After winning the Enterprise Challenge, an online competition for Nigerian entrepreneurs aged 18 – 25 which was organized by the British Council and Virgin Atlantic in partnership with Zenith Bank, two of Nigeria’s most promising entrepreneurs had the opportunity of having a business master class from Richard Branson.
The Enterprise Challenge had over a thousand young Nigerian entrepreneurs apply for the competition in order to help talented young Nigerians develop their entrepreneurial skills. The Apprentice style competition took place over three rounds during which candidates wrote an essay on their entrepreneurial journey, created a video pitch for their businesses or business plans and had their ideas scrutinized by a panel of experts in Nigeria and the UK. The two young Nigerian entrepreneurs that came out top are Eseoghene Ise Odiete and Nasir Abdulqadir Yammama.
The mentoring session for the two winners with Richard Branson took place on July 1st in London. The session was designed for the winners to ask about and learn from the magnate’s life and business experiences. At the end of the meeting, it turned out to be more than a mentoring session as it was a master class everyone present benefited from.
Richard Branson, Founder/Chairman, Virgin Group during the session said, Virgin Atlantic is delighted to have supported the Enterprise Challenge programme dedicated to supporting young Nigerian entrepreneurs and fostering new ideas. He stated that “Innovation has been an important part of Virgin’s heritage and I was pleased to see so many young Nigerians keen to embrace new ideas through the competition. Many congratulations to Ese and Nasir who had fantastic business plans and I’m sure will have very bright futures.”
Eseoghene Ise Odiete runs Hesey Designs, an online store selling African-inspired accessories and in addition helps to empower and mentor young African women. She said, “It was an awesome experience meeting and learning from Richard Branson; one that will change my life and business and take it to a whole new level. I am super grateful for the opportunity.”
Nasir Abdulqadir Yammama is a postgraduate student at Middlesex University in London. He won with a business plan for a mobile app called Verdant to help crop farmers. He said, “The Enterprise Challenge has been a remarkable competition which I thoroughly enjoyed. I believe it has not only developed my skills but exposed me to a whole new way of looking at things from writing to pitching and presentation. Also, the calibre of people I have been able to interact and network with is the absolute thing every aspiring entrepreneur and innovator wishes to associate with and meeting Sir Richard Branson was a priceless opportunity that I will continue to value immensely. I have been able to acquire so much wisdom and inspiration that I feel ready and bound to exceed all expectation.”
In addition to the mentoring session with the Chairman of the Virgin Group, the winners received a 5000 euros grant; courtesy of Zenith Bank to help them develop their businesses, a fully-funded scholarship to attend a five day entrepreneurship foundation course at the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship in South Africa and two return tickets to the UK.