Photograph — Medium

Ojo Wisdom is not your average teenager. When the lights went out at his father’s printing press three years ago, 16-year-old Wisdom saw that as a spark for innovation. Staring down the prospect of jeopardizing a job due to the situation, he conceived of an innovative solution – a rechargeable laptop power bank. Now 19, he’s not just navigating the complexities of adolescence; he’s keen on transforming Nigeria’s tech ecosystem with innovations borne out of necessity.

Wisdom conceived the idea for a rechargeable laptop power bank in March 2021 when a power outage at his family printing press in Illorin nearly cost them a client. Fuel scarcity added another layer of frustration. He could not get an important job done as a graphic designer at the press. “I kept thinking, ‘Is this how we lose this client?’ Wisdom recalls. “So I thought, ‘If I had a power bank for my laptop, we would not be in this predicament.’”

Wisdom spent the rest of the year researching components and designs of existing gadgets, leveraging his innate technological aptitude. “I have a natural knowledge of technology…I understand that if I put A and C together, I’ll get a specific result. All I did was build on that,” he says. Also, he did not want to replicate any existing product; he wanted to build something new and better. Thus, his innovative process fused elements from existing products into an elevated, more efficient design. “I wanted something that could be recharged without dependence on electricity or fuel. So my power bank can be charged with any source – solar, electricity, even in your car,” Wisdom explains.

By February 2022, Wisdom had built a 50,000mAh rechargeable solar laptop power bank after nine months of meticulous research. Today, the power bank is a game-changer for professionals and businesses grappling with power instability. Bloggers, content creators, and students, who often rely on their laptops for work and study, find it invaluable. “Without electricity, they can’t work, so my product helps,” says Wisdom.

Credit – Ojo Wisdom
Credit – Ojo Wisdom

However, Wisdom’s path to success was fraught with challenges; funding was a major issue. People did not take him seriously when he told them of his idea to make a laptop power bank. “They brushed me off,” he says. His persistence finally convinced someone to take a chance on him. This investor provided 60,000 naira to build the prototype.

Furthermore, since he worked from 9 am to 7 pm at his family’s business, the teenager barely had time for research and development. “I could only work on the product when I got home. I did a lot of my research and assembling at night. It was no easy feat,” he says.

Another challenge was the lack of dedicated workshops for inventors. “Imagine wanting to weld batteries but not having access to the necessary machinery,” Wisdom laments. “We need government-backed facilities to bridge this gap and empower aspiring innovators.”

Despite the challenges, Wisdom’s innovation has had a ripple effect. His 50,000mAh and 75,000mAh solar laptop power banks keep people connected and businesses afloat, providing tangible solutions to address Nigeria’s vexing power instability. In addition, he has made a rechargeable solar lamp from scraps to provide light to underserved communities like his, to improve security and quality of life.

Ojo Wisdom

“He’s an innovator that can translate his thoughts into reality, creating devices that operate exactly as he envisions them,” says investor Bolaji Luqman, one of the first to amplify Wisdom’s innovation.

Luqman met Wisdom early last year when he sought a way to power his laptops amid Ilorin’s electricity shortages. His search led him to a curious listing on Jiji – a custom-built laptop power bank, hand-crafted by an unknown Nigerian inventor. When he discovered the creator was just 18 years old, he was stunned by the youngster’s ingenuity.

A meeting convinced him to take a chance on the self-taught tinkerer. “I could see that all he needed was support and he could change the narrative of problems we face in Nigeria.” Luqman immediately invested, flying Wisdom to Abuja to provide specialized training and mentorship for a few months. “He is a bright kid brimming with innovative ideas. That’s why I decided to invest in his future. Things I thought were not even possible technologically, are very possible to him,” says Luqman.

Wisdom got opportunities to showcase his innovation at the National Summit, Abuja, thanks to Luqman and his friend Bolarinwa Kemisola, the founder of Next Wear Technology. “She gave him a chance to present the prototype of his product at the summit,” he says of Kemisola.

Credit – Ojo Wisdom

Recognized by esteemed institutions, including the National Defense College in FCT Abuja, Wisdom has received the African Giant Gold Medal Award of Merit for pioneering groundbreaking technology solutions. But he’s only just started. Next, the young innovator wants to tackle agricultural challenges with a conceptual drone for crop monitoring, livestock management, and autonomous planting and fertilizing.

“Technology makes life and processes easier. Without it, we are delaying development,” Wisdom says. “Imagine a business owner unfazed by power cuts thanks to a solar-powered laptop power bank. That’s the power of technology.” This young innovator believes tech-driven advancement catalyses Nigeria’s sustainable growth and self-reliance. “When you have this hope that Nigeria will advance and be a better place through technology and innovation, the joy that thought brings is enough,” he says

Ojo Wisdom proves that one can turn challenges into opportunities through determination and ingenuity. As he continues to power businesses and livelihoods in his community, he brings Nigeria a step closer to a more technologically advanced future. “He is going to build unique innovations that address real problems people face, and are willing to pay for,” Luqman affirms. “Investing in Wisdom is a guaranteed return on investment.”

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