Founder and Managing Director, New Horizons Nigeria

Tim Akano is the founder and managing director of New Horizons Nigeria, a franchise holder of the US-based New Horizons International – the world’s number one ICT training institution. New Horizons International is reputed for its global impact, with offices in 85 countries, a daily students’ attendance of over four million and the first choice of the top Fortune 500 companies for most of their training needs.

Akano had worked for 17 years in three multinationals as at 2005 when he decided to set up an IT training firm.The driving force for resigning from a comfortable job in a multinational company to venture into IT was his burning desire to take Nigeria to the level of the rest of the world in the use of ICT infrastructures.

That desire was spurred by his discovery when the Nigerian Bottling Company where he was then working sent him on a training programme at IMD, the business school in Geneva. Akano was there for about one year and the training programmes were ICT-driven. He discovered that other participants from Europe and America were quite conversant with the systems and were therefore quite ahead of him in the training exercises.

That experience provided a food for thought for Akano and then spurred his desire for what could be done to change the backward state of Nigeria on ICT. That was the point where the company where he was working lost a valuable staff – a loss that became Nigeria’s gain. He was convinced in himself that if Nigeria must get to the level of the rest of the world on ICT, then something had to be done. It was clear to him as well that he is the man who is to take the step to get something done.

He stepped out to seek the franchise of New Horizons International, the world’s leading ICT training institution. Availability of good money is the basis for granting a franchise that must match the set international practice standard. In the case of Akano, the granting of the franchise was the key factor in finding investors that brought in the funds.

In America, New Horizons International does business with money and not faith. Its officials changed the rule for Nigeria after they met Akano. They granted him the franchise on the basis of their faith upon his own faith that he would find the money to built capacity to run the business to international standard.

The wisdom of life holds true that when a man who has a great vision of what he wants to accomplish sets out on a mission, doors of opportunity often lend themselves for his use. That is the story of Akano’s New Horizons Nigeria.

The company opened its first office in Nigeria on 2ndApril, 2005 in Lagos with a staff strength of five and less than ten students. In a period of eleven years,the company has 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.

This is a fulfillment of a great desire for Akano, who considered other businesses people go into to make money and choose ICT development where he could add value. His company pioneered the integration of ICT-certification based training into both the high school and university educational curricula in Nigeria. It goes to schools and 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 professional 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 companieswere facing in securinggood quality ICT professionals and stemming high turnout of ICT workers in the financial sector and elsewhere.

New Horizons Nigeria has also pioneered an annualnational 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 placementsat 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.

Furthermore, in partnership with the Nigeria Defence Headquarters and the Presidency, New Horizons Nigeria pioneered the largest annual cyber security conference in Africa tagged: The World Cyber Security Conference.The conference has become the single largest platform for all the professionals in government, themilitary,paramilitary and corporate Nigeriato gather to formulate cyber security policies for Nigeria. The conference has attracted personalities like the former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak as resource persons.

Akano has built a massive ICT training capacity in Nigeria, having expanded rapidly from a two-classroom training company with 10 students  to over 600 classrooms of 50,000 students across Nigeria with branches in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Ogun State, Delta state, Kogi state and Benue State among others. His great accomplishments in ICT development in Nigeria are evidenced by a long list of local and international awards.