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Blessing Abeng on Building One of the Biggest edtech Non Profit in Africa: Ingressive for Good

Blessing Abeng

Blessing Abeng is a leading woman in the sector of branding and communications in Africa helping brands discover their unique identity so they can tell better stories. As the Co-founder and Director of Communications at Ingressive for Good, she drives the mission of the ed-tech nonprofit to create and increase the earning power of African youth through tech training and resources for the growth of the African startup ecosystems. She led the growth of Ingressive For Good from 0 to over 250,000 community members, training over 150,000, placing thousands in jobs, and exclusively leading multiple cohorts of women-focused tech training, attracting partners and supporters like Coursera, DataCamp, Facebook, Figma, Alphabet, and a host of others. She has worked with brands across industries in unique capacities, nationally and globally, including Seedstars, Heritage Bank, African Alliance, Dark and Lovely (Nigeria and Africa), Bolt, GSK, QuickCheck, and many others. She was also the CMO & co-founder of Disha, a digital technology company acquired by an African Unicorn (Flutterwave) in 2021. She has won several awards including recognition by YNaija as one of the 100 most powerful youths in Nigeria, and the United Nations’s 100 Most Influential People of African Descent Under 40.

Tell us about who you are and what you do.

My name is Blessing Abeng. I am a Branding and Communications Professional and I have done this in many forms – as the CMO of a tech company that eventually got acquired by a unicorn, and currently as the Director of Communications, and Cofounder of Ingressive for Good, an ed-tech nonprofit committed to increasing the earning power of African youths by empowering them with tech skills. 

 Tell us how you created this brand and what was the sole idea behind it.

Building Ingressive for Good started with a couple of realizations. The first thing was that founders often think funding/money is the biggest problem until they get the money and realize finding the right tech talents here in Africa is really difficult. The best ones have either been taken by big or foreign companies. The second thing was that there were people who wanted to be tech talents, and who wanted to increase their earning capacity but did not have access to the right tools, resources, or opportunities to make this happen. Then the final thing was that someone who gets an entry-level job in tech could earn 2x-10x more than someone who gets an entry-level position in a more generic field like banking, according to Payscale. These three things helped us decide to build Ingressive for Good as a bridge to arm African youth with the skills they need to become tech talents and connect founders to talents, and talents to founders. We understood that most of the people who needed it couldn’t afford paid training due to their financial situation. It was unfair to expect an unemployed youth to pay for premium training. Our goal was to democratize access toward economic empowerment. And so far, it’s working. We have successfully gone from 0 to training over 150,000 African youth and placing thousands of them in jobs.

Go in detail and tell us about how your brand works. You may keep this from the audience’s perspective.

The nonprofit has three pillars – Microscholarship, Technical Training, and Talent Placement. These pillars inadvertently cumulate to form a Community. We provide access to training in five core areas: software development, data, design, product management, and marketing. We also place exceptional beneficiaries who complete the training and join the alums. In addition, we consistently provide access to tools (laptop, internet) and resources people need to empower them. 

What is your giveaway idea through this interview? Highlight something that may interest the readers on a one-to-one basis.

It is important to start where you are with what you have. Sometimes, we limit ourselves by focusing on what we do not have, leveraging those gaps as excuses, and leveraging those excuses as fuel for procrastination. Look around you; what do you have? Ask yourself – what do I have? Do I have relationships with people? Do I have knowledge? Do I have money? Do I have the internet? How can I use what I have to create what I want? Once you start using what you have, you will notice that suddenly resources to get you to the next point will start coming, and people will be more eager to support you because they can see the effort you have put in. So start! It’s the most important step. 

 Explain the challenges you went through while you were working on brand creation. What are the challenges you go through on an everyday basis?

We started in July 2020 amidst the pandemic. There was so much uncertainty, and people barely gave donations, except to healthcare or relief-related projects. The economy was in disarray, and people were afraid to donate or invest. People were barely investing in profitable causes, not to talk of a nonprofit. So we had a hard time getting funding for our operations. So we distilled our five-year plan into a pilot program (a minimum viable program) to show that this was a need and highlight the potential transforming impact this could have at scale. We also decided to launch a pilot program as proof that there was a need for our existence. We explained the plan for the program — training a maximum of 5,000 people — and how much we needed to execute it. One man took a chance on us and funded our operations throughout the pilot phase. We partnered with Coursera, and we hit high milestones. Our selling point was the engagement level of our community and the completion rates. They showed how badly they wanted it and how far they were willing to go to improve their lives. Other brands saw the success of our partnership with Coursera and supported us with more access to training programs. We eventually ended the pilot phase, training almost 10,000 people and building a community of about 20,000 people. Our growth since then has been exponential. One of the beneficiaries of the Coursera program is currently a Product Manager at Kuda (one of the top tech firms in Africa). Many of our beneficiaries are earning 5x -10x more than they were before encountering us. We have grown significantly since 2020 and have been funded by several HNIs, and organizations, including Google’s Alphabet.

How do you manage your finances through the services you offer? Any funding etc received?

We have a COO and financial organizations responsible for helping us manage our finances. We receive donations from individuals and organizations who see value in our mission and vision. One of the most emotional things for me happened last year, when one of our beneficiaries who had founded a successful tech company, came back to hire from the talent pool and donate back to the organization. 

Tell us your future vision for the brand. How far do you want to take it? What is your dream about taking it to the next level?

Our goal is to train 1 million people and we won’t stop until we get there. We recognize the ripple effects of our impact and hope that our beneficiaries will play a key role in the economic empowerment of the continent, and we see it happening already.

What message would you like to give to anybody who plans to create something of their own and make a living through it? Feel free to add any extra information you want.

All throughout my career, my greatest discovery is the power of one. It’s overwhelming to think of building a solution and getting millions of people to adopt it. But if you focus on the ‘one’ person that has the problem you’re solving, you’d soon find out that one can become one million.

Company name: Ingressive for Good

Company Website URL: www.ingressive.org

Company Instagram URL : https://www.instagram.com/ingressive4good/

Blessing’s Instagram URL: www.instagram.com/blessingabeng_


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