“The pandemic affected us, but not in a bad way” – Harry Enaholo, CEO of Treford

"The pandemic affected us, but not in a bad way" - Harry Enaholo, CEO of Treford

By Karen & Ayomitide

Technology is a buzz word that has come to the fore during the pandemic. With more people having to use technology to maintain connections and systems that keep us going, this topic is more important than ever. But how can we learn to navigate tech spaces? What can young people do to develop their tech skills? This week, we ask Harry Enaholo-the CEO of the educational technology start-up Treford-all this and more.

So can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m Harry Enaholo, a graduate of OAU (Electronic/Electrical Engineering). I’ve been in the tech space since my school days but on the management and business side of things
Currently, I serve as the Cofounder and CEO at Treford
Is this good enough or you want more details?

It’s good. Your skill set sounds diverse. So can you shed some more light on what you do at Treford?

I would like to think so too. My management experience working with different tech startups in Nigeria cuts across People management, Talent Acquisition, Agile project management, Business development, stakeholder management, product management and operations management. Not so much but I can wear at least two of these hats with different companies on any given day

You’re a boss o. That’s very impressive

Treford is an education technology (popularly known as EdTech) startup in Nigeria that is focused on empowering African youths with tech skills they need to build careers and businesses in the tech space.W do this by providing premium learning contents for people on different tech skills. These contents could come in form of webinars, virtual Bootcamps and masterclasses. Where we invite industry experts as facilitators to provide hands-on training people can actually leverage on.  But beyond these mentioned platforms we strive to create premium learning contents across all our channels for people looking to get into tech or advance their careers in tech daily. So this also includes all our social media platforms and YouTube

That sounds really amazing, and like a lot of work too. What inspired you and your partner to come up with Treford in the first place?

It is a lot of work but one I have been proud of the most in my tech journey so far. Mostly because of the passionate team at Treford that makes the work easier than it looks. Treford was and is a solution to problems first of all faced by me and my team and so many other youths…

I think we can all relate to how working with a great team can make our jobs seamless

My journey into tech wasn’t really a straight graph but I will count myself lucky to have been able to join a tech startup pretty early to learn and gain hands-on experience as a manager (of people and eventually of products and projects ) despite graduating from electronic/electrical engineering.
But it would have been probably easier if I had exposure even earlier to know that there were roles like Product management, scrum masters, product marketing, growth etc. this applies to members of the team who transitioned from a different course of study into tech. Some of my ogas on the team have BSC in Psychology, Mechanical engineering, zoology but are all thriving in the tech space as product managers, Project managers, Scrum masters, program managers and technology consultants.

So I have always had younger folks or even mates come to me ask for guidance on how they could get into tech and what role would suit them, this has always been a problem close to my heart. I have always made time to facilitate at Bootcamps and also speak at conferences on future of work and how Nigerian and African youths can be better to equipped for that. So I finally put a structure to something I have already been doing for years by designing syllabus on different learning and career paths from my experience in the tech space and pitched too my colleagues in the tech space

I’m learning a lot about not being restricted to what is on my degree. And I like the fact that Treford provides an avenue for youths like me to gain skills and do other things. Your work and your story is really inspirational.

So we had our first product management bootcamp September 2019 with top product managers coming to take sessions at the bootcamp. The impact the bootcamp has on participants then was what gave us the courage to continue and we are still doing that perhaps on a bigger scale. Our initial aim was to provide training on tech skills to the underserved regions outside of Lagos since Lagos had a flood of training and direct access. Then the second but equally important aim was to bridge the inclusion gap in tech by equipping more young women with tech skills as early as possible to help bring in more female tech leads in the African tech setting.

I love the fact you’re intentional about including women in the tech space… That’s really nice. So did the coronavirus pandemic affect your operations?

I have been privileged to be in tech leadership position for 7 years with different tech startups and I know most teams can be better off when there is an equipped female leader and mind on board. Yes, the Corona virus pandemic affected us, but not for bad. Before the pandemic went viral (for the want of words), our trainings were all physical. But we quickly designed a 100% virtual learning experience as early as April and executed our first virtual product management bootcamp the next month with people attending from Canada, UK, Ghana and all over Nigeria. We also had facilitators take sessions from Germany, Canada, Nigeria and Ghana. So it gave us access to a more diversified audience and tech leaders who might have been able to come physically to Nigeria for the bootcamp before. I can’t wait for the pandemic to end but yes it helped us redesign for better.

This is great! Sounds like you guys really worked hard to make the most of the pandemic. I’m sure your clients enjoyed the diversity. You’ve indirectly answered most of my questions, so I’m just going to ask you one more. Do you have any last words for African millennials in the tech space?

Yeah, the team already being an agile tech team and still a tech team who have worked on multiple projects and products helped us move fast. Our perception about failure has been the greatest hindrance to phenomenal growth and innovations mostly in Africa. We need to learn to position ourselves to stay relevant in a technology-driven world where most existing jobs and courses in universities might not have a place or exist in the nearest future. Don’t wait till tomorrow, start now.

Amazing advice
We are honoured to have had the chance to interview Harry Enaholo and find out more about his incredible work with Treford. If you’d like to find out more about the organisation, you can find them @Treford on Twitter. You can also visit their website treford.org to find out how to get involved in their bootcamps.

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