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The Youth Sustainable Enterprise Challenge Programme, an entrepreneurship development programme funded by the British Council, in partnership with Prince’s Trust International, soon to be King’s Trust International, and implemented by NerdzFactory Company, concluded with a grand finale and pitch day event featuring the program participants.

The Youth Sustainable Enterprise Challenge Programme equipped 60 young entrepreneurs in Lagos with the practical skills, knowledge, and confidence required to succeed as entrepreneurs. The program reinforced the idea that entrepreneurship is not just about starting a business, but about building sustainable enterprises that can drive economic growth and societal progress. Participants spent a month in the classroom on a fully funded tuition, learning and gaining exposure to the rudiments of building a sustainable and thriving business while also interacting with mentors and other business leaders. The program then concluded with a pitch event and grand finale in Lagos.

The pitch competition began with a large pool of participants presenting their ideas during the program. Through a rigorous selection process, the participants were initially narrowed down to 30 contenders and upon further review, it was narrowed down to the final 16 participants who ultimately competed for the grant prizes on pitch day. At the end of the pitch day, the final 8 winners were awarded grant prizes.

2 winners each were awarded across 4 major categories, namely – Most Innovative Business, Most Societally Friendly Business, Most Profitable Business, and Most Environmentally Friendly Business.

The pitch day event which marked the close of the pilot phase of the programme had leading dignitaries in attendance including Lucy Pearson, Country Director, British Council Nigeria Chikodi Onyemerela, Programmes Director, British Council Nigeria, and Mayowa Kosoko, representative of the Honourable Commissioner for Youth and Sport, Lagos State, Ekundayo Ayeni, leading digital transformation expert and serial entrepreneur, Matthew Ozigbo, Business Partner at NerdzFactoryCompany and a host of others.

Lucy Pearson, the British Country Director, Nigeria stated that the goal of The Sustainable Enterprise challenge is to contribute to the economic growth of Nigeria by providing young people with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to become successful entrepreneurs and employable. Lucy commended the efforts of NerdzFactory Company for the successful implementation of the project in Lagos, Nigeria. ’We are proud of the enriching partnership with NerdzFactory Company, to push the vision of supporting prosperity building’’. The British Council is committed to supporting the young people of Nigeria and beyond by providing opportunities, as they set out to develop their talent through our programs’’.

She urged the program participants to use their newly gained skills, confidence, and hopefully, the networks they have built during the program to explore opportunities out there to grow while creating positive pathways for themselves and the economy at large. Lucy also admonished all grant winners to use the grant wisely through their creative and sustainable business ideas.

Speaking at the event, Matthew Ozigbo, Business Partner – NerdzFactory Company mentioned that what every program participant has gotten throughout the program is training from facilitators and mentors on skills that would make them progress in their entrepreneurial pursuit ‘’They have been equipped with the skills to fulfill their dreams and unlock prosperity on personal and community levels, and we also believe that the seed grant for pitch competition winners will go a long way in supporting their ventures’’- Matthew stated.

Chikodi Onyemerela – Programmes Director, British Council Nigeria, submitted that young people are full of skills, business ideas, and economically driven thoughts, but they struggle to get opportunities to find expression, and that is why British Council and Prince’s Trust International created this platform for young people, to bring out their creativity and earn a sustainable living from it. ‘’The programme is about livelihood and creating a decent means of living from their ideas’’ he said.

The sustainable enterprise challenge programme is also currently going on in Kano and Enugu States.

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