Under The Hoodie (UTH) is our first-ever content series as a media organisation. In this post, we will tell you why.
UTH is a series that spotlights the everyday tech talent flying-high in their fields. This includes young operation leads, product managers, product designers, engineers, marketing and growth specialists. And no-code wizards.
With this Series, we want to inspire the 15-24 year olds. By sharing the stories of people within their age bracket, and some outside it.
Bottomline is that, these stories will not be about founders but employees.
The world is in a conundrum, particularly Africa and Nigeria
High level of unemployment has led many to entrepreneurship. Yet, only 1 in 10 startups survive in the long run, pushing many back into under-employment.
According to a 2015 report by the UN's Department of Economics and Social Affairs,
- There were 1.2 billion youths aged 15-24 in the world, projected to increase by 7% (that is, 1.3 billion) in 2030
- While youth population has stabilised in many continents like Latin America & the Caribbean, Europe, Northern America, and Oceania, that of Africa is yet to peak
- Africa had 226 million youths within that age bracket of 15-24
- By 2030, Africa's young population will increase by a whopping 42% to 321 million
- Nigeria, being the most populous country on the continent, is projected to have its youth population grow by 60%
- Unfortunately, Nigeria, a country set to record the most growth in youth population has a very high rate (24%) of youth unemployment
Now, because of the high level of unemployment in Nigeria, the youth have taken to entrepreneurship. And as such, the media, including tech media, is rife with news of a startup that just launched, or received funding or more recently, exited. And because the media shapes perception, we have many young people aspiring to become a founder.
For so long, we have missed out on those in formal employment—many of which who later go ahead to found their own startup. But while they were in paid employment, nobody seemed to care about their story.
Take, for instance, the CEO of the biggest payment startup out of Nigeria, Olugbenga “GB” Agboola. GB is firmly in his 30s and no one knew about him until Flutterwave. Meanwhile, he had made some strides before then. As early as 2004, he was an Application Engineer at global fintech, Paypal. More recently (2014), he was the Product Manager for the Wallet product Google was building.
- What if we wrote about a GB seven years ago when he was a Product Manager at Google?
- Were we going to jinx his foray into Flutterwave or inspire more Nigerians to dream of working at global companies, rather than starting a company straight out of the University (if they attended one)?
- What impact could we have?
There is another example in Maya Horgan Famodu, the Founder of Ingressive and Ingressive Capital. In 2012, she was a Mortgage Banker at JPMorgan Chase. And then, in 2013, she started blogging for the Huffington Post where she wrote about investing and business. Looking back, it makes perfect sense that her experience in finance and working with entrepreneurs would lead to something called Ingressive.
But I never heard about a Maya before Ingressive. By now, you get the point.
Did you know that:
- 40% of our readers are 25-34 years old
- While only 24% are 18-24 years old
This tells you that we are not immune to the media issue of representation. By the time this Series is over, we will come back to tell you what the stats are.
By solely promoting founders, we have unconsciously excluded the younger population from the conversation. We were subtly saying to them that their work doesn’t matter until they become a GB or Maya. This focus on entrepreneurs has led people to think that the only route to fame and wealth is by being a founder.
For an industry (IT) with the highest startup failure rate, we need to do better to provide that balanced narrative. An alarming 90% of new startups fail, including the venture-backed ones. The 10% of startups that do succeed are usually led by older entrepreneurs.
With our UTH Series we are contributing our quota to making it more attractive to work for someone, especially while young. We understand that every (successful or not) startup is run by the sweat of its talent who usually operating behind-the-scenes. And now, we want to bring that to the fore.
In summary, with this Series, we hope to:
- Create relatable media content for talent already working in the space who might be looking for inspiration on their next move
- Increase representation for the young people working at startups, thereby
- Inspiring a new wave of aspiring tech talents i.e Students and youth who look forward to not just starting a company but being part of a great one—like the guests featured on our UTH Series
Our blog was founded by a techie who falls within the target age range. Not only does he work as a journalist and tech talent, he has friends who work at these startups and SMEs. Some of which have also founded startups.
Benjamindada.com was founded as a talent-first and founder-friendly blog. Since inception in 2018, we have written about tech communities people new to tech can join (like forLoop), places people can learn to code and even spotlighted the rare stories of homegrown tech talents working with international brands.
Not only are we deeply affected by what we are writing about, we have earned the love, trust and reputation. So, for us, this is more than "just another Content Series".
How will it run
Under The Hoodie will be published every Tuesday by 8 AM (WAT). So, click to save it in your calendar.
How can you contribute or partner?
Of course, we cannot do this alone. It takes a village.
As an individual, you can:
- help share the stories with people that might benefit from them
- recommend talent whose stories you want to read (keep an eye out on our Twitter profile)
As a corporate, you can:
- become one of our partners by taking up a sponsorship package (available on request, email [email protected])
- give out freebies to our guests
Already, we have gone ahead to work with WiiCreate on creating real hoodies for our guests. And we can't wait for you to see it!