Cointreau Creative Crew Supports Small Businesses with €20,000 Grants


Cointreau launched the Cointreau Creative Crew, CCC, philanthropic programme which encourages individuals to “dream, dare, create” in Nigeria in April this year. The grant was later launched in August and hundreds of applications were received. Nineteen businesses were selected by the Cointreau Creative Crew members during the eight-week application period.

Last week, a media briefing was held to introduce the finalists, whose businesses received the highest votes during the public voting phase, to the CCC who will be mentoring the finalists for a two-month period before the finale event in January 2017.

The finalists were given the opportunity to speak about their business and explain how the €20,000 grant will be put into good use to creatively advance and expand their business to the members in attendance; Betty Irabor, (Founder and Publisher of Genevieve Magazine and the Creative Curator of the CCC, Nigeria), Barbara Lawrence (Chief Executive Officer of Insolitus Nigeria) and Afua Osei (Co-Founder, She Leads Africa).

The10 finalists selected are:, Nigeria’s first retail web-to-print store. Launched on the 16th of January 2014, its flagship product was the online personalised greeting cards. However, products have been expanded to include other print products, such as T-Shirts, Mugs, Canvas prints etc. The aim of this project is to solve the problem of unemployment by promoting creativity in graphics designing in Nigeria, utilising a commission-based crowd sourcing model to provide gainful employment for Nigerians all around the country, interested in graphic designs. The second problem this serves to solve is the dearth of personalised print products on a retail basis for Nigerians; is an online platform that provides personalised greeting cards and other print products to Nigerians at the click of a button.

Cash Madam, a simple, innovative solution created to help women in particular, and other small and growing business owners in developing economies like Nigeria’s, who have largely remained undeserved in the technology boom, due to computer illiteracy and poverty, solve challenges in their businesses that affect revenue and business growth, and thereby improve their lives, using technology.

Workarena: 1850, an online platform which aims to change the way business owners find qualified apprentices and graduate apprentices for their businesses within Nigeria. Workarena allows business owners to directly search for and find the workers with the qualifications they are looking for. In addition to taking all the standard information in a CV, standardising it and search thoroughly for the right candidate, Work arena will benchmark people through the match algorithms that ranks candidates.

Vegetable and Fruit Processing, aimed at sourcing vegetables and fruits from local farmers scattered all over Nigeria. These sourced foods will be washed, dehydrated and package in a hygienic matter. The food will also be dehydrated to ensure that little or no food value is lost in the process. It will not contain additives or preservatives; this is to ensure that the food is as natural as possible thus promoting healthy feeding. This will improve farmer’s revenue encourage them, create employment in the farms and this project will also ensure that fruits and vegetables that are seasonal will be made available all through the year.

Introduction of Biotechnology, which helps in the production of a clean, non-explosive and an environment-friendly gas called Biogas. The gas can be used to cook, power generators, and fertilizer can also be derived as a by-product. Biogas is a perfect alternative energy; it can help resolve the energy crisis, the incessant problem of waste management and most importantly a panacea to our dwindling natural resources. The system guarantees the sustainability of the client’s business as it helps reduce their energy cost, waste disposal cost and carbon footprints. The goal is to make as many people as possible energy independent and achieve Zero waste in the environment.

I-Skills 42, an empowerment project with the aim of providing ICT literacy to tens of thousands of Nigerians using MELU. MELU, which stands for Mobile Electronic Learning Unit, is a state of the art citadel of learning on wheels. The main purpose of its creation is to offer quality practical ICT training and revolutionise the use of ICT tools right from the grassroots all over the country, geared towards national and economic growth. The main tool of the I-skills literacy project is MELU. It is first of its kind in the world and can operate anywhere; certified safe on land in Nigeria.

Tanabio Environmental, is a start-up renewable energy production business that will convert organic waste such as animal waste and agricultural waste into cooking fuel (bio-gas) and organic fertilizer through anaerobic digestion. The business goal is to use the organic wastes from markets, abattoirs, municipals and similar places to produce clean, renewable cooking fuel for residents in rural communities at a relatively affordable price using community or institutional biogas plant.

Waste to Décor, makes creative works of art from waste products like bottles, newspapers, magazines, straws, plastic, wood, CD tapes, and the likes. For example, unused magazines are used to create exquisite table mirror finishing’s, discarded plastics are used to make Christmas tree ornaments and table decorations.

 Products are affordable and cost effective compared to similar imported products and has also aided the employment of local artisans who depend largely on local production. This project will also aim to train more unemployed youths in rural areas.

Green Diamond, this project entails the development of a greenhouse- a building with glass walls and glass roof in which flowers and plants are grown. Green Diamond will locally plant, grow and sell flowers in Nigeria. The idea was borne due to the lack of fresh flowers in Nigeria noticed by Diamond Ink events, a leading event/floral décor and production services company.

Nsaata Africa, a bespoke shoemaking business started in Lagos, Nigeria in 2016. Nsaata produces shoes for people who have difficulty finding shoes that fit perfectly in retail shops and require a bespoke service. 

It also makes shoes for those who simply love to be involved in the design process and want something specially made for them or their loved ones.

The Cointreau Creative Crew remains committed to helping inspire young women move beyond maintaining the status quo by motivating and supporting advancement in their chosen career fields which is only achievable through the willingness to create and explore new avenues of self-expression.