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Alibaba Founder Launches $10M African Entrepreneur Fund

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Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has launched the Netpreneur Prize, which will allocate a total of US$10 million to 100 African entrepreneurs during the course of the next ten years.
The prize, which will “support and fund African entrepreneurs who are working to address Africa’s most important challenges and further its digital economy through local entrepreneurship,” according to a press release issued by the Foundation, was officially launched on August 8 at the “Netpreneurs: The Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions” conference in Johannesburg.

Starting next year, the Jack Ma Foundation will host an annual pitch competition, with ten finalists selected to “showcase their talent and business ideas and compete for $1 Million in prize money.” All ten finalists will receive grant funding as well as “access to the Netpreneur community of African business leaders to leverage the community’s shared expertise, best practices and resources.”
Applications can be made starting January 15, 2019, and the deadline for submitting applications is April 15. There will then be a process of selecting regional shortlists: Five regional events to choose the ten finalists will take place in July and August 2019. The “Grand Prize Event” will be held at some time in the latter months of next year. The process will be managed by business incubator Nailab and other regional partners.

Applicants must be “young entrepreneurs,” their business must be registered in the country of operation in Africa, and the company’s founders must be “African nationals from any of the 54 African countries.” While the competition will be “open to entrepreneurs in all industries, Mr. Ma expects many of the applicants to be founders of businesses that are internet-driven given the open and inclusive impact technology can have on local economies.”
Ma stated: “As a fellow entrepreneur, I understand the importance of getting support during the early days. This prize demonstrates our support of the next generation of young entrepreneurs across Africa who are paving the way for a better future and imparting positive change in their communities. I am inspired and encouraged by these entrepreneurs who, together, will help build a sustainable, inclusive economy for Africa and for the world.”
The Netpreneur Prize is the second initiative launched by Ma to support African entrepreneurs. Last year, Alibaba Business School and UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) announced the eFounders Fellowship Initiative, a program that will train 1,000 entrepreneurs from emerging markets, 200 of whom will come from Africa, with the purpose of building a community of young entrepreneurs committed to creating digital platforms to build more inclusive economies. This program supports the aims of the UN Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring no one is left behind in the digital economy. To date, 52 African entrepreneurs have participated in this two-week fellowship at Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China. Participants make a two-year commitment to improving society through their businesses.
According to the press release, since completing the program, “many graduates have made significant progress with their businesses and become catalysts for digital transformation in their home countries, including raising rounds of investment as well as launching their own training programs.”


— Ray Le Maistre

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Nigeria central bank says working on ‘equitable resolution’ of MTN funds claim

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The Central Bank of Nigeria said it’s working on an “equitable resolution” of its claim against four banks and mobile operator MTN Nigeria of USD 8 billion in illegally expatriated funds. In a statement, the central bank said it is reviewing additional information received from the banks and MTN with a view to reaching a settlement.
In August, the Central Bank ordered Citigroup, Standard Chartered, Stanbic IBTC Holdings and Diamond Bank to refund more than USD 8 billion it says was illegally expatriated by MTN Group over the eight years to 2015. MTN was also ordered to participate in the refund.
MTN has denied any improper action. The company said it received a letter on 29 August from the CBN, alleging that Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) issued in respect of the conversion of shareholders loans in MTN Nigeria to preference shares in 2007 had been improperly issued. As a consequence, it claims that historic dividends repatriated by MTN Nigeria between 2007 and 2015 amounting to USD 8.1 billion need to be refunded to the CBN.
In its latest statement, the central bank said the “recent sanctions on the banks arose due to irregularities with respect to repatriations made on behalf of MTN Nigeria Limited and were not in any way designed to restrict access to investor returns.” The bank added that “the integrity of the CCI regime remains sacrosanct and there shall be no retroactive application of foreign exchange rules and regulations.”

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Meet Stacy Ewah — Reducing Waste & Helping Nigeria’s Poor with Her Social Enterprise

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A country of more than 150 million and at least 350 diverse ethnicity, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation with Abuja being it’s most happening and modern city. Like every other major metropolis of the world, Abuja thrives with bustling activity, tourism, and cultural activities. Modern skyscrapers, purpose-built infrastructure, and a modernistic living approach attempts to define Abuja as a successful, developed city but like every other modern city — Abuja has its fair share of a poverty-stricken population that has largely been ignored by the city’s powerful and rich.
To fill this gap and help the city’s poor by using the help of the city’s rich, Stacy Ewah initiated a social enterprise by the name of ‘Charity Bank,’ a not for profit organization whose primary mandate was to promote the reuse as well as reduction of waste. This is her story.

Name: Stacy Ewah
Business: Charity Bank
Please tell us about yourself and your entrepreneurship journey.
I am a Nigerian, currently residing in the nation’s capital — Abuja. I am a social innovation enthusiast and advocate for global goals. I have a background in computer science and information technology and have worked with technology hubs for the past 4 years. It was while working with various tech hubs that I met my co-founder, and initiated a non-conventional social entrepreneurship project where people with low or no income were provided with items they need regularly. — Stacy Ewah

What prompted you to start Charity Bank?
In Nigeria, there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor. This is very evident in the way these two groups of people live. Therefore, in a land of so many lacks, there is still a lot of wastage. We wanted to reduce that.
This desire prompted us to start Charity Bank, a not for profit organisation which primary mandate was to promote reuse and reduce waste while also being a go-to place for local NGO’s to get access to items for their wards.
The organisation started in December last year and we had our pilot event called the Charity Exchange Fair in February this year. The event which holds every 2 months has happened twice already with the third one held last Saturday, 23rd of June 2018.
We have been able to reach over 100 people so far and we hope to do more.- Stacy Ewah

What is currently one of your most significant challenges?
One of our major challenge is the storage of items we receive before dispatch, as we are fairly new and we have no space or storage unit yet. We also have the challenge of publicizing our events, so far, our best means is through word of mouth and that isn’t as effective as we would have liked.
Finally, there is the issue of funding; we have goals we would like to achieve which will make donating and receiving items easy for all stakeholders and also funding to host our exchange fairs. — Stacy Ewah

What kind of help would you like from Woomentum?
For now, we would like to have some help in knowing about accounting and how to manage as well as sustain a not for profit organization. — Stacy Ewah

Any achievements that you are particularly proud of?
Well, we are just glad we were able to start the organisation against all odds. And that so far, we have been able to help at least 10 local charity organisations get items for their wards. — Stacy Ewah

Key takeaways from Stacy’s experience
1. Determination is the starting point of any entrepreneurship journey. There will be challenges and hindrances along the way, but if you are determined to overcome them and believe in your cause, you will be able to make the needed dent in the universe!
2. Word-of-mouth marketing, is no longer as effective as it was in the past. A better strategy would be digital marketing or social media marketing. In fact, amplifying advertising on social media can greatly help a not-for-profit organization to achieve their goals of public awareness.
3. A network, a community or even a co-working space can connect you with the right people who will be instrumental in helping you on your journey. Like Stacy, you may meet a co-founder who would be equally passionate about your dream and visions.
Stacy’s pursuit though noble is filled with the challenges expected of a not-for-profit organization. The good thing is, Stacy is not alone. Our community is a hub for entrepreneurs who are supportive and understand the plight of managing a new business.


Farah Kim
A passionate storyteller, I believe that words have the power to shape cultures and drive societies towards progressive change.

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Air Peace expands network with 10 additional 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing

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Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Nigeria´s Air Peace of Nigeria has announced a new order for ten 737 MAX 8 airplanes from Boeing (NYSE: BA) to expand regional network in Africa, the company said.
Air Peace already operates Boeing 737s between major cities in Central and West Africa. The airline, which recently added Boeing 777s to its fleet, is looking to soon launch its international flight operations.
The 737 MAX 8 is part of a family of airplanes that offer 130 to 230 seats and the ability to fly up to 3,850 nautical miles (7,130 kilometers). With improvements such as the CFM International LEAP-1B engine and Advanced Technology winglets, the 737 MAX will help Air Peace save more than 20 percent on fuel costs compared to its current single-aisle airplanes.
The 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating more than 4,700 orders from 102 customers worldwide.

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SETTING STANDARDS FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

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“Organizations cannot experience sustained growth until they make set of standards to guide their operations”
Most small businesses are run in an informal manner regardless of the number of years, how much they have grown or the number of resources invested in them. Inasmuch as it is normal most organizations set their vision to become №1 in their industry and grow their businesses through the ranks from a brick and mortar business to a medium sized organization or conglomerate, it should be considered that only systems make organizations to serve the different the kind of people that come into it, and this is not to resent individuals with great talent who make immense contribution to delivering value in these organizations but that the organization takes the discipline to put a system in place and refine it as they grow, this compels team members to share in this generally accepted standard that the organization is trying to put in place. A number of processes are examined to fine tune what is expected in an ideal organization.
1. Receiving and Answering Calls
Imagine an organization where there is no procedure for answering and receiving calls, without initiative on the part of the handler of the device, it appears to anyone like a chit chat which from a distance can be observed by the person at the other end. A recommendation that provides flexibility is as follows:

Good afternoon Sir/Ma,
I am XYZ, the customer centre head
How may I help you?

The outline here for calls is to accord the client or prospect with the a level of respect regardless of their age and only call them by their name if they only ask to be called by their nomenclature. While all the information that is being requested by a customer may not be available at hand while the call is ongoing, it is important to let them know, that you would return the call when you gathered further information, in other to prevention informing the customer wrongly and misrepresenting the organization.
2. Choosing a font style and size in every document
An organization has to be seen as one with whoever it is having business dealings with, and one way to show uniformity is in the preparation of documents that are either for use within the organization or one to be sent out
Font Size: Corbel
Font size: 12
Line spacing: Double line spacing

3. Document format
Some documents are sent out in an editable format and because these can easily get exposed to virus, might make the client go through the stress of getting to open the said file. A PDF (Portable Digital Format) document is what is recommended as it doesn’t lose it authenticity from whichever platform it is sent online.
These set of operating procedures as simple as they are can save an organization from acting randomly and bring about cohesion and a sense of accountability in following such principles.


Emmanuel Otori is a Corporate Trainer, SME Consultant and Startup Advisor. He can be reached via emmanuelotori5@gmail.com

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Investment in Nigeria:Exhibition to showcase the advantages of putting money into the great African nation

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OPPORTUNITIES: ‘The Best of Nigeria Investment Exhibition is only the tip of the iceberg of what NIG does’

NIGERIA WILL come under the microscope when the Best of Nigeria Investment Exhibition (BONIE) takes place at ExCeL London on October 3-4.
Stanley Osuide, CEO of Nigeria Investment Gateway Limited (NIG), said: “I am so privileged to serve as the CEO of NIG and my vision for the organisation is to see it play an integral role in placing Nigeria and all the fantastic opportunities she has to offer in front of investors; so they can make informed decision on investing in what I believe are fantastic investment opportunities.”
Osuide attested NIG can play a significant role in ensuring the great African nation is given every opportunity to showcase the pool of talent in its vast population; the enormous untapped mineral resources hidden in fantastic locations; the unrivalled produce from rich landscapes and the diversity of its people that can only be a positive force in driving Nigeria’s development and growth.
He said the goal of NIG is simple: in five to 10 years, Nigeria won’t be ignored when investors are discussing projects or countries where return on investment is one of the highest in the world.
INTEGRITY
He said he will continue to work tirelessly with partners to ensure integrity permeates every fibre of the organisation and what it stands for.
“NIG currently has a portfolio of over US $500 million (£384m) from our investing partners and is inviting Nigerian-owned SMEs and entrepreneurs to provide bankable projects for investors,” he added.
Osuide promises investors and businesses integrity and trust, with partners’ interests put first. He pledged to “always be transparent at all stages of our dealings with our trusted partners” and invites investors and partners to work with NIG to collaborate and achieve mutual goals.
“The Best of Nigeria Investment Exhibition is only the tip of the iceberg of what NIG does,” he noted.
The massive investment opportunities that exist within Nigeria are clear, highlighted by the growing interest of European countries to engage with the Nigerian economy post-Brexit – as evidenced by recent visits from Theresa May, France’s Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
To gain more insight on Investment Opportunities and to understand why there is the surge in interest by world leaders to invest in Nigeria, you are invited to attend the Best of Nigeria Investment Exhibition. Exhibitors and sponsors will have access to investors and ‘Deal Rooms’, so book your exhibitor space(s) now.
The exhibition will promote the new “Ease of Business” policies proposed by the Federal Government, where last year Nigeria scaled up 24 points in the Ease of Doing Business Index, and is a must-attend event for public and private organisations, eager to showcase their products and services to the global market.
WHO WILL ATTEND?
1. His Excellency, The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo
2. The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita
3. Nigeria’s High Commissioner to UK, HE Ambassador George Adesola Oguntade, CFR, CON
4. Governor of Lagos State, HE Akinwunmi Ambode
5. The Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu
6. The Honourable Minister of State for Mines and Steel, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari
7. The Honourable Minister of State for Industry, Trade & Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar
8. CEO, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms Yewande Sadiku
9. AG CEO, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Engr. Chidi Izuwah Snr …and many more!


To register for BONIE,email info@ bestofnigeria.org, or call 020 3086 8187 or 07898 76 0334.

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Facebook selects 15 Nigerian teams for its FbStart Accelerator

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Facebook has selected 15 teams from Nigeria to participate in its FbStart Accelerator, which will be held in partnership with Nigeria’s Co-Creation Hub (CcHub).

Samuel Odeloye, Team Lead at Lara.ng

The 15 teams include:
Plant Doctor, an application that uses AI to diagnose plant diseases and suggest solutions to farmers and Agric extension workers.
Lara.ng, a chatbot for public transit directions in Nigeria and other developing countries.
Chiniki Guard, a monitoring, analysis and reporting software for security cameras. Chiniki uses AI to estimate human poses and detect suspicions like shoplifting and theft in retail stores.
DeepStack, a suite of Dockerized AI server software that enables developers to easily build, deploy and manage AI powered applications on their private servers and edge IoT gateways.
Say Peace, an AI-powered tool for monitoring hate speech on social media in real-time to predict possible occurrence of violence.
Insyt, a sentiment analysis software that provides businesses with a means to improve customer satisfaction via opinion mining in local languages
GRICD Agroservices, an affordable and efficient IoT-powered storage device that complements existing storage medium to extend the shelf life of tomatoes.
Smart Electricity wants to use wireless electricity to power appliances in homes and offices.
TrepLabs built REALDRIP to prevent back flow of blood during drip treatment by monitoring flow rate, volume administered and automating the process.
UpNepa.ng, an IoT-powered analytic platform that monitors, records and predicts electricity supply.
Cycles, a bike-sharing service for short and medium commutes within Nigerian communities.
Quadron Studios, a Virtual Reality safety training solution that prepares enterprise workers for emergency situations by use of immersive virtual training experiences.
Project Move, a VR accessory which significantly improves immersion and interaction in mobile driven VR systems.
Kanji Drive, an immersive driving simulator based in Lagos that teaches users how to drive and be road aware using a GT racing rig set up.
Vetsark, a web-based platform that uses disease report data to predict, prevent and manage disease outbreaks, for the benefit of livestock farmers, vetinarians and public health.
Six of the teams are building Artificial Intelligence-based solutions, five are focused on Internet of Things (IoT), three are using Virtual Reality, and one is focused on data science.
Each startup team will receive US$20,000, while students teams will receive between US$5,000 and US$15,000 depending on their level of education.
The FbStart Accelerator, a research and mentorship driven six-month programme, will take place at Facebook’s new NG-Hub at the CcHub, and will provide the 15 teams with technical and business support needed to build and optimise value-driven products for growth.

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List of accelerators / incubators / startups programs in Nigeria

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Apart from offering seed funds and office spaces, incubator or accelerator programs are one of the ways of meeting more investors. Some accelerators organize Demo Day presentation, where startup founders pitch in front of an audience of investors. This serves as a platform to know about your business and show interest in your product/service.
Here is a list of accelerators/incubators in Nigeria:

CcHub

Founded in 2010, Co-creation Hub (CcHub) is Nigeria’s first open living lab, pre-incubation and incubation space designed to be a multi-functional, multi-purpose space where work to catalyze creative social tech ventures take place. In the last 7 years, CcHUB has supported the growth of a community that is passionate about using technology to solve local problems and transform Nigeria. One of the ways this is achieved is through their incubation program, where startups are provided with the resources and support they need to grow their businesses into sustainable companies that employ people and solve local problems. Over ninety (90) ideas and companies have benefited from their support.
Pre — Incubation: It is a 6-month program to support aspiring entrepreneurs to build and launch initial prototypes of their solutions to clearly defined problems in the society. The goal is to validate the idea and product/market fit. The program comes with a cash investment of $5,000, mentoring from the management team and hands-on support from their Product development team.
Incubation: It is a 12-month program targeted at helping ventures with some level of traction and revenue build businesses that can grow into sustainable companies. Funding is $25,000 during the program. Startups will have direct access to follow-on funding of up to $250,000 from growth capital, free office space for the team, free credits for partner products, business support and access to a network of partners and more.
Acceleration: It is a 12-week program designed to help startups refine their products, business model and processes, positioning them for sustained growth.
Location: 294 Herbert Macaulay Way, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos.
Contact: info@cchubnigeria.com
Website: cchubnigeria.com
CcHub has mentored a number of startups which have grown to be really successful. Some of them include Vacant Boards, Wecyclers, 500Shops, and Traclist.

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Wennovation Hub

Wennovation Hub is supposedly the pioneer innovation accelerator in Nigeria since 2011. They offer 5 distinct services to both new and experienced entrepreneurs. Through the organisation, startups gain access to full office support, as well as technical and business mentors. Their focus on social impact sectors are Education, Agriculture, Healthcare and Infrastructure. Wennovation Hub also provides funding, strategy advice, and business consulting services.
Contact: info@wennovationhub.org
Location: 11A Revd Ogunbiyi Street, Ikeja GRA, Lagos
3rd floor, Alpha & Omega Building, Queen Elizabeth Road II, Mokola, Ibadan.
50 Ebitu Ukiwe Street, Jabi, Abuja.
Website: wennovationhub.org
They have supported over 300 startup teams and well over 6000 youths. Startups such as Yarnable, e-Pump, and HutBay.

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Spark

Since its inception, Spark has raised millions of dollars and invested in 13 companies. The incubator offers investments ranging $50,000 to $150,000 and has a track record of helping underdog startups come out on top.
Contact: info@spark.ng
Website: spark.ng
Some of the other startups incubated by Spark include Hotels.ng, ToLet.ng

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Leadpath

Leadpath Nigeria is a seed capital fund that specializes in providing short, medium and long term funding to small and medium sized startups in high growth technology areas such as software, web and mobile technologies.
The average investment ranges from $25,000 to $100,000 for seed investment and several millions of dollars for follow on funding series. In addition to this, they offer office space and hands-on business support to selected startups, in return for 20–40% equity.
Location: 70 Olonode Street, off Hughes Avenue, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos.
Contact: info@leadpath.com.ng
Website: leadpath.com.ng
Their key startups include PushCV, Simer, MediTell.

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440.ng

440 is a joint venture between 88mph and L5Lab, and they focus on investing $1.5 million into early stage tech startups in Nigeria. The 440.ng program consists of 12 weeks of guided product development and customer acquisition support, as well as hands-on training and mentorship. One of the major focuses of the program is the development of market strategies for maintaining the viability of a company.
Website: www.440.ng
The program has provided support for a number of notable companies in its first round of investments, including Gingerbox and FuelVoucher.

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Startpreneurs

Startpreneurs offers a 3-month accelerator program. Their core focus is on Augmented Reality, Data Science, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Geo Spatial Intelligence.
Website: startpreneurs.com.ng
Startpreneurs funded startups like Tiro, Saduwa, WeMuzik

Ventures Platform

Ventures Platform is an early-stage growth focused fund. They support post MVP teams, with a blend of tech, sales, and operations, in growing their startups. They offer $20,000 in investments.
Contact: pitch@venturesplatform.com
Website: www.venturesplatform.com
Location: Ventures Platform, Lagos.

Key startups include Paystack, Mobileforms, Accounteer, Printivo.


Accounteer – Online accounting made for entrepreneurs | Get started for free at http://accounteer.com

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Lessons from Student Leadership: A PAADC Story

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The team during the annual PAADC publicity walk

By Abdulhameed Obileye

A few weeks ago, the grand finale of Professor Ayodele Awojobi Design Competition (PAADC henceforth) held at J. F. Ade Ajayi Auditorium, Univeristy of Lagos with 2,300 people in attendance. The event was the icing on the cake after 12 months of sacrifice from a 20-man planning committee and about 150 volunteers.
PAADC is Nigeria’s largest student-initiated design competition with regards science and technology. It was set up by the University of Lagos Engineering Society to honour the late Prof Ayodele Awojobi, who was a symbol of indigenous innovation as well as to encourage students to solve our societal problems (Kindly visit www.paadc.com).
In late July 2017, I was given the opportunity to chair the planning committee for the 2nd edition. It was a year long position. Perks? Real-time project management experience, student leadership position, and the chance to work with some of the very best minds the university has to offer. Downsides? Major commitment, very time consuming, and a serious burden to my academics, finances and relationships. I jumped at it. We hit the ground running almost immediately.
I want to share a few key lessons I learnt during the execution of this project, especially for student leaders.
1. YOU CANNOT DO IT ALONE
People wonder why PAADC required so large a team to execute. In complete honesty, we needed maybe 5 or 6 people to pull off this project had it been a full-time job. Some of us attended perhaps 80+ meetings in the span of a year. However, the entire planning committee was made up of students. We had teams for graphics & website design, sponsorship/partnership, logistics, quality control, publicity, finance and even administrative functions all as students! This made it a major struggle to deliver on PAADC-induced deadlines, especially as we all had classes, tests, exams, and academic projects to focus on. The big plus for us was a team of people sharing the same passion for a cause, the same vision of where we wanted to be and doing it all for zero compensation whatsoever.

2. AIM BEFORE YOU SHOOT
The aim of PAADC is to solve societal problems with technology as a leverage, irrespective of field or specialization. The main problem with this was when seeking sponsorship. Because we did not have a specific theme, there were no organizations that were naturally affiliated with us. We were chasing everybody for money and support. Individuals, government agencies, banks, professional bodies, start-ups, energy companies, investment firms, FMCGs were all on our list. Even not-for-profit organisations! We quickly ran out of steam. Lesson: It is better to align your organization to a specific cause and give yourself some soft landings when seeking sponsorship/partnership. What is your vision? Who is interested in your cause? What form of sponsorship are you looking for? Cash? Equipment? Expertise? All of these should be well defined from the very beginning. We did get sorted out financially, but it was a battle till the very end. We ended up not paying hall rental fees till about 24 hours to showtime.

3. NOBODY OWES YOU ANYTHING
In one of our meetings with the CEO of a top multinational, he cut our pitch short and said “What can you do for me?” Sure he liked the idea that young people were running around trying to make impact. But no company is a charity. If they support every initiative they like, they will quickly run out of business. This partnership was something we really wanted and it hurt not to get it. But it became apparent that a sponsorship at that moment was not feasible, and we could not offer enough to change their minds. This lesson has stuck with me. Are you offering enough to be a worthy investment?

Cross-section of attendees at the grand finale

4. GET YOUR SKIN IN THE GAME
You need to take ownership of your organization at some point. You need to invest the time, money, and effort to make it grow. If you keep waiting for other people to pick up their end, or on your institution to propose and enforce change, you will be dragged down with your project. Make it personal, be deeply involved. Be punctual to every meeting. Propose every solution. Spend every kobo. Make the hard sacrifices, your team will observe and begin to emulate. In the wise words of Ned Stark, ‘He who passes the sentence should swing the sword.’

Team AlphaJet displaying their medical drone on stage

5. TEAM MANAGEMENT
People management is much more difficult than it seems. The first challenge of course, is picking a team. Young, inexperienced ‘recruiters’ like myself tend to make the mistake of bringing their close friends to every project they are working on. This is especially frustrating when these friends consistently perform below par. During PAADC, we went around it by encouraging more versatile, hardworking performers to pick up the responsibilities of slackers. This created an imbalance, and meant that some people worked/learnt much more than others. Lesson: Do not hire who you cannot fire.
Also, taking criticism is sometimes very difficult, especially when it comes from someone who appears not to have put in much effort into the planning process. But every leader needs to acknowledge when they are wrong, and give other managers the freedom to choose how to deliver on their mandates. Micro-management does not help anybody.
As Essiet Nseghe would say, ‘You do not hire smart people just to tell them what to do. You hire smart people so they advise you on what to do.’

Cross Section

6. IT WILL NOT GO AS PLANNED
It will never go as planned. It will never go as planned. It will never go as planned. There were so many instances this played out. A commercial bank pulled out of an already agreed upon sponsorship deal because their top management did not sign the required papers. I had a disagreement (based on compensation) with the proposed MC few days to the grand finale, and we had to begin the search again. Our DJ on grand finale day arrived 2 hours late. Our printer made a vital error in printing the brochure and we did not realize till after 200 copies were made. Lesson: It will not go as planned. But keep at it, and it will all work out in the end.

The PAADC planning committee and ULES executives

Being a member of the planning committee for PAADC involved more sacrifices than I can express. But I will do it over and over again given the opportunity. I am indeed indebted to all the students with whom I embarked on the journey, and our numerous supporters and volunteers. It was a team effort every step of the way.
I advise you to keep an open mind when opportunity comes calling, and to always put in your very best. Do not bother about what you will lose on the journey, you will arrive your destination having gained much more than previously imagined.
Abdulhameed Obileye
hamidobileye@gmail.com
obileye@paadc.com


Abdulhameed Obileye
‘Youth is wasted on the young.’ -George Bernard Shaw

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Investing in MDaaS

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MDaaS Founding Team L-R: Joe McCord (Supply Chain), Opeyemi Ologun (Country Manager, Nigeria), Genevieve Barnard Oni (CFO), Oluwasoga Oni (CEO)

By Kola Aina

Nigeria’s rapid population growth and low median age are often touted as positive indicators, but infrastructural development has not kept pace.
Healthcare, for example, often works like the electricity grid; established systems fail, then we sigh, settle to “manage it like that” or find personal workarounds. This is merely an inconvenience for those who can afford it, but most people can’t, and it can mean the difference between life and death.
Last year, a childhood friend had to travel four hours from Abuja to Zaria, sometimes twice a week with his two-month old son who had a hole in his heart. Some days, they would arrive at the hospital in the middle of a power cut. Sometimes, the radiologist would be out of office. No parent should have to endure the emotional and financial strain that experience brought.


Thankfully, today the boy is okay, but this is not a special case. Across the country, and indeed in much of Africa — especially in low-income areas, access to radiology, cardiology, and other diagnostic services is poor. Where facilities are available, they are expensive to access; where prices are low, the wait times are unbearable. Healthcare spend is low (only 4.6% of GDP, compared to 11.9% in Sweden), and driven by the private sector (only 1.5% of federal government expenditure), with most consumers paying out of pocket.
The result is that diagnostic centers are clustered around urban areas, where the cost of equipment will be recouped faster. It is not uncommon to see people travel for hours to do basic tests. At the same time, according to WHO, non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease will cause 46% of all deaths in Africa by 2020, up from 25% today.
So, when we first met Oluwasoga Oni in March, we paid attention. He saw these issues first hand at his father’s hospital growing up, and today, his company, MDaaS.io, is building a network of tech-enabled diagnostic and primary healthcare facilities for clinically underserved communities in Africa, starting with Nigeria. By introducing software, being smarter about process design, investing heavily in an integrated supply chain, and sharing resources across locations, MDaaS has significantly dropped the cost of setting up and operating each center.

Soga and his team have proven capable operators. The first center went live in Ibadan, Oyo State, ten months ago, reached break-even in month five, and has grown revenue 500% since January. They have learnt a lot from this primitive, and will focus on quickly replicating their success across Nigeria.
At Ventures Platform, we believe bold entrepreneurs will solve some of Africa’s most important problems using technology, and in the process, create value for their shareholders.
In the past four months, we have only gotten more convinced that Soga, Genevieve, Joe, and Opeyemi will succeed and we share their commitment to building a future where African consumers have access to better healthcare, no matter their income level.
That’s why I am excited to announce our $100,000 investment in MDaaS.


-Kola A.
P.S: By the way, they recently got accepted into the first Techstars Impact cohort in Austin. 🙂

Kola A.
Purpose; Tech; Grit; Excellence; Impact; Balance; Legacy.

 

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Business

[Nigeria] Tizeti secures $3 million Series A funding, mulls expansion

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Nigerian ISP start-up Tizeti and its consumer facing brand, Wifi.com.ng has closed a Series A round of $3 million, led by 4DX Ventures with participation from existing investors Y Combinator Continuity, Lynett Capital, Social Capital, Western Technology Investment, Friále and Golden Palm Investments.
This follows on from the company’s Seed investment of $2.1M in 2017.
Tizeti will use this investment to expand operations outside of Nigeria, and will launch a new consumer-facing brand Wifi.Africa later this year, starting with neighbouring West African country, Ghana.
The company will also make additional investments in operations, product development and overall customer experience, with a view toward growing profitability exponentially.
The company which operates widely as a “Comcast for Africa”, builds and operates solar-powered towers in Nigeria, while also providing residences, businesses, events and conferences with unlimited high speed broadband internet access, covering over 70% of Lagos.
Since graduating from Y Combinator’s Winter 2017 batch, Tizeti has installed over 7,000 public Wifi hotspots within Nigeria with 150,000 users and in November 2017, announced a partnership with Facebook to offer Express Wi-Fi in the country, to roll out hundreds of internet hotspots across Nigeria’s capital.
Kendall Ananyi, CEO and Co-Founder of Tizeti says, “Tizeti was built to tackle poor internet connectivity not only in Nigeria, but on the continent as a whole, by developing a cost-effective solution from inception to delivery, for reliable and uncapped internet access for potentially millions of Africans. We have grown rapidly in the Nigerian market in the last 12 months and expect to continue on this trajectory, as millions more Africans come online. This Series A investment allows us to continue providing a peerless service in Nigeria, building out our customer base there, as well as scale across Africa, starting with Ghana”.
Through it’s innovative use of solar-powered base stations, Tizeti is able to significantly reduce operating costs which allow the company to be hyper-competitive when it comes to subscription packages; a Wifi.com.ng unlimited plan in Nigeria currently costs $30/mth [NGN9, 500].
This, alongside the company’s extensive coverage reach, has given Tizeti a competitive edge in the ISP sector, establishing the young company as an ICT and tech infrastructure leader.
As part this financing round, Walter Baddoo Co-Founder & Managing Partner of 4DX Ventures joins Tizeti’s Board of Directors. Baddoo says “Reducing the cost of data in Africa is a critical step in accelerating the pace of internet adoption across the continent. Tizeti, driven by a stellar company culture, has built a world-class network that delivers data to users at a fraction of the current cost. Tizeti makes it easier and cheaper to connect Africa to the global digital economy and we are excited to partner with Kendall and his team on this mission.”

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Book Review : The Morning Sunset By Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru

 

By Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru
The Morning Sunset is a book written to sensitize our people over the issue of engaging in a perilous journey to Europe via Libya. It is a story written for everyone: the youths; kids; fathers and mothers. The continuing migration of people into Europe across the Mediterranean is unnecessary. People are not born to waste their future that way.
The Morning Sunset is simply passing a message to people in Africa. Those that have not been opportuned to visit western world think that it is a bed of roses. In fact a paradise . Where as it is not like that. Many chose to come in search of greener pastures. They believe that Europe is the only place they will have the opportunity to get a better life for themselves and that of their families.

My messages to Nigerians and Africans are that our people should not abandon any tangible thing they have or their education just to embark on this long and dangerous journey through road and desert because the life in Europe does not worth such risk . Also let some parents and relatives be aware especially those that are anxiously waiting for the day their beloved children will come back from Europe but they never knew that the bones of their children have been rotten in Sahara deserts and in the seas of foreign land.

 


Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru is originally from Nigeria but lived in Italy for several years before moving to Leicester , UK.

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