A 23-year-old Nigerian entrepreneur, Chris Kwekowe turned down a job offer to work as a software engineer at Microsoft, owned by the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, in order to begin his own start-up in Lagos.
The Lagos State University computer science graduate proudly revealed this to Bill Gates during a television interview for Africa’s brightest young entrepreneurs in August 2016.
Kwekowe, who won the 2015 Anzisha Prize which came with a $25,000 cheque, said he rejected the offer to build up his own startup, Slatecube– a website aimed at helping other young Nigerians find jobs.
“When I told him, Gates was intrigued and he smiled. After the programme, all the directors were like, ‘Dude, you mean you actually turned down a job at Microsoft and had the guts to tell Bill Gates?’
Kwekowe founded Slatecube with his brother Emerald, 20, in October 2014. The pair funded their efforts by freelancing as web designers and running a software solutions firm.He said Slatecube seeks to solve that problem by nurturing the graduates through digital internships and so far, Slatecube has an 80% employment rate for its users. Companies that have used the platform, have saved over $100,000 in 2015 by hiring skilled, ready to work employees.
In a Facebook post published last August, Chris narrated in details of his meeting with Bill Gates:
“Oh yeah, I did meet with Bill Gates in Durban, South Africa where we had some candid discussion about everything – from his involvement with charitable causes in the continent, to how he makes time to be a great father for his kids.
My favourite moments were watching his reaction after I told him I turned down job offers from Microsoft and the likes to pursue something more defining for me, and how Africa’s development depends more on sustainable investments in innovative social startups like Slatecube that solve some of the continent’s biggest problems, rather than donating entirely to charity organisations who end up requiring more financial injection to deal with the minutest of issues. Anyways, we’d be working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to make our value proposition at Slatecube a pan-African privilege. Soon, you’d rather be in demand across the globe, and engage in companies and projects that make you better, and suits your career goals. Nothing can really be better”