The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) is ecstatic to introduce to the people of Jamaica an influential mentor, young entrepreneur, political activist, community leader, international motivational speaker and advisor to Barack Obama – Thione Niang. This will be Niang’s first time speaking to a crowd in Kingston, Jamaica, however not his first time on the island. Niang vacationed in Jamaica earlier this year, and had the opportunity to travel all around the island.
Niang is the keynote speaker at JCC’s anticipated event, Young Entrepreneur: Own Your Future, which is set to take place on January 21, 2017 at the Courtleigh Auditorium in Kingston, Jamaica. The event aims to empower entrepreneurs and business students with discussions and motivational talk that will stimulate them towards building a successful future. The objective is to unlock the potential of young entrepreneurs by addressing the challenges they face, and by motivating them to play an integral role in their country.
Niang was born in Senegal into a family of 28 children. He left Senegal and arrived in the U.S. in 2000. He could not speak one word of English and had no family in the U.S. He paid for his college diploma by cleaning tables in restaurants. While studying in Ohio, he became involved in politics and campaigned for various local and state political candidates. Niang became the first African American to run the Young Democrats of the Democratic County in Ohio. During the 2008 presidential election, he campaigned for President Barack Obama, something he calls “a life changing experience.”
In 2009, Niang established the Give1 Project – a global organization that aims to engage young people as leaders in creating and building strong and healthy communities. The project accomplishes this aim through the successful operation of a network of hunger relief, health care, civic engagement, housing, legal services, employment training and educational programs. These programs are purposely and strategically designed to assist young men and women through a period of transformation and empower and inspire them to continuously strive for greater social, economic and political participation in their communities, both locally and internationally. The Give1 Project is now in 30 countries all over the world.
“We are investing in young leaders, to prepare them to have the tools necessary to help shape the world,” said Niang.
The Nation magazine named him as one of 10 of America’s Most Daring Young Black Activists and Complex magazine named him one of America’s Top Ten Most Daring Young Black Activists.
In 2014, Niang partnered with R&B singer Akon and businessman Samba Bathily and co-founded Akon Lighting Africa and Solektra International. The mission, to provide electricity to 600 million African households and communities through sustainable solar energy. To date, a wide range of quality solar solutions, including street lamps, domestic and individual kits, have been installed in 14 African countries.
“We can’t continue to live in a world where just a few people are doing well, and the rest are not.”
Last year October, Niang was appointed by President Obama and The Energy Secretary as ambassador at the US Ministry of Energy representing minorities in energy. Now Niang travels the world promoting the importance of leadership and the involvement of youth in public life.
“This is a fight of an eternal optimist who believes that somehow I will succeed [in ensuring to pave the way for the next generation.] With the young people that I am training and giving opportunities to, I know that if I fail to make it, one of them will be able to pick up the fight, and continue to give opportunities to young people across the world.”
To RSVP for the event, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/young-entrepreneur-own-your-future-tickets-29529002040