Ten young entrepreneurs from across Nigeria have each been awarded N10 million grants at the CrossPoint Innovate Pitch and Grant Conference. The grant initiative, which is in its first year, was established by CrossPoint Innovate, a platform that provides training, mentorship, and empowerment to young entrepreneurs. The initiative received over 1,000 entries for the pitch competition, with ten businesses selected to pitch their ideas for grants to support their businesses’ growth.
Lead Pastor of CrossPoint Church and convener of the initiative, Ladipo Soyombo, explained that the grant process was born out of his concern for young entrepreneurs and people struggling during the global pandemic and looking for opportunities to thrive. Soyombo said, “Since the COVID-19 pandemic and the social unrest that came in the aftermath of the #endsars, we saw that millions of our young people are eager to express themselves and be productive members of society, but the opportunities in Nigeria are few. We decided to engage with people to discover what to do and then embarked on training to help unleash people’s potentials.”
Soyombo added that N10 million would be given to the ten entrepreneurs, with the first three who pitched the most outstanding ideas receiving more funds to boost their businesses. After a series of spirited pitches from the top ten competitors, Emergency Station by Elcutiee, Maximus Recycling Solutions, and Keramel Naturals emerged as the first, second, and third place winners of the CrossPoint innovate grant, receiving N2 million, N1.5 million, and N1 million, respectively. The other seven runners up received grants of N500,000 each.
During the event, the keynote speaker, Managing Director of AIICO Insurance, Babatunde Fajemirokun, spoke about “Building a Thriving Business in Turbulent Times.” Fajemirokun explained that Nigeria is currently facing a high misery index, which is a combination of a high unemployment rate, inflation, and poverty, among other factors. He said the disruptions caused by the pandemic have led to a rethinking of the economics of business models as economic crises, government policies, changes in consumer taste, and appetite occur more frequently, leading to an operating environment that is more volatile.
Fajemirokun further stated that the goal of doing business should be to solve consumers’ problems in a way that generates profits and provides a return on the investment required to start that business. He emphasized that the best leaders create an environment where ideas can be shared freely, and assumptions can be challenged, with capital allocated efficiently. He urged the entrepreneurs to use the grants given to them to grow their businesses and aspire to be among the top businesses in the world.
The CrossPoint Innovate Pitch and Grant Conference provides a unique opportunity for young entrepreneurs to access grants to help grow their businesses. The initiative is an example of the kind of support and investment that young entrepreneurs need to overcome the challenges of starting and growing a business in Nigeria. By providing young entrepreneurs with training, mentorship, and empowerment, the CrossPoint Innovate platform is contributing to the development of Nigeria’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and the creation of jobs that can help reduce the high misery index in the country.