Producing and inspiring entrepreneurs is not seen as a priority for most universities. Several organisations have introduced promising initiatives. One of such is Techpoint Build whose Techpoint Build 2018 was held in Lagos to expose young innovators to investors.
To experts, entrepreneurship is a boom to a country in a fix on how to employ its growing youth population.
Over the last one decade, Nigeria has witnessed the influx of people who have experience in the tech and startup world moving in to help move the ecosystem forward. One of this is Techpoint Build which held its forum in Lagos. It was for startups, scale-ups, investors, and other innovators and featured thematic events.
Techpoint CEO, Adewale Yusuf said it’s all about helping startups raise money, attract talent, and connect with peers, founders, venture capitalists, corporates, and policy makers. Yusuf said the event was meant to connect entrepreneurs with funding and resources.
He said the event focused on how to impact startups and scale-ups that are working on innovations that make Nigeria a better place.
According to him, the bigger problem for Nigerian startups is securing the funding. He said through the platform, aspiring entrepreneurs and tech startups would be given opportunity to present their business ideas or solutions for market commercialisation.
The day was filled with an exciting programme with inspirational speakers, a pitch session and useful opportunities between (tech) startups, investors, international organisations, developers, and corporates.
Panelists during the session, themed “Keeping a business afloat”, were Go-To- Market Lead at Zoto, Osaze Osoba; Chief Transformation Officer, MTN, Adebayo Adekanmbi; (Developer Community Manager, Flutterwave, Modupe Durosimi-Etti and CEO, Skarabrand, Raymond Umeh. Panelists encouraged startups to contribute to solving challenges.
According to them, offering simple solutions serves as a test case of how young entrepreneurs can contribute to resolving big challenges. As soon as the panel session was over, the first pitch session was conducted. Placements, myPadi and Gerocare,were the service category startups who pitched to judges.
The judges included: Chief Executive, Vconnect, Depankar Rustagi; a Senior Executive at MTN, Olanike Jagun; and Founder, Microtraction, Yele Bademosi).
On the pitch side, The Footwear Academy, Wemove and Legitcar, were startups under the productivity category that tried to win the new set of judges over. After thorough consideration by a jury, the winner was Placements, an Internship classified site. It went home with N1 million. Founded last year, Placements is a platform that allows job seekers find paid internship opportunities across Nigeria. During the selection before the forum, 165 entries were shortlisted. Out of this, nine start-ups emerged to compete for the prize money.
Placements slugged it out with eight others which included Footwear Academy, service platform for training people in footwear making; Legitcar, an online platform which makes stolen vehicles difficult to resell, and easy to recover; Wemove, a startup building technology solutions, to ease transportation in Nigeria, starting with vehicle hire; and Accounteer, a smart cloud accounting platform for SMEs.
Others were SmartTeller, a mobile and web application designed to innovate and automate field operations for microfinance institutions; myPadi, a marketplace for college students and young professionals to access both on-campus and off-campus local houses and shared rooms in every city across Nigeria; and Gerocare, a platform that provides regular medical doctor visits to the elderly in the comfort of their home as a subscription service. Top exhibitors included Union Bank, Nokia, Farmcrowdy, Flexisaf, Cloud Cover, Teamapt, Thank U and iROKO.