AGS Enterprise Challenge empowers three startups


Launches Multi-Million Investment Fund
The AGS Enterprise Challenge from the AGS Tribe this week held the grand finale of this year’s enterprise challenge where three women-owned businesses were given a total of N3 million to expand and grow their businesses.

Founder of the AGS Tribe, Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti, told The Guardian that the challenge is simply a programme launched with the aim of ensuring female-led start-ups gain visibility, valuable feedback as well as grants to take their businesses to the next level. “I am elated and proud that we have been able to sustain this noble initiative whilst helping and encouraging other women fulfill business potentials.”

Speaking on the role of women in global leadership, guest speaker, Fatimah Al Ansar, Head of Mission at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mali, and the youngest diplomat in West Africa, told the audience that though she’s very young, it never stopped her and she was conscious that if she failed, it would look like young women couldn’t achieve things on their own. “I always knew I wanted to help young girls in my community, from age 17, I demanded for better education for young girls. What I would tell you today is to focus on your objective and network as much as possible, as this would give you opportunities for growth and connection.”

There were 12 finalists for this year’s challenge and after undergoing a boot camp, they pitched to some judges who picked the best three start-ups. The judges were Diana Nwajiaku-Smart, Khadijat Abdulkadir, Uju Ojemeni and Thelma who advised the startup pitchers to always have their products with them when trying to sell themselves and their businesses. “Also, have a convincing story, be clear on the opportunity you’ve observed, create a business that can leave the shores of Nigeria. People all over the world need to be able to relate with it, if not, it will die a natural death,” she said.

At the end of the various pitches and questions from the judges, Tabitha Arenson Abimiku of Virtuouscore Limited was crowned winner and went home with a N1.5 million grant. Her business makes reusable pads for women and she said her target market was young girls who were not too well off financially to buy the regular, disposable pads. Maryam Adebola Salami of Mobaby Care Nigeria came second and smiled home with N1million. Explaining that she started her business after having her daughter three years ago and couldn’t get natural creams and oils that didn’t cause adverse reaction for her child, she said this led her into researching products that other mothers in her position could use as well. The third position went to Oluebube Akah of Aga’s Wholesome Foods who went home with N500, 000 investment capital.

The event also witnessed the launch of X which Durosinmi-Etti said is a million dollar investment fund, focused on seeding and scaling up women- owned and led business, called the Women Empowerment Fund (WEF). She said the fund now boasts of a million dollars but their target is five million dollars.

To round up the event, Annurika Joshua went home with a thousand dollars in the AGS Survivor Woman of the year. Johnson, whose sad story moved the audience to sympathetic tears, said she was going to use the money to become a better 2D Animation artist and teach her son the skill as well as how to code.

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