Meet Lawrence Okon Founder of Read Empire with the aim of alleviating poverty among young graduatesIdes Ofune 15th September 2020 0 COMMENTS
Our Desert Bloomer for this week is Lawrence Okon. He is an entrepreneur living in Nigeria who loves sharing his knowledge on growing businesses online. He is a web developer, a blogger and a writer. Due to his drive for mental and emotional well-being of young people, he is currently enrolled in a mental psychology programme at the University of Toronto. Lawrence has worked with Step to the Top Leadership Centre (STLC) a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that trains youth on leadership skills and peaceful coexistence. He has featured in many live webinars and where he talks to young people about relationship, finance, lifestyle and making the right choices in life.
Tell us what Read Empire is all about
Read empire is an educative classroom and an online platform where young Nigerians can be trained to acquire skills not necessarily taught in schools that will make their life better. They can do this without leaving the comfort of their homes. It also has a blog that regularly features inspiring contents written and curated by young Africans to educate the public on financial intelligence and other related issues. In addition, Read Empire has an online store where we reach out to young entrepreneurs and SMEs in the e-commerce industry to advertise their services and market their commodity to a wider audience.
What motivated you to set it up?
Given that there are currently no readily available jobs in the country and seeing many graduates roaming around the street submitting curriculum vitae for a white collar job that ends up paying peanuts, it got me thinking that if these set of youth were trained to become self-independent, they would have been employers of labour rather than looking for who to employ them. Fast forward to where we are today, many young people have created employment for themselves such as shoe making, trading, creative and fashion design etc. However, after all the stress of their creativity, there aren’t many platforms available to market or sell their products. I decided to set up an ecommerce store that could address this issue. To sum it up, the main aim of Read Empire is to help alleviate poverty among Nigerian youth. We have being able to help numerous people out there seeing that the government can’t do it all.
How have you dealt with the challenges?
From the feedback on social media about our past webinars, it’s obvious that we are making progress despite the challenges we face. Our biggest challenge is getting the required equipment such as projectors, digital cameras and other materials for our webinars and seminars. There is also the lack of finances to follow up with those we have opened their minds to numerous possibilities. However, we have learnt to improvise given the nature of the kind of business we operate.
How best can the society support you?
We wish to train thousands of Africans as long as we have the facilities and equipment. Our hands are always open to receive more voluntary facilitators to help us reach out to many youths and impact them with the skills they can acquire. We also look forward to our projects being fund by graceful individuals, organizations and other NGOs that are capable of doing that.
Thanks Lawrence for talking to us.
To know more about Read Empire, kindly visit their online platform https://readempire.com/
Ides Ofune is currently a PhD Student at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on civil society and accountability in improving the quality of education. She is the founder of Desert Bloom Initiative and editor of Desert Bloom Advisory. Ides is very passionate about education and creating an inclusive society. She speaks French and English fluently. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org