Opeolu Stephen Akinola and Emmanuella Akinola, co-founders of Access Tech have won a $1,500 seed funding for the maiden edition of the Nexford University Business Case competition.
Out of 44 participants who were screened down to a top 11 and top three, the team of two clinched the grant following a rigorous pitch presentation before a panel of judges.
The top three finalists are Precious Aleaji of Stylebitt, Serah Kassim of Serah Kassim Clothing, and Opeolu Akinola.
The Nexford University Business Case Competition is a programme designed to assist graduates who have entrepreneurial ambitions in various business pursuits.
Akinola is a visually impaired information communication technology (ICT) consultant, musician, and public speaker. He and his partner won after presenting a pitch on helping people with disability to have access to technology.
Cathy Plunkett, the academic officer, Nexford University, underscoring the goal of the programme said it would allow graduates to showcase their passion.
“This is for them to showcase what they are interested in and how they have used the skills and the knowledge they have learned in the Nexford programme in practice. It is for us to see what they can do and understand how they are going to affect the world through their communities,” Plunkett said.
Similarly, Olamidun Ogundoyin, the Nexford country director, said the institution is gradually achieving the major reason the Nexford University was established in Nigeria in 2019.
“I have a particular passion about academics but not just to churn in learners in and out of university but to provide them with upward mobility in post-degree,” she said.
“After bringing Nexford University into Nigeria, I first discovered that because of the peculiarities of our job market in Nigeria, we have to find other means to be able to place graduates into unique opportunities that can benefit them not just in the workplace, but also through entrepreneurship.”
Ogundoyin emphasised that a lot of young people today are looking at other ways to make a buck for themselves through entrepreneurship and starting businesses and stuff.
“So we have had to develop this business case opportunity when our graduates come in,” the country director explained. They pitch their ideas and whoever has the best ideas, we grant them funds for seed capital.”
Also, Nexford University supports its graduates through mentorship programmes. It pairs them up with high calibre professionals while giving them more Nexford credits to up-skill themselves and their workforce.
The winner is expected to create impact, not just come up with businesses for profitability but sustainability both environmental sustainability and business sustainability, and also scale.