Have you noticed the rise in young entrepreneurs in Nigeria? Well, to begin with, there aren’t sufficient employment opportunities, so the foray into that space was a given. However, most people did not expect the boom.
Now, everyone has the word ‘entrepreneur’ emblazoned across their social media bio. The hustle, my friend, is real! Kelechi Amadi-Obi, renowned photographer, and publisher at Mania Magazine; Olalekan Olude, entrepreneur, and co-founder Jobberman and Uche Pedro, award-winning entrepreneur, and CEO BellaNaija are a few names on a list of the many outstanding young people that have shown us that pursuing your dreams may be the ‘safest’ option.
For two days in February, MTN Nigeria flung open its doors to 51 enterprising individuals to pitch their business plan. Why the pitch? MTN’s Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP), has made 100 million Naira available for up to 50 participants! They exhibited class, verve and panache throughout the pitch. We also got to be students and learned from the entrepreneurs who are ready to take on the world. What did we find? Gold! Business gold!
Here are the three things you need to compete with other entrepreneurs in this tight Naija space:
- Where Is Your Passion?
Don’t you dare roll your eyes. One thing every single participant had was ‘passion’. You could feel it in the air as they waited. You could hear it in their voices when they pitched. We’re pretty sure it was pulsing through their skin! They loved their ideas and you knew it!
One of the participants, Omolara Daniels, a blind graduate, and the founder of Blind Tech — a solution aimed at assisting blind persons across the country in accessing quality educational materials — got a judge to hand her his complimentary card and requested for a meeting the next day at 12:00 pm. He would begin working with her in collaboration with others!
2. Are You Ready To Revolutionize The Game?
There’s no business owner that didn’t have something they wanted to change, all their businesses were aimed at changing an aspect of their chosen field — a product, a process, a mindset.
Akinse Fela of Salubata approached shoemaking from a tech-perspective. He had an app that would allow for automatic shoe sizing which would prevent a large number of issues with online delivery.
3. Are You Ready To Take The Bulls By The Horn?
We realized that all of these entrepreneurs create and seek opportunities with an almost singular purpose! They are go-getters and do not wait for things to happen.
The perfect example of this is Joshua Dolor, a graduate of electronics engineering from Delta state university who after graduation sought out the best available electrical equipment manufacturing and installation companies to work for and learn from so that he could one day start one of his own. No stalling, no waiting around.
4. Do You Have That Big Idea?
The passion, drive, taking bulls by the horns, transformation et al, do not matter if they are not hinged on an idea that is not worthy of the sacrifice. An actionable idea that might be scary to fulfil, yes, but it must be unique — an idea borne of your originality! There are too many fakes in 2020. Stand out with your idea and fight for it!
These are the questions every young entrepreneur would have to ask themselves. And, oh yes, always have a plan B, C, D… you get the idea. Whose business plans would fulfil the judges’ criteria?
To join the conversation on social media, follow the hashtag #TurnItUpYEDP.