WAVE Academy, Lagos State

WAVE’s goal is to provide millions of youth in West Africa with employment skills to lift themselves out of poverty, contributing to their communities and the nation’s economy.

WAVE Academy
WAVE Academy

Project name: WAVE Academy

Project location: Lagos State

Website: https://waveacademies.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wave.hospitality

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/waveacademies/

Project description:

West African Vocational Education (WAVE) is a Nigeria-based social enterprise that addresses widespread youth unemployment in West Africa by training underserved but self-motivated youth with industry relevant work skills and crucial employability skills. We foster the inclusion of young people in the workforce through our ‘‘hire for attitude, train for skill’’ philosophy that focuses on evaluating EQ and soft skills. We help them move from subsistence farming and urban street hawking to more meaningful and promising jobs.

The following is our 4-step process:
SCREEN: identify youth based on emotional intelligence, personality traits, behavior, and life skills that focus on flexibility, empathy, courtesy, creativity, and persuasiveness.
TRAIN: conduct a 3-week training focused on employability skills such as communications, teamwork, customer relations, and sales techniques.
PLACE: partner with employers for technical apprenticeships and job placements where youth earn a stable income while learning technical skills to meet industry standards.
SUPPORT: support alumni through monthly workshops focusing on job performance and professional/personal development; and coaching from WAVE alumni mentors and our career services and alumni affairs offices.

Our impact-to-date:
820 total youth trained.
60% job placement rate (in contrast to a national youth employment rate of 50%.)
170+ employer partners.
200% income transformation.

Goal and purpose of the project:

Low income and underserved youth in West Africa are locked out of gainful work opportunities. 50 million youth are unemployed or underemployed.

WAVE’s goal is to provide millions of youth in West Africa the necessary employment skills to lift themselves out of poverty, contributing to their communities and the nation’s economy. The WAVE model creates an eco-system of driven and self-reliant youth and innovative business leaders that champion our “hire for attitude, train for skill” approach.

Motivation of the applicant / applicant team:

My motivation comes from my experience with Nigeria’s education system. I was born and raised in Lagos but the local system’s significant inadequacies compelled my parents to send me to the US for higher education.

While at Harvard Business School I grappled with the problem of widespread youth unemployment in West Africa. My discussions with like-minded West Africans led to the founding of WAVE. After graduation I followed my calling, moving back to Nigeria to devote myself to the WAVE mission.

Use of prize money:

The prize money would enable WAVE to train around 37 Nigerian youth and connect them to promising employment opportunities, fostering their inclusion into the local workforce and economy.


Recruiting and screening youth to the program: NGN 45, 000 (~€125)
Training youth: NGN 35,000 (~€97)
Identifying job vacancies: NGN 30,000 (~€84)
Connecting youth to best-fit jobs: NGN 15, 000 (~€42)
Supporting them on the job: NGN 15,000 (~€42)
Estimated total cost per graduate: ~€400