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Exclusive interview with Make.It.Work Grand Winners

by Bistra Kumbaroska on 11th November, 2013 at 3:19 PM CEST

Exclusive interview with the Grand Winner of the Challenge:Future Global Competition Make.It.Work

In December 2012, Challenge:Future launched 3 streams of online competitons, with one and one goal only: to fight youth unemployment. Make.IT.Work Competition presented the challenging expectation that more than 1.2 billion young people will enter labor market in the next 10 years while only 300 million jobs await. Here we are now, in November 2013, interviewing the persons who fought boldly and created one of the most feasible and impactful solutions for fighting youth unemployment in Nigeria and in the world. A round of applause to the Grand Winner Michael Iyanro and his team mate Abigail A. Michael. Learn more about their project and life.

Michael Iyanro, Bistra Kumbaroska and Abigail A. Michael during Challenge:Future Summit 2013

First of all, congratulations! Being a winner of the Grand Award of Make.It.Work Competition 2013 have put you in the spotlight. But, who is Michael behind the scenes?

My name is Michael, I am the  Founder & President Rainbow Gate Foundation Nigeria and the initiator of the Youth Innovation Hub Project. I have always been passionate about creating solutions that make a difference, that generate value and provide a great place for people to work and learn. I spent most of the last 5 years involved in fast moving small and medium sized businesses deliberately building a skill set to help me successfully start and grow my various ideas.

Why did you decide to participate in the competition?

Firstly, The Challenge Future Platform is always a platform that changes one's life. I joined Challenge Future in the year 2011 and since then I have been participating in the competitions. However, I won for the first time in the year 2012. That motivated me to want to do even more. Once you are in it, you just want to do more. I and Abigail (my team mate) applied for the 2013 competition because we found the topic is interesting to us and since it is focused on tackling youth unemployment which is a major challenge to us here in Nigeria we decided to seize the opportunity, simply to help many Nigerian youth and others in Africa to tackle this menace head-on. Secondly, being part of Challenge Future by blood, we wanted to use the opportunity to tell other youth about Challenge:Future and its perpetual benefits. To make them enroll, mentor and mastermind them in order to make a change in Nigeria with new outlooks.

Presenting at Challenge:Future Summit 2013

So, tell us more about your project! What is the Youth Innovation Hub about?

The proposed mission of the Youth Innovation Hub (YIH) is to provide access to microwork for unemployed youth and to stimulate the establishment and growth of technology-based start-up companies and other compatible businesses. By fulfilling this mission, YIH would contribute to job creation, and provide for enhanced economic health to the region. We focused on developing an innovative approach to generating more jobs for young people. Not only does the hub inspire young people to create jobs for themselves, but it can also serve as a starting point for their successful careers.

Were you surprised when you were chosen? Or was it expected?

Actually we were amazed and it still seems magical, because a lot of youth across the globe applied, not to mention about many who applied in Africa. Our application for the competition already included good research of all the questions that were asked The questions were somehow logical but relevant to all fields of studies. It was a demanding competitions, but very exciting at the same time. We learned a lot from the feedback given during the first phase of judging. The final presentation in Slovenia was another thing because we had to compete with two other teams for the big prize but as God will have it, we emerged as the winner. It was an awesome experience. Best of my life!

How has your business changed since winning the Challenge Future Competition?

It's grown significantly. There are now 4 of us working on the project and this may increase by up to 5 more people by the end of the year. We also have much more credibility when we make contact with other organizations for the first time. This makes it much easier to build partnerships and start conversations with potential partners.

Having this much experience, what would be your message to young people worldwide who are eager to compete?

Get online and join communities like Challenge:Future! Dream Big but be prudent, read the questions very well, let your approach be catchy and put all relevant things. Try to make good research about the essay questions and be innovative in answering those questions. If you get selected for the finals you get to meet other like-minded entrepreneurs, advisers, journalists and thinkers who all want you to succeed. Even if you don't get selected for the finals, the discipline of answering the questions asked in the application process will force you to ask questions about your idea that you may not have thought about previously. The journey is simply a must for anyone who wishes to start their own business. So, join me!

Apart from the Grand award of 3000Eur and the scholarship to attend the C:F Summit and IEDC Young Managers Program, what was the best thing about being involved?

The learning experience and the people. Just going through the processes of the competition will teach you new ways to look at what you are doing. To step away from 'the product', which it is easy to obsess over, and look at the product in the context of the market, the customer and global need. The people involved are also fantastic. I really believe that at least two previous winners and two other finalists from last year could go on to be the next Richard Branson's, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Incredible minds doing incredible things.

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Shahzaman Murtaza  Khuhro

Shahzaman Murtaza Khuhro | Action team

wow! simply wow! impressive

12th November, 2013 @ 5:18 PM CEST

Stefan Alievikj

Stefan Alievikj | C:F staff

Impressive indeed! Best wishes for further growth!! :)

12th November, 2013 @ 6:13 PM CEST

pacifique ndayishimiye

pacifique ndayishimiye

Like the moments and learned a lot from the team.hope to advance because of them. thanks Bistra for the interview.)

12th November, 2013 @ 6:57 PM CEST

Muhammad Ali Ali

Muhammad Ali Ali

Amazing Michel. U proved that u are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanx Bistra to design such a motivated interview: u always prove your self a source of motivation for the whole CF family.
We proud of U.

Well Done Michel & Superb Bistra!!!!!!!!!!

13th November, 2013 @ 6:52 AM CEST

Valentine Sims

Valentine Sims

Wow! Congratulations!

16th November, 2013 @ 10:20 AM CEST

Vesna Đukanović

Vesna Đukanović

Great article :) I am very happy because Michael mentioned that this award bring to them a team work ! --**I and Abigail (my team mate) applied for the 2013 competition because ** :))

26th November, 2013 @ 12:58 PM CEST

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