Empowering youths to be innovators, entrepreneurs

Empowering youths to be innovators, entrepreneurs

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Start-ups show promise at maiden founders’ conference in Lagos, DANIEL ESSIET reports.

The kickoff of the inaugural Founders Conference in Lagos, gathered 250 innovative startups. The event was attended by key stakeholders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem– policy makers, international development organisations, angel investors and successful entrepreneurs.

The panelists included the founder, Wecyclers, Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola; founder, SmartBCamp, John Obidi  and founder, Printivo.com, OluyomiOjo.

In his welcome address, the Chief Executive, Venture Starter Nigeria, Bunmi Jembola said the forum was meant to bring together venture capitalists and startups looking to present business ideas.

Jembola, who is also the convener, Founders Conference, said the platform  was created for young local entrepreneurs to get an opportunity to voice their ideas and link them to expert partners for guidance.

He  stressed the need for young people to create jobs and business opportunities for themselves by developing solutions that would address the nation’s problems.

He said his organisation received over  1000 applications from prospective business founders out of which 250 were chosen.

During the event, shortlisted entrepreneurs pitched business ideas before the audience.

Selected entrepreneurs got four minutes to pitch ideas and another session to get feedback on their performance from the judges.

Several business ideas were pitched, including online marketplaces, a text message-based support network and a platform for cheaper online education. They also represented logistics, agriculture technology, retail, and media technology. The startups drew enthusiastic applause when they detailed their services, strategies to secure customers and solid user bases.

The founder of TechSmart.ng, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata said the economy has a place for innovators that are ready to solve issues.

According to him, tech entrepreneurs can do a lot to make Nigeria a Silicon Valley with indigenous solutions that consider the peculiarities of the nation’s economic challenges.

He encouraged young innovators to come forward with ideas to tackle emerging challenges, adding that the forum will provide them the opportunity to help the start up to receive help and advice from the judges.

He believed advice and support from the panel of successful entrepreneurs will offer the applicants a boost to their startups.

Academic Director, Owner-Manager Programme, Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Dr Henrietta Onwuegbuzie said entrepreneurship plays a critical role in tackling youth unemployment and catalysing economic recovery and development.

For this reason, she called for significant investments in entrepreneurship.

She urged the young people to “dream big dreams,” and create synergies and partnerships that will generate income for their communities and employment for others.

Dr Onwuegbuzie noted that through Pan-Atlantic University  training, LBS seeks to promote entrepreneurship, self-employment and increase the number of youth-owned and -managed businesses.

She said LBS has delivered the much needed support to thousands of entrepreneurs and build an effective network supporting entrepreneurs.

She reiterated the readiness of the school to help train budding entrepreneurs to promote business and economic sustainability.

Founder, SmartBCamp, John Obidi urged the entrepreneurs to acquire essential knowledge and skills required to start and run a successful, sustainable business.

According to him, the quality of pitches, proved the capacities of young Nigerians to focus their efforts to develop creative and innovative solutions.

Some of the works, according to him, represent examples of the high calibre of innovative, game-changing businesses and the ability of young Nigerians to create smart solutions to help meet the demands of the future.

During this event, promising entrepreneurs were  able to get real guidance and support by simply presenting an idea.


Source : Thenationonline

Thenationonline

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