Emmanuel Leslie Addae: the young man on mission to develop Africa’s youth
For many of those interested in youth development, there is one major trait: they are relatively old, tried and tested entrepreneurs who now want to pass the vast knowledge accumulated over decades of business to the young.
But one man stands out. Emmanuel Leslie Addae is one of Ghana's young promising entrepreneurs, widely known as the curator or founder of TEDxAccra and Africa Dialogues. Leslie is a go-getter, passionate about development schemes and ideas worth spreading as well as spearheading timeless and result driven projects.
In 2012, the young graduate started QualityRole Ghana, a consulting firm with focus on business restructuring, business financing and strategies. Later in that year, he partnered with a local company in Dubai called QualityRole Dubai to offer business strategies for Ghanaian professionals in Dubai.
He became popular in 2014, following his decision to curate TEDx event in his community, Labone, an event which instantly went viral. Leslie then received a scholarship for the 2014 TEDGlobal Conference.
This was followed by the establishment of his foundation, the People Initiatives Foundation, with the aim of helping African youth achieve their dreams. This led to the creation of a pan African business scheme dubbed as the “Africa Internship Academy” in April 2016 with the main focus of grooming Africa’s next generational of young change agents.
This week, I was invited to the Africa Internship Academy where I had a conversation with Leslie about his motivation to setup the academy, the vision for his organization, the People Initiatives Foundation, and his intended desire to reposition the foundation to accelerate the achievement of the organization’s objectives.
On 1st June 2016, Leslie together with Daniel Antwi, Mary Adamah and Bernice Foster legally registered the People Initiative Foundation and was supposed to be the umbrella under which all their existing events will be run with over 60 volunteers and 20 staff.
The goal of the organization is basically to promote and support young Africans to achieve their goals in life. “We believe in today’s young people. We believe in their power, vision and drive to make an impact. Why do we have this firm and strong believe in the youth? It is because time and time again, we have seen it with our own eyes and we have lived it. We have been part of it,” said Leslie.
According to Leslie, together with this team, they seek to position the foundation as an outfit that runs all their in-house events and also execute projects for their partners and donors as well as other external bodies.
“We have our events and projects we run and we have the capacity to run projects for other clients as well and that is what we want people to know. They can be rest assured to have great results when they give their events to us to manage for them,” he added.
As a result of the team’s quest to reposition their business, there has been a calculated attempt to place premium on the services of the foundation provides as well as their capacity which has helped in the successful execution of several events including TEDxAccra, TEDxAccraWomen, Africa Dialogues and Africa Initiative Summits.
All activities will be done under the People Initiative Foundation brand name and the foundation’s activities will be categorised into three programs:
Education and empowerment programs
The organization’s flagship program is the Africa Internship Academy, which is Ghana’s first youth employment accelerator program responsible for the training of students and graduates to gain entrepreneurial and employable skills for the job market.
The programme helps candidates launch their careers by giving them intensive employable skills and also partnering with businesses/institutions to develop or enhance their diversity, recruitment and inclusion strategies. The main mission is to reduce the rate of unemployment on the continent by grooming young talent to be change agents to transform their society.
African Internship Academy values a holistic program model that fosters students’ long-term learning and development. It emphasizes on a global understanding for all interns in order to further cross-cultural communication and professional development. By recruiting candidates across Africa, with the intent to cultivate a talent pool of people from diverse cultural backgrounds, the goal is to create a network of organizations and partners to enhance their diversity recruitment and inclusion strategies.
Africa Internship Academy contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals for Africa which was set on September 25th 2015, to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all, end poverty in all its forms everywhere, ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning, promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
Without a doubt, Africa’s youth is the future and the Africa Internship Academy believes it is essential to invest in them for the good of society and for the benefit of the continent in order to groom Africa’s next generational change agents to affect their society and the continent as a whole.
Out of the 13 million youth that enter the labour market each year, only 3million get jobs. About 33percent of the youth are in wage employment, while the rest are underemployed or in vulnerable employment.
In 12 months, over 400 young people have been trained by the Academy, assigned to mentors and connected to employers looking for entry-level talents. In addition, the Academy has also trained over 3000 National Service Persons in the ongoing nationwide 2017 NSS Capacity Building Workshops.
Social impact events and projects
Under this category, the flagship events are the TEDxLabone, TEDxAccra, Africa Initiatives Summit, African Job Summit, Design Lab, TEDxAccraWomen, Africa Dialogues and YouthConnektGhana. Between the TEDxLabone 2014 and TEDxAccra 2016 conference at the National Theatre in Accra, the discussions have been viewed over 100,000 times online following the conference.
Some of the hosts, speakers and performers are Hannah Tetteh, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Uche Ofodile, Lucy Quist and others with live streaming in over 150 countries. The last conference was the sixth top trending hashtag on twitter worldwide and the primary target group are the youth, from 18 to 45 years.
Through its unique approach to events and projects, the organization has started organizing social impacts events for the British Council, Netherlands Embassy in Ghana, Reach for Change, VSO Ghana, YALI West Africa Regional Centre, British High Commission and others with the focus on education, unemployment, technology, communication, design, arts, social enterprises and women in business.
The annual Social Thursday events in partnership with British Council Ghana and Social Enterprise Ghana is a star-studded evening of community engagement at the British Council in Accra to sample, buy, network and interact with creative, young and innovative social entrepreneurs. This event usually takes place during the Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Media and communication advocacy
One of the organizations aim is to inform, empower and inspire the public by developing integrated online media and communication strategies through our main media arm Ghana alerts.
The goal, according to Mr. Addae, is to spread and share vital information to all the deserves to know and the general public. Also, the organization offers a full-scale video, photography and social media service which is championed by volunteers with interest in integrated advertising, marketing and online video content. The organization is committed to helping its partner agencies reach their true potential.