Idorenyin Obong and Joseph Aghedo, founders of Grey Finance (formerly Aboki Africa), shared the role I4G Ambassadors (Ingressive Campus Ambassadors) program played in inspiring their startup journey
We got to know about Ingressive for Good (I4G) at a community event in Uyo. Back then I4G circle Ambassadors were called Ingressive Campus Ambassadors because it ran as part of Ingressive’s CSR program before the nonprofit, I4G became independent. We were so impressed by what the community was doing and felt like we could bring the same energy to our school. When we went for our industrial training in Lagos we were also exposed to tech advances in some of the institutions there and we wanted to bring it here.
We heard about the ambassador opportunity when someone posted the opportunity on twitter. We were three ambassadors from our school, Cross River University of technology, in 2017. We applied independently and were surprised to know that each of us got selected.
As Campus Ambassadors, we planned together, put out the budget together and shared responsibilities amongst ourselves. We had a goal to create a tech community on campus that would have a lasting impact.
As a result of the Campus Ambassador program the computer science department in my school became a functioning tech ecosystem. At the onset, It wasn’t easy getting people to welcome our ideas. We remember having to sign an undertaking to get the venue for our first events. Tech communities and events like this were not popular in the school. We were willing to take the risk and go for it. We printed banners and fliers. We had over 100 attendees and it was really successful. After the event, we put up an article about it with pictures from the event. We also sent swags to winners in different categories. It was really rewarding to see all the good work pay off.
Before becoming Campus Ambassadors, we had little experience in public speaking. The program helped us develop public speaking skills and leadership qualities. We had the support and mentorship of I4G team members and we were really challenged to become better versions of ourselves. After graduation, we passed the mantle to other students, but the skills we developed came in handy when we started a company together called Aboki Africa (now Grey Finance).
Grey Finance was birthed from a gap Idorenyin identified in 2020. During his career as a software engineer, he worked for foreign countries and was paid in USD. He struggled with the fact that there was no seamless way to transfer foreign currencies.
“At Aboki Africa (now Grey Finance) we’re building a currency exchange infrastructure for customers. We have a platform where customers can exchange FX, euros, pounds, dollars from their card or through bank transfer to their naira account instantly. We’ve been pushing this dream project since June 15, 2020” – Idorenyin, cofounder of Grey Finance
“We started as Campus Ambassadors with the dream to play a bigger role in tech events. I4G gave us the platform to step up our game as organizers and speakers. We learned to identify problems and brainstorm on ways that we could leverage tech in solving those problems. And now it’s amazing how we’ve grown from that foundation to become the builders of a project that is impacting the financial system in Africa.” – Femi, cofounder of Grey Finance
Article based on a conversation with Idorenyin and Femi of Grey Finance