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23 Startup founders graduate from Founder Institute Lagos Cohort II

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Founder Institute Lagos Cohort 1
  • As applications for Cohort III open

The Lagos chapter of the world’s largest pre-seed start-up accelerator, Founder Institute, recently celebrated the 23 founders who successfully completed Cohort II, in an online version of their Velocity event themed “Winning in Uncertain Times”.

Despite the world practically coming to a halt due to the coronavirus, the mentors and founders at Founder Institute Lagos were able to successfully navigate the hurdles together and out of the 46 that started the journey, 23 founders were able to meet the requirements for graduation.

Velocity is a celebratory event of the Founder Institute Lagos held at the end of every Cohort to honour founders that successfully scaled through the rigorous 14 week FI program which helps them build their ideas into successful businesses.

For the first time, due to current realities, the program was held online and temporarily renamed Velocity_mini, and had experienced speakers from across the world who shared deeply on how best founders can grow their start-ups, even at a time when some companies and markets are struggling due to COVID-19.

Speakers at Velocity_mini included Prof. Ndubuisi Ekekwe – Founder, Fasmicro; Kola Aina – Founding Partner, Ventures Platform; Jane Egerton-Idehen – Country Manager/Regional Sales Director, Avanti; Tosin Faniro-Dada, Head Start-ups, LSETF; and Simon Turner, Lead Director, FI Accra.

The event was flagged by the Lead Director of Founder Institute Lagos, Ayowande Adalemo, who shared what the Founder Institute pre-seed program is and how it varies from most other global programs based on its target of developing idea-stage founders as well as its system of creating a support network of experienced startup and ecosystem leaders as mentors.

He further explained that founders that plug into the FI system benefit extensively from a suite of resources as well as a highly engaged global network “You can come into the system with a loosely formed idea but after the 14 weeks, you will be graduating as a CEO with a company that can go global and a network that money cannot buy”, Ayowande stressed.

Keynote speaker, Ndubuisi Ekekwe of Fasmicro, advised founders on how to go about strategically raising funds.

Ekekwe said “Companies need to identify frictions in the market and leverage these to create value in the form of products and services. It is not about the sophistication of the solution, it is about easing the frictions in the market. Money follows value and the market will congregate where value is perceived. When you create value, raising funds is no longer a one-way street because as you are looking for the funds, the funds would also be looking for you”.

Kola Aina of Ventures Platform, who was a guest speaker, spoke on why now is the time for founders to start building their businesses but pointed out that there is a difference between ‘Product-market fit’ and ‘COVID-market fit’.

Kola Aina

Kola Aina speaking during Velocity_Mini

“Some solutions are time-sensitive and while they should be pursued, founders should be simultaneously planning long-term to create real product-market fit with products that would outlive the opportunities that have been created by COVID-19. This is actually the best time to create and scale your company”, Kola stressed.

The highlight of the event was the pitching session that saw a few of the founders from the graduating cohort; Steve Dakayi-Kamga of Betastore, Amede Achingale of Fortvest 360 Solutions, Ugochi Nwokeji of DBTclean, Titilope Adewusi of 9jakids, Tope Alake of cast.i.ng and Ayo Dawodu of Loystar, all pitch to an audience of mentors, directors and potential funders.

Stanbic IBTC Founder Institute Lagos is now accepting applications for Cohort III via this LINK.

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Phillips Consulting to empower entrepreneurs, startups with new Micro Courses

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Philips Consulting
Managing Director of Philips Consulting, Rob Taiwo

The Managing Director of Philips Consulting, Rob Taiwo has stated that the democratization of learning is fast merging with an increasingly globalised workforce, and the future would belong to those who can learn at pace and deliver a unique set of skills, from anywhere and to anyone.

Phillips Consulting “PCL” Logo

Mr. Taiwo stated this at the launch of the Virtual Instructor-Led Training (V.I.L.T) platform tagged Micro Courses, launched in Lagos recently.

According to him, “With a mission to drive the future of work in corporate Nigeria by democratizing learning, Philips Consulting has launched a bouquet of services designed to help individuals, teams, and corporates prepare for the necessary change.”

He said, “They include tools that motivate people to thrive in the workplace, whilst learning about emerging technologies of the future.  Our micro course platform was recently launched to cater to the different categories of learners in Nigeria to upskill the employed, create more employable youth, and drive national growth and business sustainability.”

Speaking at the launch, the managing director said that there is a huge window of opportunity to understand, manage and transition into this new future that will lead the fourth industrial revolution in Nigeria. Preparing for this requires a high level of agility and responsiveness, as well as timely and deliberate actions to drive businesses forward. You must adapt and continuously innovate. Here are a few pointers that will shape our new working realities, he stated.

People need to be inspired to work in the future of work, he added.  “This future is driven by a gig-economy where everyone can figure things out in a few clicks, posts, or tweets. This economy has radically reshaped the labour market, and because of this, talent is less inspired to remain committed to formal employment. The core areas of focus for employees should be the employee experience, flexible modes of work, innovative engagement, and a virtuous well-being cycle.”

According to him, people need to know “how to work” in the “future of work”. Working in a new revolution with a multigenerational workforce requires higher technical, social, cognitive, emotional, and adaptive skills. The most critical of them is the need to unlearn, learn and iterate on the fly.

“Hybrid leaders are in higher demand than ever to tackle new and undiscovered problems. The top skills needed for this New Normal must be accessible to anyone who seeks to thrive. Therefore, people from all backgrounds and demographic must take a new approach to continuous, bite-sized, scalable, and accessible virtual-enabled learning that equips them with these new skills,” he enthused.

Mr. Taiwo said, “Nigeria was 6th in the world for the highest number of internet users in Q1 of 2020, this clearly demonstrates that when provided with the opportunity, the ability of the average Nigerian to harness technology is beyond contestation, but such endeavour must be geared towards using digital learning to up-skill our workforce and empower entrepreneurs and startups”.

Speaking on the new innovation, the Programme Lead, Innovation & Investment at Philips Consulting, Fikunayomi Aluko, said, “The mass equipping of young Nigerians with relevant and high-demand workplace skillsets will not only guarantee a bright future for the youth but a great future for the Nigerian economy.”

He said, “Businesses need to embrace accelerated digitalisation: Artificial intelligence, automation and the Internet of Things have powered the greatest changes in this new world of work. While the digital transformation has created a skill shift, made processes more seamless and redefined the expectations of employees towards work, it has also led to process complexities, cultural change, and corporate disruption,” he added.

However, the Head of Training at pcl. Nwaji Jibunoh said, “Given the complexities of the Nigerian environment, our services offer an opportunity for people from all walks of life to quickly develop themselves with skills that shall prepare them for the future. These services are affordable, easily accessible and delivered by highly experienced individuals.”

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Konga’s monthly loss reduced from N400m to N100m in 2 years – CEO

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Konga
Konga (offline) retail store

Konga.com’s books indicated a N400m monthly loss, but with new systems, structure and energy put in place, the numbers have gradually been reducing, the CEO, Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, has disclosed.

Prince Nnamdi who spoke while appearing on Kaleidoscope, an interview programme aired on Channels TV, he said that eCommerce is an expensive project but we are best positioned to deliver as a very innovative technology company,’’ he disclosed.

He also disclosed that Konga has invested well over $120m since it was acquired two years ago in Nigeria alone and now strategically structured to take on other African countries.

In his words; ‘‘Though we started with a monthly loss of N400m, but with new systems, structure and energy put in place, we have gradually been reducing losses and now about N100m loss per month. E-Commerce is an expensive project but we are best positioned to deliver as a very innovative technology company,’’ he disclosed.

Equally important, Prince Ekeh made the disclosure on Kaleidoscope, an interview programme aired on Channels TV on Sunday, August 2nd, 2020.

The young business leader, who described Konga as a technology company revealed that Konga employs directly and indirectly over 150,000 Nigerians. Most of them are merchants, logistics and other service providers.

‘‘We partner to create a trusted and sustainable digitally-driven ecosystem and working hard to scale this to about 250,000 before the end of 2020.

‘‘We see ourselves as more than just an e-Commerce company. Konga is a technology company and as a technology company, we are positioned to leverage that status in deploying new solutions and innovations. Indeed, no one should be surprised if tomorrow, Konga starts launching space ships into orbit. Although we have received several offers from interested investors, we are content with the group that is currently funding Konga. The group is highly ethical and want us to maintain the highest level of integrity. Our investors have assured us of enough capital to survive the next five years at least. This was why we did not accommodate a valuation of $300m from a consortium of global investors last year. 

‘‘However, we are also keen to expand into other African markets after taking charge of the Nigerian market. The e-Commerce market in African is still a largely untapped one. Therefore, any company that makes the right in-roads will reap huge benefits from it,’’ he said.

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LSETF relaunches Idea Hub for tech startups

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Idea Hub
Executive Secretary/CEO, LSETF, Mrs. Teju Abisoye

In line with its mandate to provide entrepreneurship solutions, training, and upskilling opportunities to innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Lagos tech ecosystem, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has re-designed the Idea Hub Programme, under its Lagos Innovates Programme

 

The Lagos Innovates Idea Hub Programme is a 12-week incubation programme designed to support tech-enabled businesses with relevant skills, networking opportunities and mentorship from seasoned industry experts; geared towards building a competitive and sustainable brand.

 

It is expected that the programme would afford budding entrepreneurs with tech solution with the necessary leverage to grow their ideas.

 

The benefits include business incubation and coaching by Lagos Innovates experienced and seasoned Mentors; an opportunity to pitch for Lagos Innovates Workspace Vouchers for 6 or 12 months (valued between ₦120,000 – ₦1,800,000); and access to Lagos Innovates network including Government, corporates, start-ups, local and international investors, etc.

 

In her remarks on the initiative, the Executive Secretary/CEO, LSETF, Mrs. Teju Abisoye said; “The Lagos Innovates Idea Hub is a programme under one of our delivery mechanism tagged Tech Start-ups (Lagos Innovates), primarily responsible for cementing Lagos’ position as the leading destination for tech and innovation in Africa. With the recent global economic challenges due to the pandemic, we believe technology will be critical in proffering recovery and adaptive solutions as the world embraces the new normal.

 

“I am confident that with the Idea Hub initiative providing the institutional support, our young innovators in Lagos would be able to pivot toward this paradigm. We encourage growing entrepreneurs in the digital and tech space to take advantage of this programme to create compelling solutions that would accelerate the Lagos economic, business and lifestyle recovery trajectory”, she added.

 

Some of the seasoned mentors and industry experts of the programme are Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, Founder,~We-Cyclers, and DG, Lagos State Records and Archives; Olu Akanmu, Executive Director Retail Banking, FCMB; Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho, CEO, Future Software Resources Ltd; Ponmile Osibo, Partner, Platform Capital; Wale Ajiboye, Associate Director, Acumen; Oluwatoyin Oshinowo, Co-founder and VP Product, Field Insights; Dr Olanrewaju Phillips, Enterprise Account Manager, HP, Central Africa, and Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-Founder and COO, Piggyvest.

 

Other mentors are Olutosin Oni, Principal, Echo VC; Damilola Thompson, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Echo VC; Oluwatoyin Emmanuel-Olubake, Associate Director of Portfolio, Acumen; Dayo Kolewole, Partner Microtraction, and Simeon Ononobi, Co-founder/CEO, Thank U Cash.

 

Interested applicants must run an early-stage start-up with viable and solution-driven ideas; technology must be the core or the enabler of the enterprise, and the founder must reside in Lagos State.

How to APPLY

Applicants should visit Here to apply before the deadline date, Sunday 16th August 2020.

 

What you should know Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)

 

Established in 2016, LSETF‘s vision is to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to reduce unemployment in Lagos State.

LSETF focuses on promoting entrepreneurship by improving access to finance, strengthening the institutional capacity of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), formulating policies and actively intervening to improve the business environment. The Fund also trains and places unemployed Lagos residents in jobs, while driving innovation within the Lagos ecosystem. 

 

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