By Ugo Aliogo
Caro Favored College (Inventive Explorers), Lagos, has won the National Company of the Year (NCOY) award for its ground-breaking invention in mobile rechargeable traffic light for road wardens.
The NCOY competition is Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN) flagship event and the culminating point for the implementation of the JA company programme and accompanying regional competitions across the country.
It occurs in early October and brings together outstanding student business teams across the country to compete for the opportunity to represent Nigeria at the JA Africa company of the year competition.
Other winners were Government Girls’ College, Abaji, Abuja, (Brain Max) and Sharon Rose College (Sharon Glory Ventures) who came second and third position respectively.
Speaking at the competition in Lagos recently, which had nine student companies participate, the Chairman, JAN, Mr. Niyi Yusuf said the goal of the NCOY is to create a signature showcase for JAN and the students benefit from the impact of the JA company programme which is a school-based entrepreneurship education curriculum for senior secondary school students.
He also explained that the annual celebration of success allows young people to demonstrate their business acumen and spirit of entrepreneurship in a competitive environment, which would engage business, education and policy leaders, as well as the media.
Yusuf said they begin the selection process by looking for volunteers who live in a particular environment that would be willing to devote their time and energy for the students and who are passionate about developing young entrepreneurs
He explained that the next stage is to look for a school that would give them invitation, adding that they understand the benefit which comes from developing entrepreneurs.
“So once we have a willing volunteer and a school, then the next thing is sparking the ideas that are already in the students. The students have those wonderful ideas and they are looking for someone to help them unravel what is inside them. This is happening in different regions across the nation. Like I said we are in four out of six regions. We are in 28 states and we hope to cover the 36 states with this initiative. The students that presented today gave ideas to solve local problems that we see as very important.
“The second factor is the ability to sell, share, create a company and sell a product. In 2017, the CEO of one of the private equity firm Verod Capital decided to invest in the students’ company that came second. This shows us how little things can grow. We are hopeful that given the finalists that we have here who come from the different sectors, some of them will be motivated to want to invest in this ideas and take it forward.”
In her remarks, the Global Head, Marketing and Communications, First Bank Limited, Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney, said the bank believes in the future of the youths and identifies with their innate talent, skills, and values that they possess which is key to building and securing not just their future, but that of the country.
She said NCOY would be a huge contest among the aspiring youths, while commending JAN for the initiative and others. “We are pleased to have partnered over the years.”