Three Nigerian entrepreneurs have emerged winner of #Nairametrics N1 million Challenge after impressing investors with innovative business pitches.
The winners of the pitch contest – May Coutures, Ubanleather, and Astrea won a cumulatively cash price of N1.8 million, securing the first, first-runner up, and second-runner up positions, respectively
May Coutures clinched the top spot and received a substantial prize of N1 million, while Ubanleather secured the first-runner up position with a prize of N500,000. Astrea emerged as the second-runner up, taking home N250,000.
The pitch contest, sponsored by Shekel Mobility, Tingo Mobile, and Grand Exploits, among others, aimed to support small businesses amid Nigeria’s challenging economic landscape.
Speaking at the event, Ogieva Imasuen, head of platform growth at Nairametrics, highlighted the significance of this initiative, stating, “This is our first major giveaway to support startups.”
“Obviously, in recent times, Nigeria’s business landscape has been very difficult, with high exchange rates and increasing costs of operations; this our way of giving back to businesses and startups.”
Imasuen also emphasised the ongoing commitment of Nairametrics to financial literacy and SME support, suggesting that more such initiatives are on the horizon.
“Our motive for doing this is to continue to provide financial literacy and support for SMEs,” he said. “We’re looking to do more.”
The criteria for selecting winners in the pitch contest were comprehensive. Judges evaluated factors such as the clarity of the business idea, uniqueness and innovation, market potential, market research, understanding of the target market, competitor analysis, strategy, viability, financial projections, social impact, innovation, team expertise, presentation, and communication.
“The first-place winner received N1 million and a two-night stay at a luxury hotel in Lagos, courtesy of Grand Exploits,” he said.
“While the first-runner up was awarded N500,000. The second-runner received N250,000.
Temitayo Oluyege, the founder and creative director of May Coutures who won the competition, expressed her gratitude for the support.
“I’m so grateful. This is just another proof that what we are doing is recognized by people, organizations, and we do not take it for granted.”
Oluyege also shared her aspirations for the future, stating, “We’re going to invest this money into our ‘ready to wear collections’ so that we can export.”
“Some percentage will go into marketing, we want people to know what we are doing, that something good can come out of Nigerian fashion, and we want Nigerian fashion to be rocked globally.”
Also at the event, Chris Pemu, general manager, Nairametrics, emphasised the importance of supporting startups and providing them with exposure. “We have a lot of people that write about startups, but they don’t do the practical aspect of it,” he noted.
Pemu encouraged entrepreneurs to continue showcasing their businesses and products, underscoring that Nairametrics is committed to promoting and showcasing their ventures on various platforms.
Furthermore, Olukanmi Sanmi, co-founder and CEO of Shekel Mobility, speaking to BusinessDay, explained their sponsorship, saying, “We like to build the African startup space, help them solve real-life problems Nigerians face, and invest in young founders to solve these problems.”
Isoken Obi-Chukwu, CEO, Grand Exploits Ltd, highlighted their support for the event, which included providing a two-night stay at a luxury hotel for the winner. She also advised entrepreneurs to cut costs, seek returns on investment, and work smart.
The pitch contest serves as a testament to the resilience and innovation of Nigerian entrepreneurs and offers a glimmer of hope in the challenging business environment.
It’s a testament to the power of support and collaboration in propelling small businesses forward in Africa’s largest economy.