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HomeEntrepreneurshipKhalil Halilu: Pioneering Tech Entrepreneurship with the KSH Foundation

Khalil Halilu: Pioneering Tech Entrepreneurship with the KSH Foundation

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“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great – you can be that generation!”

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, has long grappled with the significant challenge of youth unemployment. The youth, aged 15 to 35, make up a large part of the workforce, and unemployment among them is a major issue. Recent stats show a high youth unemployment rate of 34%, showing how serious the problem is for the economy and society.

In this enduring challenge, Khalil Sulieman Halilu has integrated and dedicated himself to uplifting young people in Nigeria, especially in the areas of technology and entrepreneurship. Through his work at the KSH Foundation, he hopes to catalyze tangible change by providing young minds with the tools they need to succeed. Khalil’s work doesn’t just focus on innovation, but also on carving a pathway for young people to have the tools and resources to grow. Projects like The CANs hub and the Zabe election monitoring system show Khalil’s commitment to using technology for social good and progress.

Inception Story

Before we delve into Khalil Sulieman Halilu’s impact on Nigeria through the KSH Foundation initiative, it is imperative that we take a moment to revisit the past and thoroughly comprehend his vision.

Khalil Sulieman Halilu’s journey began at the heart of his family’s legacy, the Sirocco Factory in Kano State, where he took on the role of Chief Operating Officer armed with a dual degree in business and technology. His goal was to modernize traditional businesses using technology. Despite facing challenges within his entrepreneurial family in Northern Nigeria, Khalil persisted in pursuing his vision, managing family dynamics along the way.

Beyond his family business, Khalil explored diverse professional roles, from creative director to car importer, with each experience enriching him with valuable skills and insight. Crystalizing his belief in the potential of small and medium-sized enterprises in shaping Africa’s future are two of his ventures, the CANs Park, an eco-friendly tech hub, and ShapShap, an innovative on-demand delivery platform.

In September 2023, Khalil’s journey took a new turn when he was appointed the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, marking a significant stride in his mission to drive industrial innovation in Nigeria.

Despite his professional achievements, Khalil remains committed to empowering the next generation, particularly women, through his non-profit endeavors.

KSH Foundation’s Key Initiatives

At the KSH Foundation, Khalil Sulieman Halilu channels his passion for technology into impactful initiatives designed to foster social development, with a particular focus on empowering women. Through a range of programs, the foundation aims to leverage technology for social good while providing tailored support for women’s advancement.

Key offerings of the KSH Foundation include:

  • EveryGirl Initiative: Targeting young women aged 16 – 21, this program provides comprehensive training, mentorship, and enablement in technology-related fields, empowering participants to kick-start their careers with confidence.
  • Her Startup: This initiative supports and funds female business owners who utilize technology in their ventures. It serves as a platform for nurturing entrepreneurship among women, with a focus on financial literacy through the FEM-Money workshop.
  • Dear Therapy: Recognizing the importance of mental health, especially among parents and children, the foundation offers free virtual therapy sessions and educational resources to promote mental well-being and destigmatize therapy.
  • Dear Young Entrepreneurs Webinar: Providing a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to connect with seasoned professionals, this webinar series offers insights, guidance, and inspiration for navigating the entrepreneurial journey.

Khalil Sulieman Halilu’s Notable Accolades

In the bustling arena of technological innovation, Khalil’s brainchild, Shapshap, made waves at the esteemed GITEX 2022 fair in Dubai, UAE. Amongst global contenders, Shapshap emerged triumphant in the Mobility and Logistics Innovation category of the Supernova Challenge Pitch Competition. Reflecting on this achievement, Khalil emphasizes, “We showcased our commitment to solving Africa’s challenges with homegrown solutions.” This victory not only underscores their dedication but also highlights their pioneering strides in critical sectors like mobility and logistics.

Furthermore, Khalil’s vision extends beyond mere accolades to meaningful societal impact. In November 2023, the KSH Foundation, under Khalil’s leadership, was awarded 1st Place in the Community Enablement Concept category of the Connecting the Unconnected Challenge, organized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the largest technical professional organization in the world. The award was given in recognition of the foundation’s relentless pursuit of leveraging technology to address gender-based inequalities in digital access. Khalil passionately articulates, “Through our programs, we aim to empower marginalized communities and bridge the digital divide, championing inclusivity and social impact on a global scale.”

It was amidst these accomplishments that Khalil was called to public service, with his appointment as Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).

As Khalil looks toward the future, his long-term goals still resonate with his commitment to societal betterment. “My vision,” he shares, “revolves around making a significant and positive impact on society, particularly in areas related to sustainable development, social justice, and environmental conservation.” Through his work in the nonprofit sector, advocacy efforts, government, or collaborations with like-minded individuals and organizations, Khalil aspires to contribute to a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable world.

Khalil Sulieman Halilu’s Leadership Advice

In the ever-evolving landscape of leadership, the cornerstone of Khalil’s counsel to the next generation of leaders is to embrace empathy, resilience, and a strong sense of purpose. He emphasizes the importance of openness to ideas and feedback, urging aspiring leaders to prioritize the well-being of others and listen to diverse perspectives.

“Leadership is about finding a way to carry everyone along,” Khalil asserts, “while also not compromising on  key values, like integrity, innovation, and efficiency.” This holistic approach underscores the significance of collaboration and inclusive leadership, where every voice is heard, and every contribution is valued.

He adds, “Failure is not the end, but an opportunity for growth and learning.” By facing challenges with strength, aspiring leaders can turn obstacles into opportunities for personal and professional development.

Above all, Khalil urges aspiring leaders to stay true to their values and vision, never losing sight of the impact they aspire to make in the world. “Your passion and dedication,” he emphasizes, “can inspire others to join you in creating positive change and leaving a meaningful legacy for future generations.”

Reflecting on his journey, Khalil acknowledges the multifaceted challenge of managing people effectively. “Managing people in a way that results in implementation and progress is an ongoing challenge,” he admits, “but also an opportunity.” He emphasizes the importance of meeting each individual where they are, fostering a culture of mutual understanding and collaboration.

For Khalil, overcoming these challenges is about finding harmony between giving and receiving, and navigating the complexities of human relationships with empathy and resilience. As he often says, ‘Adversity reveals our true strength, and every obstacle is an opportunity for greatness.

Alejandro Garcia
Alejandro Garciahttps://twitter.com/Gracia_A141997
Alejandro Garcia, Entrepreneurship Writer at CEO Scoop Magazine. Sharing stories and strategies of innovative business leaders. Inspiring aspiring entrepreneurs with insights into building successful ventures.

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