Word Largest Business Incubator Platform is the Igbos Apprenticeship System – Robert Neuwirt

Igbo apprenticeship system is the world’s largest business incubator platform Says, Robert Neuwirth.


Robert Neuwirth, an American journalist cum author in 2018 talks about the Igbo apprenticeship system popularly known as ‘IGBA BOY’ or ‘IMU-AHIA’ as he gave a TED talk on age-old sharing economies of Africa – Why we should scale them.

According to Robert Neuwirth in the video, the Igbo apprenticeship system is the largest business incubator platform in the world because when an apprentice serves, his master is expected to set him up in business.

This model of business development and expansion have been for ages and well attributed to the Igbo tribe.

Related: Interesting facts about starting a business

He also added that the Igbo apprenticeships and business incubator model work well and locally generated venture capital and systems for allocating scarce water, can propagate and scale these models that could help communities thrive from the bottom up.

Here is a video of his TED talk below;


From the Igbo cultural view to this claim,

there’s a culture that frowns on children roaming the streets doing nothing in Igbo land, you must engage yourself with something. Also, Also, if a child is unable to go to school due to finance or some other reasons, his relatives ensure that he learns a trade from someone (The Master).

Related: Nnamdi Kanu, all you need to know about him

The said child will be sent to a master who is successful in a certain business and have the Child learn under him for a couple of years (5-7 years) depending on the agreement, thereafter, the Master he served/ learned the business from will set up his own business for him.

This business setup involved having the business master;

  1. Paying for office/shop outlet rent for him for few years (1-3 years)
  2. Cash infusion to start a business or Supply goods to him worth a decent amount for him to start
  3. Sometimes, giving him accessing to goods procurement on credit and having him pay up after selling them

Also See: 10 Richest Igbo men in Nigeria

It’s a very interesting business incubation model in Igbo land as this has helped the Igbo tribe pass their business strength from generation to generation regardless of relation making it the most powerful and largest business Incubation in the world right now as claimed by Robert Neuwirth in the Video. It is in the cost of serving a master for years that one will gather the business experience, skills and confidence needed to start his own business.

Even Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa is traced to the Igbo apprenticeship business model as he served his Uncle (Sani Dangote) before he borrowed money (500,000 Naira, amounting to $3000) to start running his own business in building materials.

Following the statement that The Igbo apprenticeship system is the largest business incubator platform in the world

Chris Ani on Facebook went further on it to say,

“The Igbo apprenticeship system has produced more millionaires than the entire University system in Nigeria”


That sounds audacious but true.

The post got over 2000 shares and triggered a long discussion among users on Facebook.

Now, judging from history and claims so far, i will say

“the Igbo apprenticeship incubator model has produced the largest and most sustainable business models in the world”

It moves from generation to generation.

Let me know your thoughts




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