Microsoft Nigeria, in partnership with The Future Project, rewarded budding Nigerian entrepreneurs at the Demo Day held in Lagos on Saturday, 3 February, 2018, as participants in the initiative were provided opportunities to pitch their ideas and business projects to business executives and officials at the event.
With over 150 participants registered for the first stream in Lagos, young entrepreneurs were selected through intensive screenings and trainings on client relations, funding proposals, pitch presentations, as the top three businesses on the Demo Day were presented with cash rewards, even as the young entrepreneurs will be provided with funding and technological support by Microsoft. Giving his keynote speech, Alex Yangs, the chief executive officer of RED, emphasized the importance of clarity and goal-oriented businesses, which are necessary for building socially-responsible and sustainable enterprises.
“Accelerate Labs, especially the Demo Day, is a journey of clarity for all the participants across Nigeria. More importantly, lot of businesses and ideas do not need money but clarity at the initial stage, so this initiative provides an immense platform to introduce the experience of established entrepreneurs and mentors from major sectors of the economy,” he explained.
Speaking with participants at the event, the Country General Manager, Akin Banuso promised that Microsoft will continue to support the initiative, as the young participants represent both the present and the future of the country.
“Many young Nigerians are innovative and enterprising, with new ideas consistently generated in different areas of the country. Microsoft understands that businesses can never be without risk, so we will keep supporting them through consistent investor engagement and providing them the necessary tools to build successful businesses," he said.
The Microsoft executive also stated that Nigeria needs new ways of solving problems, and its youths are creators and entrepreneurs that can offer sustainable solutions to socio-economic problems due to their passion and commitment. With over 2,160 businesses to supported through the initiative, trainings for participants in the second stream are set to be launched across Nigeria in February.