After a 12-week incubation process covering taught sessions, mentorship, research and development, 54 winners have emerged from the Accelerate LABS program, an initiative of The Future Project supported by Microsoft Nigeria. The winners were announced during the Grand Demo Day held recently at the City Mall, Lagos.
The Demo Day provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn, network, and pitch innovative ideas to investors so as to scale for impact.Speaking at the event, Project Lead of The Future Project, Bukonla Adebakin said:
“Our quest to identify, spotlight, and support the most innovative entrepreneurs with impactful ideas has taken us to all the corners of the country including Abuja, Edo, Enugu, Kaduna, Bauchi and now, Lagos. Getting the best young minds across the country to showcase their ideas have been a fascinating experience as well as an eye-opening one as we have seen them accomplish mind-blowing feats.”
Divided into three streams, participants went through a 12-week incubation process covering taught sessions, mentorship, research and development. The initiative is blended in structure through Online and In-Class training, supporting different sectors of the economy ranging from technology, fashion, education, agriculture, transportation, and others to stimulate development.
“The initiative doesn’t just up-skill young people looking for an alternative to the conventional career route, but it also gives them tools and opportunities to put those skills to excellent use. Winners from Accelerate LABS Stream 1 have gone ahead to access funds from our partner organizations. They represent a new generation of businesses, scion of the pilot phase of the program launched a year ago,” she added.
Speaking to participants and guests at the event, Olusola Amusan, Citizenship Lead, Microsoft Nigeria stated that the project has successfully trained over 2,212 participants across Nigeria, thereby “boosting employment opportunities, working to eradicate poverty, promote quality enterprise education, and contributing positively to national GDP”.
He further explained that the initiative is strategically positioned by Microsoft Nigeria to support the next generation of entrepreneurs by equipping them with resources needed to gain financial independence while seeking opportunities to scale, create employment, and impact the economy.
Launched in August 2017, Accelerate LABS aims to empower selected young entrepreneurs by providing technological resources, training, mentorship, and seed funding necessary to build socially responsible businesses in their communities.
About Accelerate Labs
Accelerating The Economy Through Youth in Enterprise
According to the National Bureau of Statisics (NBS), Nigeria, out of total youth labor force of 89.5m (representing 48.7% of total labor force in Nigeria, a total of 18.8m of them were either unemployed or underemployed in the Q3 (third quarter) of 2017, representing a youth unemployment rate of 40.0%. This leaves unemployment rate high and having young people practically with no opportunities to participate in the markets; an irony in a predominantly youth nation.
Over the years, it has become apparent that the development of a nation is hinged on its younger generation; therefore, Accelerate LABS will be activating the small and medium scale engine to accelerate economic development through enterprise development and technology incubation. The goal of this project is to equip 2,160 youths (across the 6 geo-political zones in Nigeria) by building socially inclined , high profit, and highly competitive enterprise capable of impacting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. At Accelerate Labs, we don’t just help in funding business ideas and promote nation building, we also aim at aiding youths to reach their full potential, through seminars/mentoring/research and practice.
“The Future project is expanding on accelerate LABS to build and empower young citizens that are willing to contribute to the development in Nigeria. With the new businesses that will be supported through trainings and mentorship, there are immense opportunities to create jobs and also provide young entrepreneurs wider access to useful knowledge and strategies in building more successful businesses.” – Bukonla Adebakin, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, The Future Project.
– Guardian / Accelerate Labs