Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only Interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m excited to be in Nigeria where I’m going to interview Abdullateef Lawal, founder of iDixcover. Let’s see what he is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Welcome Abdullateef, I’m super excited to meet you! Can you tell me what challenges you’re addressing through your startup, iDixcover?
Abdullateef: It’s wonderful to meet you too, Spiffy! Did you know that Nigeria has the world's second-highest rate of youth unemployment with 13.9 million unemployed youths—more than Rwanda's entire population? iDixcover is addressing the problem of unemployment and underemployment among northern youth, women, and people with disabilities who have been ravaged by the prolonged insecurities in the region. Our mission is to provide free access to information on opportunities, mentors, and career education to 10 million African youths and create 10,000 jobs by 2030.
Spiffy: Now that is a goal! Can you tell me what motivated you to do to meet this huge challenge?
Abdullateef: Well, despite excelling in school, obtaining a good job became challenging and frustrating—a bitter experience I don’t wish for any African youth. My undergraduate education only prepared me for literature reviews, not for real-life professional skills. So I created a platform to help young people like me have free access to information on opportunities, mentors, and career education.
Spiffy: Can you talk a bit about how you’re working to create a more equitable world?
Abdullateef: The leadership policy I advocate at iDixcover exemplifies inclusivity and commitment to reaching a diverse audience. My five-person team consists of three women, a person with disabilities, and two men from various cultural backgrounds. Each of my staff brings different skills and passions based on their experience and background, which has helped us reach a larger, more diverse audience and become more innovative and productive, such as the creation of idixcoveracademy.com, our e-learning and mentorship platform. I've learned that diversity and inclusion encourage innovation and creativity in the development of a sustainable business and community.
Spiffy: Are there any milestones that iDixcover has reached that you could tell me about?
Abdullateef: iDixcover was recently listed as one of the top 100 social enterprises within the Facebook sponsor Aspiring Entrepreneur Program and a top 100 social enterprise by Global Startup Ecosystem. During the LEAP Africa Social Innovator Program and Awards, iDixcover was recognized as one of the top five enterprises contributing to the Development of Social Entrepreneurs in Africa.
Spiffy: I’m always curious to learn how entrepreneurs deal with failure. What about you? Can you share about an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up?
Abdullateef: Because all our activities are physical, in 2020 we were all about securing a partnership deal before the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting restrictions on people’s movement halted the progress and forced the closure of my business. This opened up the vision to move our activities online and resulted in the establishment of iDixcoveracademy.com, our e-learning and mentorship platform. This has enabled us to increase our impact and grow our revenue by over 250%.
Spiffy: It sounds like you’re well on your way to your goal of impacting 10 million youth! I wish you all the best, Abdullateef. It’s been an honor speaking with you today.
Abdullateef Lawal is the founder of iDixcover whose work revolves around identifying opportunities, exploring innovative techniques, mobilizing resources, and building the capacity of vulnerable African youths. He is a passionate inclusive job skills development advocate with over six years of experience in capacity building, job awareness, community service, and enabling career development opportunities for unemployed youths. He is the first country director for the Global Youth Network in Nigeria and promotes the job inclusion of women. (Nominated by Action Accelerator. First published on the Ladderworks website on October 19, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.