Young Nigerians can gain knowledge and economic empowerment, and that informed the setting up of the Senator Abiru Innovation Lab initiative, hoped to catch them young.
On Friday in Lagos, the Senator Abiru Innovation Lab (SAIL) in partnership with Co-Creation Hub (Cc-HUB) marked the conclusion of the Business 101 for Creatives and Artisans (Cohort 001) Demo Day programme made possible by the Senator representing the Lagos-East Senatorial District, Tokunbo Abiru.
The event held in Ikorodu attracted attendees from all walks of life; panelists; as well as Ojoma Ochai, Managing Partner, The Creative Economy Practice at (CcHUB), Bosun Tijani (Co-Founder, CcHUB), and other trainers who had trained the graduands during the period of the classes.
‘How Senator Abiru Innovation Lab (SAIL) Was Founded’
The Senator says he has always been a person passionate about personal and career growth; has always wanted to put an end to the unemployment rate and eradicate poverty, and this brought about his dedication to the course of educating and empowering youths with business, entrepreneurial, creative, and tech skills that would help them run their businesses or help them establish a plan and become productive in the labour market and society at large.
He didn’t do this alone, but with the help of tech brands that also share the passion for impact and giving back to society, like MainOne, and CcHUB, among others, he says.
Professional instructors were sourced to take these students for three months paying no amount of money for the knowledge being acquired, Abiru says, and out of 47 students that enrolled, only 41 graduated after three months.
According to him, the initiative has different programmes targeting different age groups in the Lagos East Senatorial District that include:
- Tech Talent Development (for youngsters interested in tech careers);
- Lagos East Teachers Fellowship (to equip teachers with digital skills to aid teaching and learning processes);
- Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Café for secondary school students (age 13-18), and,
- Startup Accelerator for Businesses (for people who need tech to grow their businesses).
Abiru believes that since we are now in the digital world, and with the changes that were brought by the pandemic, remote working, introducing automation, the deployment of robotics and artificial intelligence, and all, he reckons it is very important to be tech-savvy in our current economy, and this is also one reason for the tech initiative, he tells the attendees.
Also speaking at the event, Ochai, Managing Partner, The Creative Economy Practice at CcHUB, took out time to especially appreciate the Senator for this idea.
Ochai says that the Co-Creation Hub, a technology and social enterprise company, based in Lagos, with outlets in Rwanda, the UK, and Kenya, partnered to conduct the training with the help of the Senator.
Over 4,000 persons applied for this opportunity, Ochai says, but they picked only 150 in the five classes/programmes available. She congratulated the 41 graduands on their successful completion of the training.
During the business pitch stage of the event, 10 out of 41 graduands talked about their businesses, plans, and estimates, and vied for investors amongst the personalities in attendance and also for mentorship.
They gave each participant three minutes to do so, and it became really competitive as they all came prepared, exhibiting their work and projecting their plans, budget, and team on the screen while doing their best to convince their audience.
At the end of the pitch, comments were given, corrections were made and participants were scored by the panelists.
As soon as that ended, Ochai, Managing Partner, The Creative Economy Practice at CcHUB, came on stage to announce the winners after they had added scores as follows:
- 1st position was John Olisa who went home with N1.5m;
- 2nd position was Jessica Nwobodo who went home with N1m; and
- 3rd position was Esther Ogundare who went home with N500,000.
All these monies are invested into their businesses by the Senator himself, followed by jubilations from the attendees.
- Editor’s Note: The story has been updated to indicate that the SAIL initiative is not a Constituency project.