Misan Rewane is the CEO and co-founder of West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE). WAVE is a vocational training platform that seeks to empower millions of West African youth with industry-relevant employability skills that transform their mindsets, and provides access to employment opportunities to enhance their social mobility. WAVE provides self-motivated youths with the skill-sets employers look for, and teaches them how to stand out professionally by reinforcing a mindset of continuous improvement.
Born and raised in Nigeria, Misan is no stranger to the difficulties of education and social mobility in West Africa. When her parents, unable to ignore the education system’s breakdown, were compelled to send her to the US for college, Misan resolved to play a role in transforming the region’s education and skills development systems. After earning her Economics degree from Stanford University, she worked in management consulting with The Monitor Group on a wide spectrum of projects in both the private and public sector. Post-Monitor, she supported aspiring Ivoirian entrepreneurs through TechnoServe’s Business Plan Competition, and developed a scholarship administration model as a consultant with the Center for Public Policy Alternatives in Nigeria. While enrolled at the Harvard Business School in 2012, she sought out and connected with fellow socially-minded Africans to discuss ways to tackle youth unemployment in the region. Those initial discussions were the seeds that eventually grew to become West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE). The Company was launched in 2013 to focus on training and placing unemployed youth in the hospitality and retail industry.
What you will learn
- The Big Idea
- How she was inspired to start West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE)
- The steps used to launch this venture in Nigeria
- Why the program focuses on the hospitality and retail sector
- WAVE and the educational system – the social mission
- How WAVE uses facilitators to present a case based and student driven learning
- Achievements of the WAVE program
- The pricing structure of the WAVE program
- The future aspirations of WAVE
- A significant personal failure she faced and how she recovered from it
- The logistical challenges she faced in setting up WAVE in Nigeria
- How she manages a work- life balance
- The government should invest more in the educational system and focus on the outcome
- One piece of advice she would give herself if she could go back in the past:
- Focus on galvanizing a good team around you
- Advice to recent grads thinking of launching a venture in Africa:
- Go in for it straight out of school, if possible. Or work for a few more years and build a stronger network before starting a venture.
- Passion eats talent for breakfast
Words of Wisdom
- Don’t short change yourself by not taking the time to think about what you are genuinely passionate about and what makes you tick. If it’s not passion then it should be purpose.
- Don’t underestimate the role of passion and purpose in what you do.
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a business when there are no easy answers (Ben Horowitz)
- The Alliance: Managing talent in the networked age (Reid Hoffman)