• Saturday, May 25, 2024
businessday logo


Two Nigerian entrepreneurs win AIT Swiss-Africa start-up competition

Two Nigerian entrepreneurs win AIT Swiss-Africa start-up competition

Two Nigerian entrepreneurs alongside ten others from South Africa and Rwanda have emerged winners of the 2024 Swiss–Africa Academia-Industry Training (AIT) start-up competition for African entrepreneurs.

The 12 winners across the biotech to agriculture, fintech, education, clean energy, and health-tech industries were chosen from 20 finalists by a pool of prestigious judges. The start-ups will travel to Switzerland at the end of May 2024 to take part in the Swiss Residency Week.

Read also: Low-capital business ideas for aspiring Nigerian entrepreneurs

The two Nigerian entrepreneurs are Evet Africa – a digital animal healthcare startup that increases access to animal healthcare diagnostics for farmers and veterinarians in the country and TY-Dami Energy Resources – a climate tech startup pioneering the future of refrigeration by integrating cooling with carbon capture.

Folasade Ogunsola, vice chancellor of the University of Lagos, commended the Swiss government for coming to Nigeria to start what the 2024 Swiss–African Science and Business Innovators Program (SASBI) is already doing in other places, noting that the country with a population of 226 million people ought to be included.

She added that youths account for a major proportion of the country’s large population and in ensuring that they are empowered to fend for themselves or establish their businesses, Unilag is working to input the mindset required to achieve it.

“One of the things we are focused on is how to empower and enable our youths to fend for themselves or start a business and if they are not starting to be valuable members of already established businesses,” Ogunsola who is also a professor said at the AIT-SASBI conference held in University of Lagos recently.

“This requires a mindset and we are very focused on building that mindset. We are also showcasing the young vibrant, innovative and talented Nigerians to the world and that is what we are doing here today,” she added.

Also, Frank Eggmann, consul general for Switzerland in Lagos said the Swiss have a similar story to Nigeria when most of its people were migrating to other countries owing to insufficient opportunities.

He noted that Switzerland was able to change its narrative through innovation which it began to export as it continues to identify needs and work to provide solutions to the needs.

He said the SASBI initiative is supporting startups by creating a place where they can come for surveillance and get a second option to test and see.

Erich Thaler, programme director of the Swiss–African Science and Business Innovators Program SASBI, while giving an overview of the initiative, said it started 10 years ago when the Swiss government decided to intensify its relationships in recent innovations with countries and that Nigeria and Rwanda are now partners.

Read also: I see more entrepreneurs embracing alternative sources of energy this year – Delta SPADTE

He noted that the programme is about Universities translation of technical know-how to the market.

“We are looking at researchers in various disciplines and encouraging them to come forward with business ideas that help countries to translate this know-how into the market,” Thaler said at the AIT-SASBI conference held at the University of Lagos recently.

Sunday Adebisi, a professor and the director of the Entrepreneurship Centre, University of Lagos appreciated the Swiss government for choosing Unilag as the host of the conference while urging the entrepreneurs to seize the opportunity being provided.

“At the University of Lagos, we have decided to see how we can support the youths to thrive and how we can support the nation to drive growth. In the past five years, the University of Lagos has been ensuring that the youths which make up more than 65 percent of the country’s population get all the training they need to establish their businesses.”