Chris Kwekowe, The 26-Year-Old Nigerian Who Turned Down a Job Offer From Bill Gates to Start Slatecube

Chris Kwekowe, The 26-Year-Old Nigerian Who Turned Down a Job Offer From Bill Gates to Start Slatecube

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Kwekowe wrote in a Facebook post: “Oh yeah, I did meet with Bill Gates in Durban, South Africa, where we had some candid discussion about everything, from his involvement with charitable causes in the continent to how he makes time to be a great father for his kids. My favourite moments were watching his reaction after I told him I turned down job offers from Microsoft and the likes to pursue something more defining for me, and how Africa’s development depends more on sustainable investments in innovative social startups like Slatecube that solve some of the continent’s biggest problems, rather than donating entirely to charity organizations who end up requiring more financial injection to deal with the minutest of issues."

The average young Nigerian would give their best to get a well-paid job offer after obtaining a degree. As a matter of fact, it is a dream come true for most. But 26-year-old, Chris Kwekowe, didn't believe in that dream, his vision was set on something bigger.

Chris Kwekoke attended school in Nigeria and studied Computer Science at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, after turning down an offer to study Bio-Chem. At the age of 19, he won an award for the most innovative teenager in 2012 and went on to win the Anzisha Prize in 2015 that came with a $25,000 check, a Pan-African award given to the continent’s best young entrepreneur.

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Since becoming an Anzisha fellow, the young entrepreneur attracted a lot of media attention for Slatecube. He was 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 describes Slatecube:

“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.

“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.

Chris Kwekoke founded Slatecube in October 2014 with his younger brother, Emerald but his vision is to expand the reach of Slatecube beyond Nigeria. With the prospect of training about 1.2 million Africans, he hopes to influence the entire continent. Kwekoke has also succeeded in organizing a Lagos conference called, Upskill, and plans to establish it in other African countries as well.

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Chris Kwekoke was just 23 years old at an African business forum when he told the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, he turned down an offer to be a software engineer at Bill Gates' company, Microsoft.

“[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, Chris Kwekoke’s Slatecube could be one of the best things to happen to Nigeria. Slatecube has recorded over 80% employment rate for its users and reportedly, corporations that have used the platform, have saved over $100,000 by hiring skillful and ready to work employees.

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“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 computer science student who recently completed a virtual internship program on the platform.

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.”

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. All rights to this post remain with the author. Please do not replicate this material without permission.
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