Meet Chris Kwekowe, The 26-Year-Old Nigerian Who Turned Down Bill Gate’s Microsoft Offer To Start Slatecube

Meet Chris Kwekowe, The 26-Year-Old Nigerian Who Turned Down Bill Gate’s Microsoft Offer To Start Slatecube

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Chris Kwekowe is a 26-year-old Nigerian Entrepreneur and technology consultant who is well-regarded among his peers. He is the founder and CEO of Slatecube.

The average Nigerian youth would give his very best to get a well-paid job after obtaining a degree. As a matter of fact, it is a dream come true to be employed in a country where unemployment seems to be the only thing that works. But 26-year-old, Chris Kwekowe, doesn’t believe in that dream, his vision is set on something bigger.

Born on 12th January 1993, Chris Kwekoke from Abia State, Nigeria went to high school education in the ancient city of Benin and studied Computer science at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, after turning down an offer to study Bio-Chem in Ogun state. At the age of 19, he won an award for the innovative teenager in 2012 and went on to win the Anzisha Prize that comes with a $25,000 check, a Pan-African award given to the continent’s best young entrepreneur in 2015.

However, the young entrepreneur has attracted enough media presence to his Slatecube since becoming an Anzisha fellow in 2015. He has been hosted on CNN, BBC, ITNews, MIT’s Website, and CNBC Africa. His Slatecube was recently awarded the most innovative enterprise by Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and has also been acknowledged by the renowned Tony Elumelu Foundation.

In an interview with IT News Africa, Chris Kwekoke reveals what Slatecube is all about:

“Basically, Slatecube leverages knowledge with skill acquisition to promote employment and social development by enabling users to learn, collaborate with world-class professionals and develop industry-relevant skills that make it possible to work anywhere.

“Essentially, what we do at Slatecube is really simple but very important. We help individuals develop new knowledge or build on already existing knowledge and then expose them to industry-relevant skills with hands-on training from real organizations in order to make them more employable and improve their social and economic relevance.

“Slatecube also provides aesthetically designed e-Learning environment for High Schools (Secondary schools) and Colleges (Tertiary institutions), and offers Virtual Training Modules for organizations to train their staff on professional training programs offered by leading institutes from around the world, without these staff members having to leave their current location, therefore cutting down on costs.”

As of 2015, Slatecube recorded online traffic of over 2500 visitors per month. Nevertheless, Chris Kwekoke’s vision is to expand the reach of Slatecube beyond Nigeria. And with the prospect of training about 1.2 million Africans, he hopes to influence the entire continent. Moreover, the 26-year-old Nigerian has succeeded in organizing a conference, Upskill, in Lagos, and plans to do the same in other African countries.

Chris Kwekoke was 23-year-old when he told the world’s richest man, Bill Gate that he turned down an offer to be a software engineer from his company, Microsoft, at a forum for Africa’s brightest young entrepreneurs.

“[Gates] was intrigued, and he smiled,” says Kwekowe “And at the end of the program, the organizing directors came to me and were like, “Dude, you mean you turned down a job at Microsoft and had the guts to tell Bill Gates?”

Incidentally, with an increase in unemployment rate, reaching an all-time high of 23.10 percent in the third quarter of 2018 from 22.70 percent in the second quarter of 2018, and the worrisome situation of it reaching 33.5 percent by 2020 as projected, Chris Kwekoke’s Slatecube could be one of the best things to happen to Nigeria.

“There are a million and one jobs in Nigeria, but employers are looking for people with experience. We don’t have the chance to get experience. So I think the idea behind Slatecube is great.” Said, Uchechi Udemgba, a 22-year-old final-year computer science student who recently completed a virtual internship program on the platform.

And speaking about Slatecube, the company has recorded over 80% employment rate for its users. In fact, reports have it that corporations that have used the platform have saved over $100,000 by hiring skillful and ready to work employees.

When asked in the same interview, where he sees his startup in 10 years, Chris Kekowe has this to say:

“We are poised to achieve some very significant milestones in the next decade. This would include expanding our courses and skills development program’s by investing heavily into the quality of all our course offerings.”

He also cited one of the major challenges that must be tackled to achieve this feat:

“To achieve a feat as important as this, within 10 years, there are some very peculiar challenges we would need to tackle – a significant one being access to good Internet facilities. A major challenge with eLearning in Africa, and many rural communities across the globe is poor internet facilities or none at all.”

Chris Kwekoke founded Slatecube in October 2014 with his younger brother, Emerald.

About the Author

Duke Oreva

Location: Lagos, Nigeria
Duke lives in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a poet who believes everyone should have the freedom to live the life he/she dreams of. He writes because he finds fulfillment in the power of words.
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