Raising initial capital can be one of the most challenging parts of running a business, but in recent years, social networking has offered a new way for entrepreneurs to find financial backing for their endeavors. Using crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter, aspiring business leaders can raise capital while retaining a large amount of equity in their companies. Crowdfunding platforms represent an accessible alternative to more traditional sources of capital funding, and can also generate a fair amount of publicity for new companies due to their integration with social media.
In June 2015, the Huffington Post interviewed three African entrepreneurs who recently completed successful crowdfunding campaigns using Kickstarter. The business leaders, Mugo Muna of Borawear, Esosa Ighodaro of COSIGN, and comic book creator Roye Okupe, offered some key pieces of advice for fellow entrepreneurs hoping to raise capital using crowdfunding platforms.
After deciding which crowdfunding platform will best suit their needs, they advised, entrepreneurs should gather the support of their families and friends, recruiting their help in expanding the campaign throughout their social networks. The interviewees also noted that business leaders can garner support by connecting with audiences via an impactful story and effective visual media. They can also generate momentum from the outset by securing financial commitments prior to the first day of the campaign. In addition to using their full range of social media channels to promote their crowdfunding campaign, entrepreneurs should leverage contacts in the press, especially in online journalism, to increase their campaign’s exposure.
Through the development of innovative educational resources, Cambridge-Hitachi assists companies in developing and implementing corporate social responsibility initiatives in the academic sector. In addition to creating digital learning tools in areas such as personal finance; sustainability; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), Cambridge-Hitachi helps firms reach out to schools with its comprehensive marketing services.
With contacts at every school in the United Kingdom, Cambridge-Hitachi is able to leverage its data on school locations and demographics to develop targeted mailing campaigns. The organization also has online access to the approximately 1,100 schools that have subscribed to the Cambridge University Press. Cambridge-Hitachi, which helps companies to secure spots in top education publications, also features client firms on its website and in its annual education catalogue. Furthermore, Cambridge-Hitachi works to connect organizations with popular exhibitions, such as the industry-leading BETT show, allowing companies to connect with a large portion of the educational technology sector.
The Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) supports Nigeria’s research and academic institutions through the provision of a modern, efficient, and affordable network infrastructure. In this way, NgREN aims to encourage innovation, communication, and collaboration among these institutions, thus encouraging national development. Led by a board of directors and executive management team, NgREN comprises four Technical Working Groups dedicated to distinct aspects of network development. In January 2015, the organization held the inaugural meetings of its Technical Working Groups at the Peter Okebukola Building in Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria.
With a membership comprised of network engineers, the Network Operations Technical Working Group combines areas such as infrastructure design, maintenance, and policy, working toward the deployment of an IPv4/IPv6 infrastructure. The Network Services Working Group focuses on building the support structure for this research and education network and will build a framework of policies and guidelines for technical support services. The Network Security Technical Working Group also works to ensure the overall stability of the network, including sustainability, safety, and appropriate use, as well as developing protocols for defending the network infrastructure from threats and service disruptions.
Additionally, NgREN includes the Communities of Practice Working Group, which fosters collaboration among individuals and institutions with shared interests and goals related to network infrastructure development.
The Michael and Cecilia Foundation pursues a wide variety of diverse educational initiatives for people of all abilities and ages. Of the many services on offer, one of the more specialized is the organization’s youth music program, the Cecilia Ibru Classical Concert. Inspired by Cecilia Ibru’s passion for the art, the program introduces young people to the world of classical music through training in voice and instruments.
Exposure to music has long been known to have positive effects. In fact, research suggests that classical music in particular has benefits that go far beyond mere enjoyment. Studies in the past have indicated that musicians have a quick ability to correct mistakes and may suffer less serious mental declines over time than other people.
In a report published last year by the Institute of Education at University College London, researchers discovered a number of skills improvements among children taking part in a classical music appreciation program. Students heard a variety of composers and live performances and engaged with musicians, who taught the learners sophisticated musical concepts. By the end of the program, many of the students were reported to have improved their language, listening, and social skills, in addition to their appreciation of music in general.
The Cecilia Ibru Classical Concert certainly improves participants’ musical ability. Given the extraordinary advantages of listening to classical music, the program could boost students’ mental acuity, as well.
Since 2006, the Michael and Cecilia Foundation has undertaken a variety of initiatives aimed at improving quality of life for citizens throughout Nigeria. Established and overseen by lifelong philanthropists and education proponents Michael and Cecilia Ibru, the organization focuses on education, elder care, public health, food security, and vocational training. The foundation’s academic and job readiness initiatives include the Train A Child program, which provides scholarships for impoverished Nigerian children.
Aiming to ensure a quality education and bright future for children from underserved communities, the initiative seeks to help children who are academically inclined but limited by their financial situations. The foundation maintains a database of all qualified scholarship recipients and seeks the support of nongovernmental organizations and philanthropists to connect each child with an individual or institutional benefactor.
Additionally, the Train A Child program provides remedial courses for secondary school graduates. Offered free of cost, these classes assist students in preparing for postsecondary education and required entrance exams.