Mr. Tim Akano, an investor, entrepreneur, writer, author, mentor and life coach, is the founder and managing director of New Horizons Nigeria Limited. He is the man who saw the need to bridge the IT knowledge divide between Nigeria and developed nations by forming a strategic alliance with the US-based New Horizons International – the world’s number one ICT training organisation in the world in order to provide world class IT training to the people of Nigeria.
Akano trained in international relations at the University of Ile-Ife and proceeded to WITS University Johannesburg, South Africa for advanced management programme. He also attended Institute of Management (IMD) Laussane, Switzerland – Senior Management Programme and Lagos Business School – Senior Management Programme.
After working for 17 years in three multinationals by 2005, he discovered Nigeria’s backwardness on ICT while on a training programme at IMD, the business school in Geneva. He decided to venture into IT with a burning desire to take Nigeria to the level of the rest of the world in the use of ICT infrastructures.
He understood the role of IT as the greatest creator and driver of the wealth of nations and took the steps to ensure that Nigeria connects to develop skills in this area. He therefore set out with a vision to create the foremost IT training platform in Nigeria.
Bridging the digital gap requires first building internal capacity for trainers and Akano realised this from the start. “We realised at our start that for us to truly bridge this gap, we must prioritise empowering the next generation of solution providers”, he said.
In May 2004, New Horizons Nigeria was granted the licence as a franchisee of New Horizons world-wide to operate in Nigeria. Since then, Akano has covered great milestones in IT training of Nigerian youth and is reputed to have built the largest IT training institution in the country. His purpose is to contribute immensely to the socio-economic development of the nation.
In pursuit of his mandate, the CEO of New Horizons Nigeria has dedicated his life, resources and energy to youth development and empowerment in Nigeria and Africa. The company opened its first office in Nigeria in April, 2005 in Lagos with a staff strength of five and less than ten students.
In a space of eleven years, the company emerged as the largest ICT training institution in Nigeria with over 300 ICT professionals on its payroll and rolling out over 50,000 candidates yearly in 15 partnering universities and 100 high schools.
Akano is fulfilled in seeing a great desire in ICT development come through where he adds value in the critical area of youth empowerment. His company pioneered the integration of ICT-certification based training into both the high school and university educational curricula in Nigeria. It sets up IT laboratories, making IT as a part of the academic programme as the science laboratories.
This was a singular action that has bridged the gap between the high demand for good quality ICT professionals in the business world and the non-ICT literate school leavers being rolled out. With the New Horizons Nigeria’s ICT-certification based training, universities began to produce graduates who combine their academic qualifications with at least four international ICT certifications before graduation.
This initiative has gone a long way to deal with the challenges most companies were facing in securing good quality ICT professionals and stemming high turnout of ICT workers in the financial sector and elsewhere.
Akano founded FABAAW, a mentoring platform for young people from over 50 African countries and around the world. The platform offers career coaching, investment guide, leadership training, governance and policy making, skills acquisition programmes and more.
Other youth empowerment initiatives of his organisation include an annual national job fair – which is designed as a veritable avenue for employers of labour and qualified job seekers to get to a meeting point. The fair is also an empowerment forum for job seeks in capacity building to usher the young intellectuals into the realm of creativity and innovation in ICT.
Another of Akano’s major feat in the ICT development is the New Horizons/NYSC Job Fair, where finishing NYSC members are availed the opportunity of having job interviews by potential employers and to secure job placements at the end of the national service.
Also, New Horizons Nigeria pioneered the Under 17 ICT Competition with a view to bringing out the very best of Nigerian teenagers and putting them through quality training early enough to help them become wealth creators in future using the instrumentality of ICT.
New Horizons Nigeria boasts over 22 years of cognitive experience in ICT training and examination testing in Nigeria. It is on a mission to provide high quality, cost-effective training designed to increase individual and organisational productivity and enrichment.
According to Akano, “the organisation is dedicated to youth transformation through IT since our doors first opened. I am beyond honoured that these groups have bestowed on New Horizons, the title of Icons and enablers of National Youth Empowerment. We remain undeterred in our goal to transform Nigeria and solidify our place as global tech giants.”
The company undertakes individual training and development that impart new IT and business skills or improve an individual’s skills set. It also runs corporate training programmes that meet organisations’ training needs from a single source. This provides guidance to career path and helps employees improve their job related expertise.
The company’s innovative ‘customized enterprise solutions’ equips corporate training managers to easily administer their learning programmes and track the progress of all participating employees.
The company also offers online training services with flexible training schedule that accommodates self-paced and virtual live trainings. This is available for individuals, corporate organisations and groups.
It has added dynamic features to ICT training with its retail online services that equip trainees with international ICT and e-Business certification skills. This is designed to fast-track trending opportunities, which makes the programme highly effective in combating the rising global joblessness. The service also includes partnering educational institutions in order to support/upgrade their existing IT levels through recommending, designing and implementing/deploying applicable IT Solutions in form of Tech-Projects.