DIA’s maiden project in 2012 - Project DONE (Drivers of the Nigerian Economy) was born off pressing need for a job. Jide’s return from England had gone six straight months without one and everyday, something thoughtful always occurred - most peers in Nigeria were unquoted business owners. Even those with “9-5” jobs still monetized their hobbies/interests and ran informal businesses off them.
These were the pioneering days geriatric millennials created hobbies into products or services and it consistently delivered huge returns than they could ever had imagined. You had guys from the fun of being the joker over drinks become comedians, and some dancing in front of school hostels entertaining students become music artists that stirred the global course of Nigeria’s Music & Entertainment Industry. Young ladies paid up to a quarter of a million naira at a seating for being brilliant at facial make overs. And newly weds just from their kitchen paid up to Two Hundred Thousand Naira for each wedding cake they made. Many were seen re-inventing bags & purses with Ankara fabrics from memories watching Mum fix worn-out school uniforms. Those unemployed while pouring out frustrations, discovered individual talents in Photography, Painting or Sculpting.
These stories were the early days of commercial self-discovery for those born between the 1980s to 1986, and many sole-proprietorship inventions began testing its market during this era. Post 2009 was the era of early inspiration for several flourishing SMEs we see in major cities like Lagos today. Jide kept speaking to these Event Planners, Interior Designers, Photographers, Music Artists, Comedians, Painters, Bakers, Caterers, Automobile Body Repairers, Sculptors, Fashion Designers, Make-Over Artists, Balloon Decorators etc and found out their businesses were deeply stirring socio-economic survival. He believed these business stories were worth sharing and without a job, Jide volunteered to publish these discussions thus creating Project DONE.
During the course of these published interviews, he was also offered a back page opinion column by RISE Networks on The Guardian Newspapers. He further discussed opinions and how he arrived to believe these informal businesses positively influenced societal growth. Nine series into Project DONE, Jide had opportunity to serve the Lagos State Government in the areas of transportation and things took another turn while working full time. Project DONE got minimal attention, lost traction and rounded up with only Nine Series. In hindsight, he believes these one on one interviews had adequate capacity through first hand context to render enabling public policies towards developing Nigeria’s informal sector.