How many times have you gotten an email from a Nigerian prince promising that if you wire him a little cash, he’ll give you millions of dollars in return? These schemes, known as “advance fee fraud,” have grown only more ambitious in the years since scammers have taken to the Internet.
But Paradigm Initiative is a Nigerian company training those cybercriminals to use their smart, tech-savvy minds to instead create online businesses. In a 10-week course, students ages 12 to 28 learn skills like coding, Web design and finance management to help use their powers for good.
“If you can hack a website in the name of committing a crime,” Paradigm Initiative’s founder and executive director, ‘Gbenga Sesan, told Fast Company, “then you can design a real website and get paid for it."
More than half of young Nigerians are unemployed or underemployed. Paradigm Initiative wants to help them join the digital economy and build careers, and students have gone on to work in top internships with partners like the U.S. Embassy and DHL.