Meet GES Delegate: Henry-Jackson Tebo

Name: Henry-Jackson Tebo Acha

Country of Origin: Cameroon

Organization Name: ICT Global Link

Web: www.ictglobal-link.org

Brief Description of Organization: ICT Global Link is a Japan-registered nonprofit organization working on creating sustainable educational environments for underprivileged learners in Africa and ASEAN countries. Given the increasing importance of information and communication technology (ICT) in the era of globalization, ICT Global Link focuses on promoting digital inclusion in education. We aim at introducing and implementing ICT Global Link education activities to the underprivileged learners and to facilitate communication with partners overseas. ICT Global Link has created alliances and partnerships with local school districts and community centers to provide ICT solutions of high quality through an online learning platform that engages students in learning and supports teachers in classroom management at elementary, junior high, and high schools.

What inspired you to start this organization?

After my return in 2011 from Niigata, Japan where I finished graduate school, I had an opportunity to visit some primary and high schools in Cameroon and Ghana, where I with with students and learned that schools provide no access to computer education, and lacked counselors to prepare young learners for a productive career after high school. Only two of the seventeen learners knew how to use a computer. The other fifteen were still struggling to understand what a computer is and how it works.

This realization triggered my heart, causing me to investigate the problem. After talking to some of their parents and educators, I was shocked to learned that these learners had not even been told what a computer is and the important role it plays in daily lives. Not only this, there is a huge mismatch between the information provided to the learners by teachers - many of who did not even seem to have the necessary knowledge about computing.

As a social entrepreneur and business consultant, I founded ICT Global Link, based in Nagoya, Tokyo, and Osaka, to secure resources with which to address these educational challenges facing learners in Africa and ASEAN countries.

What is the next big step you hope to help your organization reach? Improve ICT assistance to educational needs in developing Africa and ASEAN-nation schools and community centers. I continue to be passionate about inclusive Youth transformation of Africa.

At the moment, I’m putting all possible effort to make sure the organization should become sustainable, and this can only be achieved with multiple sources of revenue streams. I have been investing a lot of time and resources on attending networking events with individuals and organizations that share similar interest. I have also been meeting recently with mentors to get advice on how to apply for grants and also to connect with some of the donors.

What has been your biggest obstacle as an entrepreneur? My biggest obstacle is to inform the general public about ICT Global Link services. It’s a nonprofit organization, and we need more people willing to sacrifice their time and resources to support the mission of the organization. Another challenge faced is the communication barrier, since it’s a Japanese registered nonprofit organization. All paperwork have to be done in Japanese, which makes is difficult to carry out daily operations.

What advice would you give other emerging entrepreneurs? Believe in yourself no matter what people say to discourage you. Stay focused in whatever you’re doing or you want to do. Don’t listen to people that will say it’s impossible or you can’t do it. Not every one will love your idea. It’s okay if your content isn’t right for that 1 person, because it may be right for the thousands of others who love you and what you do. Spend time on developing relationships. Networking has been key to bringing in more businesses.

Getting the right business partner is like marriage and should entered with the same care. Like marriages, there are a lot of assumptions about what the partnership is/is not and communication about those will lead to better success.

Finally, always have an exit strategy and plan prior to opening doors. As an entrepreneur, I was ready and willing to take the plunge to open my own organization, but now realize I have to structure my organization around the exit strategy.