Olaseni Cole is an entrepreneur with a goal of exposing children and teenagers to information technology. He studied Computer Engineering and is the founder of the YEP! initiative. Olaseni tells us here about YEP! The initiative, his motivation, success, challenges, and ideas.
Tell us about YEP!
Young Empowered Programmers (YEP!) is a tech start-up which equips kids and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 16 with the tools for innovation and problem-solving through programming. Through the foundational programming languages we teach, students learn analytical thinking, effective problem solving, enhance their mathematics skills, innovation, etc. Over 1000 students are currently benefiting from this initiative.
What motivated you?
I have always been interested in ICT and this influenced my choice of Computer Engineering as a course. My journey to start this venture began in 2014 when I was engaged in the NYSC scheme. I was teaching computer science in a public secondary school in Ibadan, Oyo state and not being satisfied with the fact that the children did not have practical sessions to master what they had been taught, I decided to do something about it. I began taking my laptop to the classes I taught to enable the students to familiarize themselves with the computer and to apply what they learn.
On returning to Lagos after the NYSC scheme, I tried to organize a class to teach the less privileged how to use the computer. Due to financial constraints, this was not successful. After speaking with parents I discovered most of their children were performing poorly in mathematics. It dawned on me then that exposing children to coding at a tender age could solve this problem. This led to the birth of YEP! Coding Made Easy for Primary and Secondary School Students and YEP! Mathematics Enhancement Program.
How successful has YEP! been?
YEP! has been very successful. Kids in the schools we are in have been exposed to innovation and have come up with ideas utilizing their creative abilities. Currently, over 1000 students from various schools in Lagos, and Ogun states benefit from this initiative.
Your Educational background?
I studied Computer Engineering and have worked in the ICT department of various companies. This equipped me with the skills I needed to start YEP! This is my first entrepreneurial venture.
Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice is simply: Be passionate about what you want to venture into, solving problems and adding value to your environment should be your motivation. Also, make research, study and learn from others who have succeeded in what you are set out to do.
Do you have any other ideas you are working on asides YEP!?
Yes, I do, though not fully developed. It involves helping schools acquire educational resources needed to function effectively. However, I am currently focused on YEP!
What do you see as the future for YEP!?
I see YEP! at the forefront of ICT training in Africa.
You can contact YEP! at:
Website: yep.com.ng | Phone: 08029568267 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org