Black Fragrance foundation founded by Mr Emmanuel Akapo during the week opened officially in Ijesha-Surulere area of Lagos. It was a moment of great exposition as the Executive Director talked about what the foundation is bringing to the table for Nigerians.
Undisputedly, Nigeria is a country plagued with wide-spread poverty and poor access to quality education; further worsen by a government that is not doing enough to address these issues efficiently.
Change doesn’t just emerge, it is ignited by someone and Black fragrance has taken it upon itself to make a change happen in the country through the foundation.
According to the founder, Emmanuel Akapo, 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. According to UNESCO, Nigeria has 15 million children between ages 5 – 15 who are out of school. He noted that this is an alarming figure and Black Fragrance Foundation is rising up to the challenge
While speaking on Black Fragrance interventions he highlighted several measures that have been designed to achieve their goal.
‘’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”
He disclosed that Black Fragrance’s education program is centered around improving access to, and improving the quality of basic education. He explained further why this is such a big necessity in Nigeria. 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. He made reference to a country like Rwanda where private schools are shutting down because Government Schools got empowered and revamped. But it is a pride in Nigeria to send your kids to private schools
He also revealed that as a means of economic empowerment, the foundation has established a design academy known as “Black Fragrance School of Design” and a design company by the name “Black Fragrance Designs International”. He gave his reason for choosing to work in the creative industries as being the most under-exploited sector of the Nigerian economy. He revealed that the world’s most successful economies have 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.”
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 will be selling goods and services in the creative industry and a major part of the profit realized will be invested into the social course of improving access to quality education for children in underserved communities.
About choosing which communities to serve, he made it known that a committee has been set up whose job is to research and provide the foundation with relevant data to assist in determining which communities are of top priorities. He also hinted that he won’t be focusing on Lagos alone but will over time be covering many communities in the North of Nigeria and other regions, where children are most deprived of quality basic education.
Black Fragrance Foundation opened two offices simultaneously in Lagos: the head office is at Sanya-Ijesha by Oshodi-Apapa Express way, while the other is at Eleganza Gardens, Lekki.