No fewer than 10 young entrepreneurs across Nigeria have received N8 million grants at the CrossPoint Innovate Pitch and Grant Conference to boost their businesses.
The grant initiative, in its maiden edition, was birthed from CrossPoint Innovate, a training, mentorship and empowerment platform for young people and entrepreneurs.
The initiative had 1,000 entries for the pitch competition from which 10 businesses were selected to pitch for grants to support their businesses growth.
Speaking at the event, the convener of the initiative and Lead Pastor of CrossPoint Church, Ladipo Soyombo, said the grant process arose out of his growing concern for young people and entrepreneurs struggling through the global pandemic and looking for opportunities to thrive.
“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 trainings to help unleash people’s potentials,” he said.
Speaking on the grants, Soyombo said the sum of N8million would be given to the 10 entrepreneurs with the first three who pitched the most outstanding idea getting more funds to boost their businesses.
After a series of spirited pitches from the top 10 competitors, Emergency Station by Elcutiee, Maximus Recycling Solutions and Keramel Naturals, emerged as first, second and third place winners for the CrossPoint innovate grant of N2 million, N1.5 million and N1 million respectively, while the other seven runners up received grants of N500,000 each.
The keynote speaker, Managing Director, AIICO Insurance, Babatunde Fajemirokun, who spoke on “Building a Thriving Business in Turbulent Times,” said Nigeria is at a crossroad with a high misery index quite high, which is a combination of high unemployment rate, inflation, poverty among others, with people leaving the country in their numbers every day.
He said the disruptions caused by the pandemic has caused a rethinking of the economics of business models, as economic crisis, government policies and changes in consumers taste and appetite, which occur more frequently can lead to an operating environment that is more volatile.
He noted that the goal of doing business should be to solve consumers’ problems in a way that it generates profits and provides a return on the investment required to start that business.
Fajemirokun further stated that the best leaders create an environment where ideas can be shared freely, and assumptions challenged with capital allocated efficiently.
He, however, urged the entrepreneurs to utilise grants given to them to grow their businesses and aspire to be among the top businesses in the world.