A common experience within African culture is the lack of acceptance from older generations for non-traditional career fields. For many, the only widely-accepted career paths lie within the STEM field — an observation that was made very clear to 22-year-old founder Eno Oduok.
Eno Oduok is a first-generation Nigerian-American and a Houston native. her work experience ranges from communications and social media to public relations and marketing. Overall, she enjoys content creation
In Oduok’s experience, she found that for Black and people of color — Nigerians in particular — there was little to no representation for people in her culture within the creative job market.
One day while searching for an online space for Nigerians in public relations — Oduok’s current occupation — she noticed there weren’t any up-to-date platforms to connect with people like herself.
So in September of last year, she launched her very own platform called Naija Comm — a rapidly growing space that showcases and connects Nigerians as creatives working in overlooked career fields such as communications, arts, business, and so forth.
Almost every week, the platform picks select individuals to spotlight their work and give them a space where they can amplify their voices to a new audience.
The overall mission of the platform is to both end the constant societal pressure within Nigerian culture to pursue traditional career paths and emphasize the importance of representation across all industries.
According to Oduok, Naija Comm is the first and only community to ever cater to Nigerian creatives. It is through her combined personal and cultural experiences that she’s been able to launch the successful digital platform.
“In our culture, certain career paths are prioritized more, just like in other cultures [as far as] anything STEM-related,” she told AfroTech. “I wanted to create a space that celebrates and uplifts Nigerians in all career fields because they don’t always get the same recognition and praise as the other fields do.”
Initially, Oduok didn’t see herself becoming a full-blown entrepreneur, but her passion for uplifting others naturally put her in a position to create the change she wanted to see for her culture.
“I honestly had no intention of starting a brand and I had no interest in entrepreneurship,” she shares. “But [for me] I’m a passionate storyteller and I love amplifying the voices and stories of others, especially overlooked ones, so that motivated me to create this platform.”
Through launching her own brand, Oduok learned just how underrepresented Nigerians are in their respective creative roles. That lack of exposure is what motivated her to create Naija Comm in the first place, and so she’s grateful to have created a platform that resonates with so many people.
Since the platform first launched, Oduok has received countless testimonials from people who have found Naija Comm to be helpful in terms of creating visibility for the many careers that are available to Nigerians outside of the typical roles of doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc.
“I didn’t really realize how impactful this was until I started getting the messages [from people], and then it was like ‘wow, I see how y’all are seeing it,’” she says.
For Oduok, the toughest part about maintaining Naija Comm as a founder has been wearing multiple hats while also being a business woman.
“There are times you will have to be your own graphic designer, lawyer, publicist, manager and more,” she shares with us. “Although it is rewarding and you develop many skills in the process, it can be challenging trying to balance it all.”
But through it all, Oduok has created a groundbreaking platform for her community, and all the while shifted the narrative for Nigerians to have a cultural impact.
In addition to offering a safe space for Nigerian creatives, Naija Comm also hosts giveaways and virtual events that has featured various guest speakers such as entrepreneur and influencer King Paul; Black Girls Graduate founder Ashley Obasi; Bond Official founder and editor-in-chief Igee Okafor; Netflix Communications Manager Ebony Turner and many more.
Looking ahead, Oduok hopes to see Naija Comm flourish as it continues to grow its following and expand its offering of content to include conferences, webinars, panels, and brand collaborations.
For more information about Naija Comm, visit its website.
This article originally appeared on afrotech and is published here for educational purposes.