According to research, soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030. It is estimated that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and would need to find new jobs.

Workers of the future will spend more time on activities that machines are less capable of, such as managing people effectively, applying emotional intelligence, and communicating with others as opposed to physical activities, collecting, and processing data, where machines would exceed human performance. Yet, studies show that there is a significant skills mismatch between employers’ requirements and employees’ display of skills in the workplace, particularly soft skills.

In response to the skills gap, BMGA deploys skills enhancement courses for individuals, organizations, and academic institutions using modern methodology that is rooted in the science of learning and behavior. Because the advancement of Africa is dependent on ensuring that everyone has the knowledge and resources required to be an active contributor to the development of society, BMGA is committed to equipping people with soft skills that optimize performance and productivity.

Gbemisola Abudu, the Founder and Managing Partner of BMGA Enterprise Limited (BMGA) offered insight into the transformational journey of the organization since inception.

Since we last spoke, it appears BMGA has grown. Tell us about your experience with building the BMGA brand.

BMGA Enterprise Limited (BMGA) has evolved into an EdTech finishing school for the future of work. We provide social and marketing intelligence that increases the productivity of people and organizations. Our mission is to empower professionals with soft skills that enable efficiency and increase productivity in the workplace.

Over the last three quarters of 2021, we have deployed new residence courses in Business Etiquette, Emotional Intelligence, Story Intelligence, and many more for professionals across industries via strategic partnerships with professors and subject experts from top global institutions. In addition, through the BMGA Foundation, we have also widened the geographical reach of the BMGA Fellows Program, a social impact initiative designed to narrow the gender skills gap in Africa, by launching a pan-African cohort which comprises participants from Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia.

Furthermore, based on research, we have seen that there is a lack of tenured female professors in many tertiary institutions. This is because women often experience invisibility, exclusion, isolation, and lack of support within higher education, which in turn affects the number of women who hold key positions. Thus, BMGA has been working to develop collaborative partnerships with women in academia to provide them the opportunity to reach a wider audience through our residence courses and attain visibility that would enhance their career prospects.

Over the last year, how has the BMGA Fellows Program been able to address the gender skills gap in Africa?

It has been an exhilarating experience! I am happy to say that the outcome is exactly that we anticipated and more.

At BMGA, our work is guided by the BMGA Foundation’s mission to encourage inclusivity and gender balance in the business environment through initiatives such as the BMGA Fellows Program. The Foundation focuses on the upliftment of women by narrowing the gender skills gap in society which poses a challenge to the social, economic, and political development of Africa. Although there are several programs that currently exist to address the skills gap in undergraduates and recent university graduates, their delivery and approach are not holistic to cover specific issues that influence the gender skills gap in Africa such as gender violence, lack of direct access to mentors, impact of societal pressure, among others.

The BMGA Fellows Program approaches the issue of unemployability of female university graduates by equipping them with the knowledge and resources required to gain fundamental employability skills led by experts and professors from renowned institutions. The components of the program are designed and deployed via the BMGA eLearning platform and other modern technological tools to enhance the learning experience. This year, our anchor partners are Giants of Africa and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The program provides a quota for participants from marginalized communities so that they are given the resources that will enable them to be active contributors to the development of their communities. This will create a ripple effect that will impact their respective communities. For example, in the 2020 cohort, 20% of the Fellows were first-generation students and 18.2% of the Fellows were from the Northern part of Nigeria. For the 2021 BMGA Fellows Program, the cohort is largely made up of young women with keen interests in Business, Finance, Law, and STEM. 26% own or run their business, 37% of participants are involved in a STEM related career, 33% of the participants’ current career is related to the gender equity field, and 69% of the participants have either less than two years work experience or no work experience.

We recognize the direct relationship between high-quality education and economic empowerment because, based on research, the Human Capital Theory posits that investing in education has a payoff in terms of higher wages. Thus, through access to modern technological tools and resources that aid transformational learning, participants in the program will become active contributors to the development of their communities. To validate this, the post-program assessment revealed that 50% of our 2020 Fellows received a job offer, 6.25% received an increase in salary, and 6.25% were accepted to a graduate school because of learnings from the program. Also, some of our Fellows have started smaller skills enhancement programs for young women within their communities, published books to encourage young women, and several have increased their volunteerism on women-related issues.

To further understand the extent of the program’s impact, visit www.bmgaenterprise.com/impactreport to download our annual impact report.

Tell us more about your residence courses for all professionals

Our residence courses are designed to help professionals develop transferable skills that are the hallmark of the future of work. These courses are designed with the three primary learning styles that promote high retention and recall of information, which are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

We have a great deal of expertise in providing a transformational experience to university students, entry- level, mid-level professionals, academic institutions, and corporate organizations. This is because we partner with experts and professors from top institutions across the world, such as Yale University StoryWork International, University of Lagos, etc. to deploy courses on Business Etiquette, Emotional Intelligence, Story Intelligence, among others.

As one of our most recent courses, the Story Intelligence course aims to enable professionals to utilize storytelling as a tool to persuade, communicate, and position their personal value and products in the market. Based on research, most successful leaders and organizations have mastered the art of harnessing the power of storytelling to connect, influence and persuade. As someone whose background is in global marketing, I know firsthand the importance of storytelling to the success of any brand. Storytelling is an essential skill for professionals.

Thus, the Story Intelligence course introduces participants to the ‘7 Powers of Story’ and how individuals and organizations can effectively harness the of storytelling to connect, influence and transform their brand.
The course is led by Richard Stone, a globally recognized storyteller with over 25 years of experience in developing story-based programs for team building and leadership development. He is the Chief Executive Officer of StoryWork International. He also served as the StoryAnalytics Master for the IDEAS Innovation team (a former division of the Walt Disney Company).

In line with the BMGA methodology, we have focused on advancing our use of modern technology to ensure inclusivity. Through the introduction of voice-to-text/text-to-audio transcription of our resources, participants can enjoy their learning experience regardless of specific circumstances.

The course is scheduled to run from Monday, 13 September 2021 to Sunday, 10 October 2021. Registration closes one week after the course begins. To learn more about the course and register, visit www.bmgaenterprise.com/story-intelligence.

What’s next for BMGA?

In the next few months, our recently launched residence courses will be offered all-year-round to professionals across industries and expand the geographical reach. Furthermore, we intend to widen the reach of the BMGA Fellows Program to ensure that we are impacting the lives of many young women in Africa.