The Top10 Magazine Excellence Awards 2022:Tim Akano: Founder/CEO, New Horizons Nigeria (Champion of Youth Empowerment of the Year)

Mr. Tim Akano, an investor, entrepreneur, writer, author, mentor and life coach, is the founder and Managing Director of New Horizons Nigeria Limited. He saw the need to bridge the IT knowledge divide between Nigeria and developed nations and formed 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 infrastructure.

He realized, however, that bridging the digital gap requires first building internal capacity for trainers. “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. 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.

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.

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.

 It also runs corporate training programmes that meet organisations’ training needs from a single source.

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 training to individuals, corporate organisations and groups.

The outstanding role which Akano has played in youth empowerment through ICT skills acquisition within the larger goal of bridging the ICT gap between Nigeria and the developed countries is what has earned him recognition as the Top10 Magazine’s Champion of Youth Empowerment of the Year award.