The Unicaf Entrepreneurship Awards celebrate innovation and vision in Nigerian start-ups

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The Unicaf Entrepreneurship Awards Ceremony was held at the Best Western Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on the 12th of December.

Attending award recipients, students, graduates and partners of Unicaf as well as members of the press, enjoyed an afternoon full of positive emotions, pride of achievement and live entertainment.

The Unicaf Entrepreneurship Awards were the culmination of the online Entrepreneurship Summit ‘Building a Successful Business in Nigeria’, one of the biggest virtual conferences on entrepreneurship and innovation in Nigeria, with over 4,000 attendees.

The Summit was organised by Unicaf in collaboration with the Lagos State Employment Fund (LSTEF) and the Nigerian British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC). Top executives from leading Nigerian corporations provided inspiration, guidance and valuable advice, from gaining access to seed funding and resources, to turning ideas into successful and sustainable businesses.

During the Summit, Unicaf called for the submission of business proposals for the Unicaf Entrepreneurship Awards. The Summit and the Entrepreneurship Awards show Unicaf’s commitment, as an internationally recognised provider of affordable and accessible quality higher education, to helping raise educational and professional standards in the countries it serves.

Speaking at the Awards Ceremony, the LSETF representative, Mr Hakeem Onasanya, acknowledged Unicaf for contributing to the educational, economic, and sustainable development of local communities globally, through the provision of accessible higher education programmes, focused on developing professional skills.

Mr Onasanya stated: ‘The work that Unicaf is doing is very important because of the devastating economic effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has left millions of our youths out of jobs…. we have more Nigerians working for global organisations now …. But, while such jobs are on the increase, how many of our youths can take up those jobs?

“That is why we should put our hands together for Unicaf, ensuring that our youths have the opportunity to be up-skilled … so that they can take on those jobs…. LSETF is glad to be a partner because what Unicaf does keys into the vision of creating an enabling environment that reduces two things: unemployment and unemployability.’

In a written statement, read during the Ceremony, the Director General of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce Mrs Ayomide Olajide commended Unicaf for the tremendous educational opportunities it provides to organisations and individuals. Mrs Olajide emphasised Unicaf’s contribution to the academic and educational development of Nigeria, and expressed the Chamber’s intention to work even more closely with Unicaf in the coming years.

The three top finalists of the Unicaf Entrepreneurship Awards are:

Peter Daniel and his business proposal ‘Pacioli, which won the first prize comprised of a cheque for $1,000 and a 100% full Unicaf University Scholarship. Pacioli created a Digital Lending Tool for MFIs which has almost completely automated the account reconciliation and customer onboarding process.

Favour Adeleke’s business proposal ‘Qiqi Farms’ received the second prize of $500 in cash and an 85% Unicaf University Scholarship. The start-up company uses technology to scale-up the production of local and organic food, providing Africans with more accessible and affordable nutritional meals.

The third prize of $250 in cash and an 85% Unicaf University Scholarship went to Adeyemo Blessing for her business proposal ‘Korshe Africa’, an online learning marketplace, that aims to enable unemployed youths to access new skills, learn remotely and start their own businesses.

Seven more start-ups completed the group of finalists and were awarded 80%% Unicaf University Scholarships. They are: LUSH TOMATOES, an agro-processing industry, focusing on the production of value added tomato products at affordable prices GOBIO WASTE MANAGEMENT & RENEWABLE ENERGY LTD, a technology driven start-up, using mobile apps to reach out to Nigerians and collect waste materials from their doorsteps, to recycle them into biogas. UDAA LEGAL SERVICES, a digital law firm, providing quality and affordable legal services through digital platforms, offering unique subscription services through a mobile App or USSD code.JIJ JEWELLERY STORE, a state-of-the- art online jewellery store offering unique and exquisite products.FLOURISH-SAMUCH UNIFIED COMPANY, a food processing industry, focusing on solving the problem of hunger and malnutrition in children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years in Nigeria. H & H HEALTHY CHOPS, producing packaged and processed food for all, including individuals with dietary restrictions like diabetics, with the vision to making healthy food convenient and affordable. NWACHEX FARM, a poultry production unit focusing on high standards of hygiene in the production process, starting from soil fertility, research and development.

The Unicaf Entrepreneurship Awards judging committee, comprised of professionals with solid business and academic backgrounds, expressed great satisfaction for the number of highly innovative business proposals submitted. All business proposals were evaluated based on five criteria: the idea, the conceptualisation, the technology involved, the implementation of the proposal and the expected business benefits.

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