Nigeria’s Top 10 Champions of Youth Empowerment – Nnamdi Ezeigbo

Engr. Nnamdi Ezeigbo, founder and chief executive officer, Slot Systems Limited, a telecommunications, information and technology company with over 70 retail stores nationwide plus an online store. The company sells affordable and durable mobile phones, computer accessories and various types of electronics.

The highly motivated and goal-oriented entrepreneur is the brain behind Tecno and Infinix – some of the fast-selling mobile phone brands in Nigeria. He saw ahead of time the market for dual sim in Nigeria and acted on it by partnering with a Chinese phone company to create dual sim phones for the Nigerian market. The partnership soon gave birth to Tecno brand of phones in the Nigerian market in 2006.

The Infinix brand followed to cater for all segments of the market in Nigeria. The brands met a large and waiting consumer market in the country and have since become the fastest selling brand of handsets in Nigeria. 

Ezeigbo has established the Slot Foundation, which is a vocational skills acquisition centre that enables young people become entrepreneurs or skilled enough to work in other companies. As at the last count, the foundation has created jobs for over 300 people.

The foundation, which runs with a slogan “touching lives, raising people”, is primarily positioned to help budding entrepreneurs and promote locally made Nigeria products that would create jobs and enhance local content.

It places vocational training at the centre of its operations with the objective of fostering creativity and employment for the Nigerian youth. Its training activities are carried out through Slot Academy, which provides technical skills that open up job opportunities for students trained. The academy has been rolling out technically qualified graduates since 2016.

The academy is Ezeigbo’s intervention to stem the drift of the youth into entertainment and politics and redirect them into entrepreneurship. “I believe in knowledge-based economy and the only time we can achieve this is when entrepreneurs become socially responsible”, he said.

It became for him a burning desire as an entrepreneur to take steps to impact society and inspire children in the area of acquisition of knowledge and technical skills. He realized that there was need to situate entrepreneurs as models in the minds of growing children for them to see the need to follow after them. 

He wondered that “if the youth of today are looking up to musicians, politicians, movie actors and footballers, who is going to create products and services? Who is going to create the next generation of entrepreneurs?” This is why the Slot Academy was launched, according to Ezeigbo.

“We need to reduce the social cost to produce the technicians, engineers and creators of tomorrow’s products and services. The aim is to arrest young Nigerians that will grow and sustain the entrepreneurial environment”, he stated.

For him, the idea of setting up a proper technical school became compelling after assessing the outgrowing need for skills and empowerment in Nigeria. It is therefore quite fulfilling for him to have founded an institution where Nigerians are provided with quality technical skills that enrich their lives.

His aim is to produce skilled professionals who can compete globally and become tomorrow’s employers of labour in Nigeria and across the globe. He has built local and international partnerships to drive the mission of strong human capital development.

These include partnerships with Deutsche Gesellschaft fur International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Lagos State Technical Vocational and Education Board for free training of the youth in computer and mobile phone repairs.

The training programme includes employment opportunities for outstanding candidates on completion by the original equipment manufacturers in the computer and mobile phone industry.  Slot Foundation also partners state governments and other developmental organisations to run entrepreneurship training programmes for the youth on phone and laptop repairs and maintenance. This has provided a valuable channel for various governments’ initiatives in youth empowerment in Nigeria to find a practical expression in Nigeria’s burgeoning technology space.

Ezeigbo holds a Higher National Diploma in electrical electronics engineering from Yaba College of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in computer and electronics engineering from Lagos State University. He also holds a master’s degree in information technology from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology.

He further obtained a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University. He ventured into entrepreneurship that began with repair and sales of computers and printers.

His computer sales and service centre soon blossomed into mobile phones market with commanding brands sold across a chain of retail shops nationwide.

He has written a book entitled ‘Entrepreneurship: The Slot Way’, to teach business sustainability to the aspiring youth.