Hey guys, so today on the Show, we have Mr Kitan David. A Super Technology Influencer. You should meet him!
My name is Aboluwarin Olaoluwa David , I’m the Cofounder of Seeddev, I’m also the global talent lead for 115 Garage. Seeddev is not for profit. I am a not for profit oriented person. I like NGO’s. My projects are more non profit incline. At Seeddev, we train Africans, young people to be technology aggregates. We get them skilled in all the current technological trends like Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, and then equip them for the market place.
At 115 Garage, which is a business, we get all these together as jobs, mostly international jobs, we work with US, UK, Canada companies for now, we are hoping to go deep into those countries and probably expand. So, that’s who I am, that’s like the core of everything. *laughs
Under Seeddev, we have Seeddev for kids. We go to kids in emerging communities, rural areas that still wants to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, which is fine. That’s what we tell them. But a child only wants to become something he knows. So we show them many other opportunities, and we tell them, it’s ok to be a doctor, the only problem is when you are old enough to practice medicine, it’s not how medicine is practice today that it will be practice then. And it’s not then you start learning the skills, it’s now. We’ve been able to reach out to seven thousand plus kids in Nigeria, South West, North, South South, South East. Yes. That’s what we do. That’s me, and I am not married. *laughs….
So, what really inspired you to Startup an NGO?
I grew up in Ile-efe and I grew up in the rural part of ile-efe and I know my dad will not send us to any school that does not have a computer lab, and by computer lab I mean at least one computer, so don’t think it’s one big school, in fact it’s a village, not a big deal. But I got really attracted to computers, I still remember going to my dad’s friend, my dad didn’t have a computer, my dad had a professor friend Iboyu (I feel I still own that man a lot), I would go to his office and stay there overnight. Yeah.. that’s how I got addicted to computers. And then I feel every child should be exposed to technology. Even if he’s going to be an Artist or a footballer. That’s it. And then running that kind of idea on a for profit model is not smart because you won’t make money. These people don’t have money to pay you. You can pull in grants if you are not for profit. Though grant is not as easy as it sounds. I spend more of my money.
Was going to ask how you finance your projects?
Yes really, It demands a lot of money, and the communities doesn’t care, the kids don’t care, nobody cares where you get the money from. So, initially, I went in with a lot of my funds, a lot of funds from my business, from friends and families that believed in me and all, but you know, it’s not sustainable. I cannot help you if I’ve not helped myself, I can’t give you food if I’m hungry. So we had to reach out to partners, organizations, we have organizations now that commit a part of their revenue towards the foundation, and that makes us very accountable. Because if its my money, I can spend it without voicing… because it’s my money after all, but then when I start getting your money, my friend’s money, somebody’s else money, then I have to be accountable, every month, every year on what we are doing.
What did you study in school?
I studied computer science, that’s another story. I wrote jamb four times, and the reason why I wrote jamb four times was because I wanted to study computer science. I’m a very dogged person. But all these times I went to NIIT, and then I was learning how to code. I had already started my first company, that failed. I was trying to build something for schools, but it eventually failed.
Have you worked somewhere else before starting up?
I’ve worked more on Ambassadorial roles, I’ve been the Nokia Research Centre Ambassador for west Africa. I was going to universities across west Africa, both Anglophone and Francophones, I speak a little of French. I went to FUTA, Federal University of Technology Akure. There was a six months strike, and in that six months strike, I went to the Republic of Benin EUP, that’s how it’s pronounced in French but in English it’s IUP, Pan Africa Institute in Portnovo to learn French and that gave me the Nokia role. So I go to inspire young people to build something in tech, to build Apps and all that. And from there I started my other stuffs. Just like that, you fail on one thing, you try another thing.
What has been the challenges so far?
There is no money. *laughs.. Alright, my biggest challenge is not growing at the pace of my industry. I had the challenge of working with people, especially people perceived higher than me. At the end of life, I found out that those people are not like higher than me like that, but of course that was how I perceived them. I had problems fostering relationships. I am a goal oriented person. When I’m working on something, when my team is working on it, it’s very difficult to talk me out of it because I do a lot of research before I begin what I want to do. But when people I want to work with have other goals, I have issues.. That’s what I’m saying. And that made me burn some bridges, that made me lose some relationships. Relationships are my biggest challenge, most times, because doors open based on who you know. I wouldn’t say funding is a challenge, because funding is burn out of relationships. Then the challenge of keeping up with my industry. In tech, everything move in the speed of light, so while you are learning one skill, another skill is out. And if I’m going to help people, I have to learn.
But I’ve learnt it already. it’s no more a challenge. But I believe I would have gone farther than this if I’d learnt it earlier. And that’s one of the things I teach everybody that works with me. Relationship is the biggest. Never look down on anybody. Yea.. I mean the guy that is opening the gate today can own a Startup tomorrow. Like get funding that could fund your initiative.
Where do you see Seeddev in the next 5 years?
I want to grow from just teaching people technology skills and applying it, so what we do now is teach people technological skills that make them relevant in the market place. In the next few years, I want to grow from that to building technology leaders, such that if you are a Seeddev Alumni, if you were ever trained at Seeddev, it comes with a notion that you could take a leadership role. Not just getting involved in working for technological companies, but driving technology innovations yourself. You could lead a technology movement. Somebody led the movement of instant messaging. Yahoo messager and all that, and now we are on WhatsApp and the likes, some people led it. Andela lead the adoption of training people in technology roles, CC-hub led the incubation of Startups. That’s what I’m talking. So whatever wave of leadership that’s going to happen in technology, I want Seeddev guys to be part of it. That’s it. The opportunities are endless. That’s one thing I like about Nonprofit, we are very flexible. We don’t have a board of directors looking at shares and stock, we have a board looking at impact moves and opportunities. That makes me do a lot. And in my personal life, I have to double my hustle too, like I said, I cannot be hungry and be feeding people.
Have you thought of a Technology University in Nigeria?
Yeah, I personally wants to build a university. But I don’t know so much about the laws in Nigeria, but I think it doesn’t support it. There are rules to building a University, every Nigerian parent wants their child to be university graduate. So they won’t bring him to me to learn all the skills, he has to go to a school. And the last time I asked, a university might not be able to offer only one course. There must be a biology department, chemistry, and the rest. So I will just stay with Institute. *laughs
How would you advice young startup entrepreneurs?
Don’t joke with relationships. Relationship is everything. And then every where you go, offer value. Let people see what you are adding. Let people know you for something, because the biggest decisions about your life is made when you are not in the room.
How would you advice the Nigeria president?
Haa, he should keep doing what he is doing. He’s my boss na. *laughs…..
Alright people, it’s was an amazing time with Mr Kitan David, the founder and CEO of Seeddev Africa. One thing you should not forget is building and maintaining great relationships. Trust you are inspired. It’s Mercy Omoregie on BeInspired Show. See you next week Monday.
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