Start-up entrepreneurs Oluwatomisin Kolawole; Founder of Vinsighte. Ifeoluwa Adewumi; Founder, of Hillspring diagnostics, Chidumaga Unachukwu; Founder of Exergie, Olaseni Cole; Founder of Young Empowered Programmers (YEP) and Deborah Akpedeye; Co-Founder of Webtodi have emerged first to fifth place winners at the Orange Corners Innovation Pitch Competition.
The Entrepreneurs have access to a €120,000 start-up capital of 75percent grant and 25percent loan provided by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.
Orange Corners is an initiative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands launched in Nigeria in 2019 and implemented by FATE Foundation.
The Orange Corners Incubation Programme supports 20 entrepreneurs every six months with enterprise development knowledge, mentoring, access to the market and funding to grow their business.
To date, the Orange Corners Nigeria through the Orange Corners Innovation Fund has supported 120 Entrepreneurs with grant funding valued over N257million for prototype development and testing. Winners of the business pitch competition from each cohort have also been supported with seed funding of over N193million to grow their businesses.
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“We are excited to provide early-phase funding for these budding young Nigerian entrepreneurs to ideate, develop, test and prototype their innovations as well as derive a viable business model and structure that would enable them scale up their business and be investment ready for more funds,” Adenike said.
The Orange Corners Innovation Fund pitch competition held on Thursday, July 7 and Friday, July 8, 2022 at FATE Foundation in Ilupeju, Lagos marked the end of the sixth (6th) Cohort of the incubation programme.
The winning businesses were assessed by expert Jury; Sonia Onovughakpo Fajusigbe; Economic & Trade Adviser, Netherlands Consulate General, Lagos, Adeoye Daniel; Lead, Investment Team, VEROD Capital Management, Joy Ojakovo; General Manager, Progress Trust CPFA Limited. In attendance was Bukola Kolajo; Economic & Trade Adviser, Netherlands Consulate General, Lagos and the Entrepreneur in Residence for Cohort 6, Obadayo Fagade, Country Manager, West Africa at Diebold Nixdorf who came to support the entrepreneurs.
The Special Guest of Honor, Soromidayo George; Director, Corporate Affairs and Sustainable Business, Unilever, West Africa and the Chairman of the UN Global Compact Local Network in Nigeria in her congratulatory speech to the entrepreneurs shared her delight with the business ideas put forward.
She noted the value of developing entrepreneurial skills and emphasized the fact that though a large number of people are employable, the reality is that there are few jobs available and competition is fierce for those that are available.
George congratulated the winners and urged the entrepreneurs to maintain their passion and continue offering answers to societal and economic problems.
The Call for application for the Seventh (7th) Cohort of the Incubation Programme is currently ongoing. Entrepreneurs to be admitted into the programme will be resident in Lagos, between ages 18-35 with innovative and sustainable solutions that have significant economic and social impact particularly in the Circular Economy, Agriculture, Health care, Renewable energy, Water and ICT industries.