example in 2021, Tosin Olaseinde shared our Women’s scholarship.”
Third, there is an I4G DataCamp scholarship available for thousands of Africans this year, which is more than that of last year. The partnership with DataCamp affords African youths the required skills to build a career in data science, data analytics, data engineering, and machine learning. Successful candidates will get to learn Excel, PowerBI, SQL, Python, and R. If interested, you can apply here
Lastly, when it comes to Software Development the goal is to get 100,000 people to learn the tech skill this year. To achieve this, they continue to partner with The Zuri Team. The Zuri Team is led by CEO Seyi Onifade and was a training-focused offshoot of the HNG internships programme that was started by Mark Essien. Zuri focuses exclusively on training, as opposed to the internship placement. It was initially owned by Mark Essien. I4G’s partnership with The Zuri Team covers full software engineering training; frontend, backend, and mobile. People interested in product design (UI/UX) can also apply. Interested parties can apply here.
The straddle all these activities running in parallel, the Ingressive for Good team has doubled in size from four full-time staff and three interns to eight full-time staff and five interns. The team is currently made up of eight full-time staff and five interns. They continue to work with volunteers and teams from their partners.
In conclusion, people often ask us, why tech? Well, we observed that a person working in tech will earn twice or five times more than a person working at the same level in a bank or in another industry. However, the barrier to entry to tech is low. You just need to learn for three to six months and practice through tasks, internships, and job experience and you’re good to go. This is why we chose tech. We think tech can collectively lift us as a continent from poverty.
You can support the work Ingressive for Good is doing to upskill African talent and increase their earning power by making donations. Also, referring young people to their programmes helps to benefit the ecosystem and is a way for you to support them.