When Misan Rewane completed her studies at Stanford University, she had one idea: To transform life opportunities for West African youth by offering employable skills training and career opportunities.
The ship on which she would sail to accomplishment was WAVE: West Africa Vocational Education, launched with seed funding awarded by Harvard Business School’s New Venture Competition in August 2013.
WAVE is a vocational training platform aimed at empowering millions of disadvantaged West African youth with employability skills that transform their mindsets and employment opportunities that enhance their social mobility.
WAVE provides self-motivated youth with skills employers want, teaches them how to stand out professionally by inculcating a mindset of continuous improvement and places them in paid technical apprenticeships in high-growth industries where they earn while they learn.
Born and raised in Nigeria, Misan Rewane earned a degree in Economics from Stanford University, and went on to work with the The Monitor Group in management consulting. Thereafter, she supported aspiring Ivoirian entrepreneurs through TechnoServe’s Business Plan Competition and developed a scholarship administration model as a consultant with the Center for Public Policy Alternatives in Nigeria.
She earned her Masters degree from the Harvard Business School in 2013 and is presently an Echoing Green Fellow.
What catalyzed Misan and her team to found WAVE? The reality that there are millions of youths in West Africa whose reality is chronic unemployment, poverty, frustration and in my opinion, crime. The WAVE team also worked with the assumption that hospitality and retail jobs are on the rise across the continent but, unfortunately, the service industry across West Africa has ways to go in ascending to the heights accepted globally in customer service delivery.
This then, was to be their primary focus; not just complaining about poor service delivery but making a concerted effort to churn out a breed of Africans with the requisite training, knowledge and experience.
By empowering these youth, WAVE will enhance their social mobility and spark a cultural mindset change of professional excellence that catalyzes Africa’s economic development.
WAVE has recorded success stories which has inspired Misan to do even more.
In an interview with Ventures Africa, she stated: “The path I have chosen is a battle at times but stories like Mary Ibe’s give me strength. Ibe was one of our trainees who, within one month of starting a post- WAVE training job as a trainee chef in the mid-sized hotel where we placed her, was promoted to Food and Beverage Lead in charge of a staff of 10. Over 100 hours of training helped to develop Ibe’s problem-solving, critical-thinking, communication, customer service and teamwork skills.
There are over 43 million people like her in Nigeria and I intend to find them, train them and place them in jobs that can transform their income and livelihoods. With faith, the support of family and friends, a fantastic team and of course, funding, we will get there!”
All complaints and no action makes Jack a complainant! Do want to remain a complainant or actually take steps to right the wrongs you so bitterly complain about? It can be done, one mindset at a time! Misan has shown us the way!
© 2016, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya. All rights reserved.