My Journey to Tech Via T.E.N.T- Oladotun Aluko

By | DigitalJobs, ICT Policy, ICTs, TENT, Web Design

“Is there chops?”. That is the official attention grabber for most Obafemi Awolowo University students whenever an event is announced. It was a quiet evening in 2012 in a lecture room where we sat and listened to a team we were meeting for the first time. The question that played in our head was, “What is this going to be about?”. Well, it was what would eventually become one of the best things that ever happened during my stay in the University.

It turned out that an organisation called Paradigm Initiative was kicking off a new programme and we were just given the opportunity to be the pioneers of Techie Entrepreneurial Nigerian Talented or T.E.N.T (now known as Techtiary). So here came ‘Gbenga Sesan doing one of the things he does best, inspiring younger ones to pick up the challenge of making themselves self-employed through entrepreneurial activities. Believe me, he sure knows how to activate the entrepreneurial nature in people.

T.E.N.T’s structure was very simple; come up with a viable, scalable idea that tackles a problem and find a technological solution to it and develop it into something marketable without necessarily waiting to be out of school before thinking ‘big’. His primary emphasis was that one should not be at the mercy of anyone when there is the option of entrepreneurship and created jobs for others.

It sounds easy or so I thought until the time came to actually generate the ideas (possibly the next big thing). We had several group brainstorming sessions and personal brainstorming sessions. But of course, we had a rather naive approach to generating these ideas. In fact, a friend had spoken around developing a Time Machine. In one part of my mind, my response was, “Bro, just forget it”.

The very first set of ideas were simply just too fancy so I am not going to mention them. However, the real journey started a few months down the line in 2013. It was during this period that I found something more substantial to work on. And then, here came an extended semester break in form of a general university  Strike. This period was really the time I got to work on very substantial things. So I decided to go change the idea. This time, I went for something along the lines of matching skilled and talented people with those that may be looking for skilled personnel.

In essence, it was like an online Marketplace for soft skills. I named this one “Expose” for lack of a better name (you can laugh at me – it was the best I could find). I proceeded with it up until sometime in 2015. At which time, I collaborated with another TENT participant to develop another product which was centred around identifying different places based on the principle of Augmented Reality. This one was named “FINDA”(still not the best name – I know).

Working on these ideas served as the impetus for study and research, to find out what works and what doesn’t and afterwards find out why what works, works and vice versa. During these periods, I picked up a number of skills and learnt a couple of things that have enriched my experience. And sure enough, it has paid off in huge terms. It’s then you find out why the statement, “99% of startups fail” is not an exaggeration. And in fact, the major takeaway is more about developing an attitude towards finding the simplest approach to solving a particular problem.

Developing the Entrepreneurial mindset was the key takeaway. Since then, I have served on a number of startup teams trying to develop simple solutions to seemingly complicated problems and believe me, it’s so much fun. The experience with T.E.N.T, on the whole, was interesting. I do not feel that not succeeding with the ideas is a sign of failure (at least by my own standards), it is actually the foundation for something much bigger. This experience and lessons learnt are quite invaluable.


Oladotun Aluko participated in T.E.N.T (now Techtiary) between 2012 and 2017. He is available on Twitter, @nutod_20.

“I once thought Java was a type of tea”- Ita, StepWiseFlow Founder

By | DigitalJobs, ICT Policy, ICTs, TENT, Web Design

In its five years of existence, Paradigm Initiative’s digital inclusion program, Techtiary has helped discover and groom new ICT talents in Nigeria. Formerly known as T.E.N.T (Techie Entrepreneurial Nigerian Talented), Techtiary has been quite effective in providing the necessary structure for talent development in the universities where it is currently available. One of such talents is Ukemeabasi Favour Ita, the founder of StepWiseFlow, who told us that prior to joining the program in 2012, he had no idea what Java was and even thought the programming language was a kind of tea.

We bring you excerpt from his recent conversation with us.
“My T.E.N.T journey started on the 30th of April 2012 when the program facilitators arrived at Obafemi Awolowo University to create awareness through an orientation event tagged T.E.N.T.50.’’

As the program is designed to run the length of participants’ degree program, Ita was required to come up with a project he would focus on during his 5-year engineering degree program. The idea was to work on this idea and make it sufficient for the student’s final year project. We believe that dedicating this much time and resources to the idea would ensure the production of a solid product.

Ita recalls this stage of his training process: “After joining the program, I was required to come up with proposed project topics to work on for the program. With that, I went brainstorming and finally choose just 5 of the numerous ideas bugging my mind. These are Project A: Pressure Sensor Traffic Lights; Project B: Universal Electronic Schooling (e-schooling); Project C: User Programmable Calculator (UPC); Project D: Single Signal Hybrid Computer (SSHC) and Project E: Human External Hard Disk (HE-HD).”

As the maiden edition of the TENT Forum was approaching, Ita finally settles for Universal Electronic Schooling as his main project for the 5-year program.

“At this point, I had never written a line of code neither did I have knowledge of what computer programs were made of. Sincerely, this memory brings back smiles. I was, just as my mentor Elon Musk, a young boy with big dreams of changing the world. I even named my first startup “changing the world”

He continues: “I registered for the TENT Forum which held on the 10th of December at Awovarsity Hall, and after 2 weeks of constant speech “cramming” and personal drilling, I felt I was adequately prepared to present my idea to the Forum. With my well-ironed shirt, crisp tie and radiant smile, I stepped forward to explain how my “e-University” system would revolutionize the whole Nigerian academic system. I was shocked by the feedback. I was told that my idea was not workable as it was and had somewhat already been implemented. Let’s just say my first TENT event did not go anywhere as planned.”
Ita did not allow this disappointment to weigh him down and like many successful entrepreneurs, he simply returned to work to fine-tune his idea. This paid off.

“After 5 years of hard work, late nights, missed lectures, broken laptops, lonely holidays, my project was finally ready. I strongly believe one of the high points of my story was when I eventually presented and defended the e-University system as my final year project. Truly, it was not as easy as expected as there were various challenges such as lack of electricity and poor internet, but these I overcame through making myself available for several Bootcamps, Hackathons, Developer gatherings, and Programming seminars.”


“My experience involved me learning various programming languages such as Python, PHP, Java, C++, JavaScript and a lot more frameworks which helped me achieve not just my project goals, but also made me a better person.”
“5 years after that first day in TENT, I have received the technical exposure I needed to thrive. From a young student who assumed Java was a type of tea, I have evolved into a full-stack software developer and Technopreneur with well over 5 years of technical experience ranging from software (mobile and web) development to networking, to database management and also to the world of artificial intelligence and robotics.”

Now in 2017, Ita currently runs two start-ups, Tecky designs and StepwiseFlow. He has also played vital roles in several companies like Sanwo,, and RIBY Finance as both a software developer and a Technology Lead.


This is part of a special focus series on alumni of #Techtiary.



The Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka will host young techies, tech professionals, academia, media, investors and about 300 students with keen interest in ICT solutions at the 4th annual TENT Gathering from November 24th through 26th 2015.
With the likes of Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem (Chairman, Teledom Group), ‘Gbenga Sesan (Executive Director, PIN), Chude Jideonwo (Managing Partner, Red Media Africa), Dr. Adeniran Oluwaranti (HOD, Computer Science- O.A.U, Ile-Ife), Emeka Okoye (CEO, Cymantics Nigeria), Olusola Amusan (Citizenship Manager, Microsoft Nigeria), Adeboye Adegoke (ICT Policy Manager, PIN), Odunoluwa Longe (Co-Founder, All things Strategy and Development), Omotunde Seyi James (CEO, Surfweb Nigeria), Dimgba Kalu, (Lead Developer, Integrated Business Network) Okoye Nzubechukwu (Google Developers Group, Enugu) and Kendra Nnachi (Audience Evangelism Manager, Microsoft Nigeria) sharing relevant experiences to help young tech enthusiasts move their ideas towards reality, the platform is poised to realize its big vision; which to help jumpstart the culture of innovation and enterprise in the mould of global technology brands which all began from the university halls of their young founders.



T.E.N.T is PIN’s response to the huge need to reverse the current trend in youth unemployment in Nigeria, and institute a culture of graduating with business plans (or businesses) and not resumes. The platform provides a space where young Nigerians are not afraid of failure, as an opportunity to learn, and where budding Nigerian technopreneurs can showcase their work, connect with resources, add value to market and inspire innovation.
The final day of the gathering focuses on demos of products and services by young techies who hope to use the opportunity of the Gathering to launch their products/services. A panel of investors and mentors would listen to the presentations and give feedback that could help improve their product/service. It is expected that there would be requests for additional meetings or announcements of support for projects that catch attention.
The Taiwo Bankole Ogunyemi Prize is won during a keen contest where teams from various tertiary institutions present a demo of product or service to a panel of judges. The winning schools are determined based on factors like product relevance, potential for impact, appropriate use of technology and creativity among others. In 2014, the star Prize was won by Students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; with Nnamdi Azikwe University and University of Benin emerging as first and second runners up respectively. The TAIWO BANKOLE OGUNYEMI Prize for 2015 has been announced as N1 million.

For more information please contact:
Adebola Agbaje, Project Manager, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, +234 1 342 62 45

PIN Trains 479 Students From 30 Schools at #DareToBeBIG In Kano


Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) trained 476 students at her 4th Edition of the Dare to be Brightest ICT Guy/Girl (B.I.G.) training and quiz competition for secondary schools. In conjunction with the Kano State Ministry of Education, the training and quiz competition took place from October 20th -22nd, 2015.

PIN impacted students with the knowledge of ICT productivity tools ranging from basic computer skills, using ICT tools to improve academic performances, basic functions of the keyboard, and different functions of Microsoft office package and how to use social media to enhance their studies. Through the interactive session, students were made to bare their minds about their future career interests, further demonstrating their knowledge using Microsoft Productivity tools in a practical session.


The 30 Participating schools at the ICT training were Governor’s College, GGSS Shekara, GGC Dala, GSS R/Gado, GSS Gwarzo, Hajara Buhari Islamic College, GGSS Kabo, GSS Tarauni, GGC Airport Road, Kano Kapital Girls, GSS Gwale, GGSS Dukawiya, GGSS Madobi, Kano Capital School Boys, GGC Gezawa, GGSS Kiru, GSS Kawaji, GGSS Mainagge, Day Science College, Government College Kano, Rumfa College Kano, GGSS Turaki Hashim, GGSS Jogama, GSS Rano, GSS Sharada, Army Day Secondary School, GSS D/Kudu, GSS Panshekara, GSS Dawanau and GSS Bachirawa.

29 schools participated in the Quiz competition on the final day of the Dare to be BIG event which had 3 rounds.  At the end of the final round, 3 schools emerged tops with Government Secondary School Kawaji taking the 1st position. Government Girls Secondary School Shekara and Government Girls Secondary School Dukawiya took the 2nd and 3rd position respectively.


The top 3 schools were presented with Trophies for their schools while each of the quiz representatives were given Etisalat Cliqlite tabs as prizes for the first position, Tecno M3 phones for second position and Smartphones as the third position. Quiz representatives of the schools that took 4th to 8th positions were also given branded shirts from Etisalat and more exciting gifts were given to students who answered bonus questions at the quiz competition. All participating schools were also given educational materials courtesy Etisalat Nigeria.


PIN appreciates the Ministry of Education for the high level of co-ordination at the 4th edition of the Dare to be BIG ICT training and quiz competition in Kano State. Moreover, the support of our pioneer partners Etisalat Nigeria and Dufil Foods, makers of Indomie Noodles is highly commendable, as our student participants were well catered for. PIN looks forward to reaching out to many more secondary schools across Nigeria and equally welcome more partners to work with us on our Dare to be BIG project.


PIN hosts the 3rd edition of the Dare to be B.I.G. in Owerri, Imo State


Dare to be B.I.G (“BIG” is acronym for “Brightest ICT Guy/Girl”), is a project that brings learning opportunities, positive peer pressure and excitement to Nigerian youth in Secondary Schools. It features an exciting ICT quiz competition bringing early unique opportunities, positive peer pressure and showcasing Africa’s budding ICT talents from Secondary Schools. Our team visit schools, organizing training in their school halls and introducing them to the benefits of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the advantages of starting early ahead of the quiz competition. The ICT quiz competition and training is at no cost to the students or schools.

In October 2013, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria organised the first edition of the Dare to be B.I.G. competition amongst Private Secondary Schools in Lagos State. In October 2014, 20 secondary schools participated in the training and quiz competition in Ondo State where the Federal University Technology Staff Secondary School, Akure emerged the winner.

Dare to be B.I.G. is coming to Owerri, Imo State from June 2nd to June 5th, 2015, with 30 secondary schools registered to participate. This edition will feature three-day ICT workshop, followed by the quiz competition where 3 schools are expected to emerge winners. In addition, students that represent the winning schools will be presented with relevant personal tools; useful for improving their ICT skills and aiding their education.

Dare to be BIG Owerri 1B

Participating schools in the Owerri edition of the Dare to be B.I.G. are Claret Academy Sec. Sch. Owerri, Government College Owerri, Ikenegbu Girls’ Secondary school, Emmanuel College Owerri, Federal Govt. Girls’ College, Obazu Girls Secondary School, Sec. Tech. School Umueze, Community Sec. Schl Anara, Amaraku Sec. Schl Isiala Mbano, St. Salas Science Umunakara, Community Secondary School, Mgbidi, Chosen Secondary school. Mgbidi, St. Kizito Sec. Sch Umuchima, New Laetera Sec. Sch Akwakuma, Bishop Lasbery Sec. Sch. Irete, St. Carol Ulakwo, CRM Int’l Sec. Sch Mgbidichi, Akwakuma Girls’ Sec. Sch, Boys sec. Schl Nkwerre, Owerri Nkwoji Sec. Schl, Dick Tiger Memorial Sec schl, Living word Academy Nkwerre, St. Catherine Girls Sec Schl, Okwudor Sec. Tech. Sch Okwudor, Amucha Sec. Sch Umuamucha, Comp Sec Sch. Eziama Obire, Urban development Sec sch. Umuna Orlu, Rochas Foundation Sec School Ogboko, Comp Sec Sch. Umuna Orlu and Orlu Girls Sec Schl Orlu.

PIN Hosts 341 Students from 10 Schools in South-West Nigeria at the TENT Workshop


The first edition of the 2015 TENT Workshop which took place from 20th-21st March, gathered students from 10 tertiary institutions in the South-West region of Nigeria. Participating schools include: The Federal University of Technology Akure, Adeyemi College of Education, Ajayi Crowther University, Federal Polytechnic-Ede, Federal Polytechnic-Ado-Ekiti, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Afe Babalola University, Tai Solarin University, University of Benin, and Obafemi Awolowo University.

TENT @ FUTA 6TENT Workshop @ FUTA 3

The 2-day workshop featured some of Nigeria’s finest brains in the tech industry. ‘Gbenga Sesan (Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria), Deji Aladejebi (Software developer and Founder, Dabar Objects) and Olusola Amusan (Citizenship Manager, Microsoft Nigeria) as speakers.

341 participants attended the day 1 of the workshop at D-Rock Hall in Akure and benefited from seminars on Software Development, floating tech Start-ups, and Online work. There were also break-out sessions on these topics.

197 students attended the students’ ideas exhibition on day 2 of the #TENTWorkshop. After the presentation, 3 outstanding project ideas were selected by the judges from amongst 20 others. Projects ‘Smart Purse’ by Okewande Olanrewaju, ‘Embedded systems’ by Omojola Kazem and ‘Apartment Finder’ by Daniel Anthony were among the best ideas. The result of their hard work earned them free mentorship and business opportunities; as well as priority access to future TENT events that will be organised in other regions of Nigeria.

Check out more pictures from the workshop below

TENT Workshop @ FUTA 2

TENT Workshop @ FUTA

Olusola Amusan and Deji Aladejebi at Day 2 of TENT Workshop

TENT @ FUTA 'Gbenga Sesan

‘Gbenga Sesan

TENT @ FUTA Sola Amusan

Deji Aladejebi




If you would like more information about this topic or further project description on TENT; please visit For more information please contact: ‘Debola Agbaje, Project Manager, TENT/DigitalJobs + 234 1 342 62 45, or e-mail

#PINWeeklyRecap (Monday 5th – Friday 9th, 2014)

By | #PINWeeklyRecap, AbaLIFE, AjegunleLIFE, ICT Policy, Internet Freedom, L.I.F.E., TENT

It has been an exciting first week of work for us at PIN. We hope it has been for you too. Today, we will be bringing you a recap of activities this week.


We are excited about the #DigitalJobs Jobs campaign. Over 1000 people have registered to get trained by PIN on preferred skills, 80 of whom have been trained in the last month of 2014.  PIN seeks to train about 160 this quarter. If you haven’t signed up to be trained yet, you should sign up here. You should also sign up on eLance to start getting #DigitalJobs opportunities whether or not you have been trained.


On Tuesday, we announced that the L.I.F.E. project will be expanding to 2 new regions in Nigeria. Work is ongoing concerning this. Applications are now open for #AbaLIFE and #AjegunleLIFE class 2015A. 40 students will benefit directly from #AjegunleLIFE every quarter while 72 students will benefit from #AbaLIFE every quarter of this year. Stay connected to our social media platforms for updates.  Remember, you can also volunteer for different training sessions (ICT, Entrepreneurship and Life Skills)


We announced on Wednesday that Techie. Entrepreneurial. Nigerian. Talented. (TENT) will host 2 workshops and one annual event across Nigeria this year.  PIN is currently nurturing 23 OAU students in various ICT related projects. 3 of these projects are currently receiving international funding support. The Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) will be hosting the South-West edition of South-West! This South-West TENT workshop is slated for March 2015. Registration details will be shared soon. PIN would also host a Summer Camp later in the year, bringing together budding ICT talents from secondary schools across Nigeria. We would fill you in with details as plans unfold.

ICT Policy

Our weekly #PINternetFreedom Thursday focused on ‘Internet Freedom and Human Rights.’ We shared a few tweets explaining how the same Human Rights offline should be applicable online. Please check out the tweets here in case you missed it. Registration is also opened for the North-West edition of our Internet Policy Training which would be holding in Kaduna. Register to attend here.


Follow us on Twitter @PINigeria to get daily updates on our activities.

Microsoft Nigeria Supports PIN’s T.E.N.T Workshop; Impacts Over 300 Students From Tertiary Institutions In North Central Nigeria


Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) is a social enterprise focused on bridging the gap between less privileged Nigerian Youth and Information Communication Technology (ICT) opportunities. As part of its socio-economic development projects, PIN reaches out to students in tertiary institutions by providing them with knowledge useful for developing an ICT-oriented entrepreneurial mindset.

The T.E.N.T. workshop is a platform to showcase, connect, add-value and inspire participants. The event helps students to build and share their technological ideas, fine-tune them through constructive criticism and obtain expert advice on how to create market value for them

The North Central edition of the 2014 Techie.Entrepreneurial.Nigerian.Talented. (T.E.N.T.) workshop was recently held at the University of Ilorin where students from University of Ilorin, Kwara State University and Federal Polytechnic, Offa. The two-day workshop which took place on 17th and 18th September, 2014 provided learning opportunities through presentations and interactive sessions with students who are currently working on tech ideas.


The first day of the workshop allowed the facilitators to discuss the need for students to take advantage of the ICT opportunities in the face of growing unemployment. Facilitators at this edition of the 2014 T.E.N.T workshop were Paradigm Initiative Nigeria’s ‘Gbenga Sesan, Olamide Egbayelo (Digital Media Manager) and ‘Debola Agbaje (Project Manager, T.E.N.T./Digital Jobs).

Twenty-five students who are currently developing ICT based ideas attended the second day of the workshop, following a selection process on the first day of the workshop. Participants made a presentation on their projects. Some of the projects were: PIN provided feedback and shared support opportunities with the students. This was followed by a students’ peer-review session aimed at evaluating and analyzing each other’s ideas.

The North Central edition of PIN’s T.E.N.T. workshop was sponsored by Microsoft.

PIN Executive Director, ‘Gbenga Sesan announced that the 2014 edition of the T.E.N.T. Gathering will be hosted by Benson Idahosa University, Benin City from November 18-20.   According to him, “the Big Plan on T.E.N.T. is to work with tertiary institutions to become the ICT talent hub for Africa, the same way tertiary institutions in the US Silicon Valley have laid a foundation for technology innovation”. He further emphasised that “the theme of the third annual T.E.N.T. Gathering will be ‘See the Need, Take the Lead’. As usual, T.E.N.T. Gathering participants from across Nigeria will benefit from keynote addresses by leading experts, presentations by techies and entrepreneurs, panel discussion with young start-up founders and the exciting contests- ‘Clash of the Campuses’. This year’s contest promises to be different and attracts mouth-watering prizes. T.E.N.T. seeks to ensure that students graduate with tech businesses or skills and not just CVs. We strongly believe that with students who ‘See the Need’ have a better opportunity to ‘Take the Lead’ in their respective areas of focus”.

If you would like more information about this topic or further project description on TENT; please visit To schedule an interview with Mr. ‘Gbenga Sesan (Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria), please call ‘Debola on +234-1-342 62 45 or mail


By | ICT Policy, TENT

Internet Policy is an important subject, not just for policy makers or advocates, but also for civil society organizations that work around the theme of ICT for Development, those who rely heavily on the use of the Internet for their work for Human Rights and/or Freedom of Expression, and media institutions.

PIN hosted a 3-day workshop from 24th-26th June 2014 at Nike Lake Resort Centre in Enugu facilitated by a team of experts. The training also featured trainings on Nigeria’s Freedom of Information Law, Internet Freedom Advocacy in Nigeria, Internet Freedom and Social Media, communicating, organizational objectives, ICT Policy in Nigeria and Introduction to Digital Security

After the successful Internet Policy Training in Enugu, the PIN team moved to Abia where they hosted over 750 students from over 10 schools to a 2-Day workshop tagged ‘TENT Workshop’  in conjunction with  National Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSS) at the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba on 27th -28th June,2014. Some of the schools represented include Abia State Polytechnic, Michael Okpara University, Enugu State University, Institute of Management and Technology, University of Nigeria amongst others.

The big vision for TENT Workshop is to help jump start the culture of innovation and enterprise in the mould of global tech brands among students in Nigeria tertiary institution.


Day one of the TENT Workshop focused on encouraging students to come up with innovative tech ideas so they can graduate with businesses and not just CVs. PIN COO, Tope Ogundipe also took time out to introduce the students to Microsoft online job and career portal In her own words, In her own words “You need skills to be able to launch to lead and grow a business and the important thing is to know what you want to do and not just praying”.

During his session, PIN ED, ‘Gbenga sesan talked about the 4 stages on how student can graduate with a tech business plan not just a CV. He stated the four stages as:  Ideation, Action, Focus and  Consolidate

Day 2 of the Workshop hosted  50 students with tech ideas in a closed facilitated session with  PIN ED, ‘Gbenga Sesan , the students who were divided into groups such as Software Solutions, Online and Social Networking, System security, Gaming and Entertainment, Hardware Solutions, Desktops and Mobile applications on Day one gave presentation and demo of their ideas


In his final words, ‘Gbenga Sesan said to the students “Don’t let anyone deceive you, don’t let anyone turn you into a failure before you even try”.

Registration is now opened for the North-Central Edition of Internet Policy Training  on