Black Fragrance Foundation has opened in Lagos to contribute to current initiatives targeted at improving the quality of education and reducing poverty level in the country.
The founder and Executive Director of the organisation, Mr Emmanuel Akapo, said at the opening of the organisation’s office last Wednesday, lamented the high poverty level in the country poor access to quality education; promising that the Foundation has come to reverse the ugly trend.
According to him, Black Fragrance’s vision is to contribute significantly to the global effort to end poverty in Africa, and to secure a brighter future for children through access to quality and inclusive education.
He noted that UNESCO’s data which indicates that Nigeria had 15 million children between ages 5 – 15 who are out of school as alarming and needed to be urgently addressed.
On how the organization intends to change the worrisome phenomenon through innovative strategies, he said: “Lack of quality education and poverty are a time bomb and we want to contribute significantly towards abating these challenges in Nigeria though not through the usual aids and handouts approach, but through a social entrepreneurship model.
“We run as a social enterprise that seeks to foster sustainable development in Nigeria through entrepreneurial and social innovations that improve access to education, strengthen the creative economy, and develop enterprise. We will create goods and services in the creative industries and plough back a huge chunk of our profits into empowering the underserved in our society”, Akapo added.
He disclosed that Black Fragrance’s education programme would be focused on improving access to, and improving the quality of basic education.
Basic Primary Education is provided largely by the government; however, many Government funded schools in Nigeria have practically collapsed over the years because of poor funding, leaving children from poor homes with no option than to receive their education in such poor facilities or roam the streets.
Citing a country like Rwanda where private schools are shutting down because government schools got empowered and revamped, Akapo said that it had become a pride in Nigeria to send your kids to private schools
He also hinted that as a means of economic empowerment, the foundation had established a design academy – ‘Black Fragrance School of Design’ and a design company – ‘Black Fragrance Designs International’, adding that the reason for choosing to work in the creative industry is because it remains the most under-exploited sector of the Nigerian economy.
Akapo pointed out that the world’s most successful economies had over the last decade leveraged on digital technology to create exponential growth and development in their creative industries. UK creative industries generate £91.8 billion a year amounting to 3.5% of their GDP, while those of the US generate $729.6 billion, amounting to 4.2% of their GDP.
In Nigeria, despite receiving very little support, the creative sector is one of the fastest growing and most prospective sectors of the economy. According to the national accounts, in the first quarter of 2017 alone, the creative industry grew by 12%, contributing 1.2% to the country’s GDP; generating revenue of $5.915 billion.
The objective of Black Fragrance Creative Economy Support Program is to create sustainable creative businesses which will grow and lead to job creation. This will in turn contribute to the diversification and growth of the economy and lead to poverty reduction.
“This is the reason we set up the design school; to help meet the needs of upcoming and aspiring designers by empowering them with the technical and business skills they need to thrive in the creative industry. Courses offered in the school include; Fashion Design, Shoe and Bag Making, Cake Design, Interior & Event Décor, Photography, Web Design, Games and Mobile App Design, etc. Our vision goes beyond providing training, to further grooming, mentoring and supporting our graduates to become successful entrepreneurs.
“Our coaches at Black Fragrance are successful and renowned designers in their own rights who have chosen to share their passion, skills and experiences with students in an organised academic institution.
“The School shares same facility with its twin company – Black Fragrance Designs International – a design-oriented, innovative company that provides cutting-edge products and services in clothing, shoes and bags, interior and event decor, photography, web and graphics design, animations and beauty crafts.
“Our drive is to create and grow sustainable employments and trade in the creative sector. This gives our students the privilege to learn first-hand from professional designers who work in our design production company.
“At the completion of their training, we will assist our graduates in developing their business ideas, packaging a business plan and provide them with guides and links to access micro-credits and grants. We intend to give out 100 scholarships yearly to indigent but talented youth, while those who can afford to pay a tuition fee will be charged”, he added.
Black Fragrance has also signed MOU with some of Europe’s biggest creative design institutions, where our students can proceed to further their education to various degree levels.
Speaking on how to get the funds to run the foundation, he revealed that Black Fragrance would be selling goods and services in the creative industry and utilise the profit to improve access to quality education for children in underserved communities.