May 21, 2024

Hunter Hub For Entrepreneurial Thinking helps bring Street2School to life

Emmanuel Amaechi reflects on the road to launching a program providing mobile, accessible education to underprivileged children
Emmanuel Amaechi in Abuja, Nigeria with children participating in Street2School.

Emmanuel Amaechi in Abuja, Nigeria with children participating in Street2School.

For Emmanuel Amaechi, the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking has been an invaluable partner during his entrepreneurial journey at the University of Calgary. A current MA student in educational research in learning sciences and co-founder of Street2School, Amaechi is shaping his future with intention. 

As he co-founded Street2School, Amaechi engaged with various Hunter Hub programs. Reflecting on his experiences, Amaechi says the Hub’s mentorship and resources have empowered him to propel his venture further, with impressive impact. 

Building entrepreneurial skills with the Hunter Hub

Since October 2023, Amaechi has participated in Launchpad and Map the System, as well as e2i, a program delivered in partnership with Innovate Calgary

With Map the System, he tackled the issue of mental health in undergraduate students, working with Sarah Joy Mendoza and Hayley Ngo from the Haskayne School of Business. Amaechi found his experience during Map the System to be incredibly valuable. “I loved the team spirit, the collaboration and the mentorship,” he says. 

And, during Launchpad, Street2School was born. With a concept in hand, that program helped Amaechi bring Street2School to life, while e2i furthered the cause. 

“Street2School was very fortunate to have had the support of both Launchpad and e2i," says Amaechi. "Both programs ran concurrently. The mentorship we received during Launchpad truly helped us advance Street2School. With e2i, we also got the chance to pitch the idea in person. The intersection between both programs is the opportunity they provided. 

“It gave Street2School the chance to solidify its place as a social impact leader and showcase itself as an on-the-ground project that is solving problems around education.”

Amaechi was paired with Hunter Hub social innovation specialist Kurt White, MBA'23, as his mentor throughout each program. 

“Emmanuel has been a pleasure to work with,” White says. “I’ve worked with him through a plethora of programs (Map the System, e2i and Launchpad) and his dedication has shone through. Seeing the success of Street2School and the impact its having already is a testament to Emmanuel’s hard work, as well as the entrepreneurial spirit that we cultivate here at the University of Calgary.”  

Amaechi stresses the impact of mentorship and how it helped him along his journey. 

“That one-on-one interaction was so beneficial for getting the feedback (we needed)," he says. "Kurt was instrumental in helping us prepare for the pitch (during Launchpad) and helping us craft a compelling presentation. His mentorship was amazing.” 

With his involvement across each Hunter Hub program, Amaechi punctuated the skills each program fostered, noting communication, presentation skills and time management.  

“These programs put you in rooms where interesting discussions happen," says Amaechi. "Launchpad, Map the System and e2i all provide you with an opportunity to solve a problem. And you learn from solving this problem. You get to co-exist in a space that is championing the cause of humanity; to lead commendably in society.”

Championing accessible education with Street2School

A schoolroom in Nigeria

Children in Abuja, Nigeria, learning through Street2School.

Amaechi, along with overseas colleagues Raidat Karim and Ibitomi Otunola, started Street2School in February 2021 with a mission to provide free and flexible education to underprivileged children. The idea was first conceptualized during his participation in Launchpad and, subsequently, e2i.

“We were looking at how SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) can help us create a better society," he says. "This was an opportunity to come together to co-create solutions to advance the cause of humanity, and immediately we identified an interest in quality education. As a team, we saw that there were 20 million out-of-school kids in Nigeria. The question we asked ourselves was, ‘How do we provide solutions that will help us mitigate this problem?’”

For Amaechi and his team, the answer to this question was found in mobile learning spaces. 

“It’s a sustainable way to address this disparity and integrate education in areas that lack it,” Amaechi says. 

Issues like poverty, economic circumstances and security are only a few of many factors affecting accessibility to education. Street2School is designed to extend quality education with mobile spaces that have the flexibility to move across different locations. The cause is gaining traction: “We have about 70 students right now, and our teachers are volunteers,” Amaechi says. 

During a trip to Abuja, Nigeria, Amaechi was struck by the sense of community he and his team felt. Even more moving is the growth he’s seen in the students they teach. 

“They’re learning and advancing. A few of them have advanced to secondary school. Our aim is to keep them in school and ensure that we’re providing them with the education they need (to keep moving forward),” Amaechi says, adding seeing the growth of Street2School has been endlessly rewarding. “Street2School has been life-changing.”  

Looking towards the future, Amaechi hopes to further develop the curriculum by introducing STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning. He also envisions Street2School eventually expanding to North America. “Most important for us it to keep talking about this, to keep the conversation going so that we can do more and expand,” he says. 

To learn more about Street2School, visit its website.

Get involved with the Hunter Hub

The Hunter Hub is designed to foster innovation and cultivate entrepreneurial thinkers. As seen in Amaechi’s success, these programs promote positive social and economic impact, helping students build a tool kit of skills to leverage in their careers and beyond. 

This year, the Map the System Canadian National Semi-Finals will take place at the Hunter Hub on Sunday, May 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will see the top 20 teams from across Canada compete for a spot in the National Finals. Competing in the semi-finals and representing the Hunter Hub and UCalgary are Paige Thompson, Julia Brady and Sam Padron. 

Register for the semi-finals to cheer them on.

Sign up for UToday

Sign up for UToday

Delivered to your inbox — a daily roundup of news and events from across the University of Calgary's 14 faculties and dozens of units

Thank you for your submission.