Gbolahan Olusegun Yishawu (GOY), a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Eti-Osa II constituency, has donated N5 million to 10 start-ups following the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme 2.0 Business Pitch competition.
The event saw entrepreneurs competing for a cash prize of N3 million, with the first and second runners-up receiving N750,000 and N500,000 respectively, and other participating teams each receiving N50,000. The judging criteria were based on the quality, scalability, and viability of business ideas pitched during seven-minute presentations.
Addressing the attendees, Yishawu emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship in combating unemployment and fostering creativity and innovation among youth. He noted that while not everyone can rely on the government for employment, supporting individuals with good ideas and helping them secure startup capital is essential. Furthermore, Yishawu highlighted the role of such programs in developing participants’ presentation skills and making them more attractive to potential investors.
Yishawu also stressed the significance of addressing societal issues through entrepreneurial endeavors, mentioning an example related to waste management within the community. He pointed out the need to teach entrepreneurs how to focus on problem-solving and converting solutions into viable businesses. Additionally, the lawmaker mentioned plans to involve venture investors in the future and encourage the private sector to sponsor and mentor budding entrepreneurs.
Furthermore, GOY clarified that the N3 million cash prize was allocated to the winning company to support its business growth. He also noted that the program is an ongoing initiative and pledged to conduct it annually, possibly even biannually, to nurture entrepreneurship and create employment opportunities.
AbdulMumin Edidi, the representative of Lagos Central Senatorial District in the Nigeria Youth Parliament and team lead of the organising committee for the program, lauded Yishawu’s commitment to youth development and self-reliance. He explained the application and screening process, including the requirement of constituency membership and residency, and noted that the initiative was in partnership with the Impact Innovation Hub and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.
Musa Zainab, the winner of the competition, expressed surprise at her victory, highlighting the role of faith and persistence in her journey. She shared her plans to use the N3 million prize which is to expand her sandwich business and projected a profit of over N4 million by 2024.
Another entrepreneur, Mutiu Lasbat, co-founder of Sisto Hair, a natural hair and beauty salon, discussed the challenges faced by small businesses due to limited capital and praised the initiative for providing much-needed financial support.
“Sisto Hair aims to cater to the hair care needs of African women, especially those aged 25 to 60, by promoting healthy hair before styling,” Lasbat said. “I am grateful for this grant as it would enable us hire more employees and expand our services.”
Yishawu’s Youth Entrepreneurship Program 2.0 Business Pitch competition has not only provided financial support but also encouraged innovation, problem-solving, and self-reliance among young entrepreneurs in Lagos. The program’s commitment to addressing societal issues through entrepreneurial ventures is seen as a valuable step toward economic growth and job creation.