Bolt Nigeria has awarded the sum of €25,000 ($26,712) to ten drivers who made it to the grand finale of the Bolt Den initiative of the Bolt Accelerator Program.
The ten drivers were selected after a rigorous selection process, according to the company. The program, which is strategically aligned with Bolt’s Africa City Vision, attracted 1,600 applications, out of which 100 drivers progressed to the ideation phase—the top 20 drivers showcased to the intensive business development boot camp phase in preparation for pitch day.
At the Bolt Den pitch session, the top drivers pitched their innovative ideas to a panel of judges who selected the best 10 ideas. The top ideas ranged from converting vehicles to compressed natural gas (CNG) for cars, developing a mobile application connecting users with on-the-go mechanics and towing rescue vans, converting petrol-operated vulcanizing machines to solar energy, and designing and assembling electric bicycles, and other concepts.
The final ten drivers were unveiled each receiving a €2,000 seed fund and access to a 6-week business mentorship program. The excitement in the room was palpable as drivers, friends and families, the panel of judges, facilitators, and guests shared the joy of a transformative experience. Additionally, the top 20 drivers were awarded certificates of participation, and 3 drivers received laptops for these categories; best pitch, most scalable idea, most innovative idea, and 1 access to business mentorship with Oliver Wyman.
“My idea and vision have been to elevate ‘many’ from poverty and to convert the use of ‘fossil fuel’ to solar energy. I think my idea will not only change the use of ‘fossil fuel’, but also create jobs for people across Africa.” The Bolt Accelerator Program has impacted me and I am thrilled to have come top of this program, thank you for showing me what it means to be part of a great, impactful, and success-driven team. I look forward to future collaborations with Bolt and the top 10,” said Thompson Ekawu Ogar, a driver on Bolt in Kaduna.
Caroline Wanjihia, the Regional Director of Africa, and International Markets at Bolt, provided insight into Bolt’s footprint across Africa.
“In Africa, we’re in several markets, Nigeria, Ghana, Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa,” but we’ve chosen Nigeria as the first market to launch the Bolt Accelerator program. The program is an economic empowerment initiative run with the Nigerian driver community,” she said.
Latifu Modinatu, the only female driver among the top 10, driving on Bolt in Benin City said, “Words alone cannot express how grateful I am, thank you for the knowledge, the experience, the push, the encouragement, and financial empowerment as a driver-partner. I hope that one day I get to become a fleet partner with Bolt.”
The Co-founder of The Nest, Peter Ogedengbe, commended the entrepreneurial spirit of Bolt drivers who participated in the accelerator program and stated The Nest is committed to supporting startups and entrepreneurs in Africa and beyond.