Some budding entrepreneurs from the Ken Saro-Wiwa Innovation Hub on Wednesday 18th were given the privilege to present their business ideas and projects to investors and potential clients.
The KSIH Pitch Day was organized with sponsorship from Stakeholder Democracy Network to allow these early-stage companies to attract funding, partnerships and clientele for their projects.
Top business executives, representatives of several banks, members of the civil society and the media listened with rapt attention as each company used slides of pictures and a few paragraphs to outline what they are doing, the traction they are seeing and team Bios. The event held at Elkan Terrace Hotel in GRA, Port Harcourt.
The young companies that made presentations include Entric, Nira Stock, TinX and Alpha Next
Speaking at the event, chief executive officer of Bobmanuel Tractor Limited and president of Rivers Entrepreneurs and Investors Forum, said he feels very much at home as he naturally connected with the young businessmen. Recounting his odyssey into the entrepreneurial world, he said: I have always been a passionate entrepreneur right from when I was in school.”
“Getting into school, the first thing I told my self was that I wanted to make money and at the same time make good grades. So I worked round the clock to find a niche for myself”, he said.
“As at when I left school I was very successful that I had a haulage company that was running. I had three trailers. I had two cars of mine. I lived very comfortably.”
“My last entrepreneurial effort is Bobtrac, the first indigenous tractor manufacturing company. Bobtrac is a company we project to invest as much as $50 million and we have done 50% of that”
“We manufacture wholly Nigerian tractors and we have a sales projection of a thousand tractors in a year, which will not be too hard.”
He said if we could come from our very humble beginning with a focus that this is where we intend to be- if we can make it. The younger ones are even smarter than we are, you guys have what it takes to even do better.”
Also, a former member of the Rivers state House of Assembly, Dr Victoria Nyeche said she was impressed seeing people standing confidently as CEOs and demonstrating ideas that would help change the narrative about Nigeria.
“This is what happens in developed countries where young people become CEOs of thriving companies “, she said.
Dr Nyeche charged the new CEOs to take the criticism on their works as tools to further sharpen their ideas. “When you start a business, don’t get challenged no matter the challenges. Behind every success story, some stories are not so successful”, she added.
All the companies that participated in the Demo are products of Ken Saro-Wiwa Innovative Hub(KSIH). KSIH is sponsored by Stakeholder Democracy Network, the hub serves as a centre where developers, designers, entrepreneurs and trainees come together to learn, practice, network and build innovative solutions to inherent challenges in the region. The Hub provides the following Activities: Tech Training’s and Meetups, Incubation Programme, Co-working Space and Community for aspiring techies.
The hub runs a 6-month ‘incubation’ programme known as the Ken Jr Award for Innovation. The programme is designed for aspiring tech entrepreneurs, providing training, mentorship support, and soft skills to teams of people who have a business idea and minimum viable product that they want to take to market. The incubation programme aims to help mid-stage startups to build on their idea/ prototype/ venture through technology mentoring, validation, intellectual property support, marketing strategy, team building, fundraising advisory etc.
NDDC Boss, a Promise Keeper, says UNIUYO VC
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Professor Nyakudo Ndaeyo, has described the Interim Administrator/CEO of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Efiong Okon Akwa, as a promise keeper for ensuring that the long-abandoned 1000-bed NDDC hostel would soon be completed.
Professor Ndaeyo made this declaration when Mr. Akwa paid him a courtesy visit at UNIUYO Senate Chambers, as part of an inspection of the hostel project in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.
The Vice Chancellor disclosed that he had extracted the promise from the NDDC boss to complete the project shortly after his appointment as Head of the interventionist agency.
Professor Ndaeyo thanked the NDDC for assisting the university to ease the pressure of accommodation, stressing the need to provide the university’s undergraduates with a conducive learning and living environment in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Akwa, who was accompanied by the state director of the Commission, Mr. Obot Udoette, and directors of the Commission, stated that the hostel, sited at the permanent site of the University, will be completed and commissioned next month.
He said that the NDDC’s commitment to the completion of the students’ hostel project was a result of a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to the Commission to ensure the completion of all its projects in the Niger Delta region.
He said: “The 1,000 bed students’ hostel being built will be a first of its kind in the region. It will have 500 bed spaces for male undergraduates and 500 bed spaces for female undergraduates and will include recreational spaces as well.”
He stated that the university was playing a very important role in the economy and lives of the people of Akwa Ibom State and the South-South region.
The NDDC boss observed that in an era of Covid-19 pandemic, it was necessary to assist universities to properly accommodate students in order to ensure adequate provision for social distancing in the hostels.
Speaking after inspecting the hostel project, the NDDC boss assured that the Commission would assist universities in the region to ensure that their students undertake their studies in comfortable and safe environment.
Akwa expressed delight that the project had reached 95 per cent completion, with only external works and landscaping still being worked on.
He added: “We need to pull out our students from the surrounding villages where they currently reside and host them in a conducive environment fit for learning.”
Fara Dagogo’s bill seeking 13% derivation to be paid directly to host communities bill first reading
A bill seeking to alter the Constitution of the country to pay the 13% derivation fund directly to oil producing host communities has passed first reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.
If passed into law, the 13% derivation fund will be paid directly to the host communities of each benefiting states through the Host Communities Development Commissions.
Sponsor of the bill, Hon. Doctor Farah, Member representing Degema/ Bonny Federal Constituency from Rivers State, said the bill ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (HB. 1570)’, is intended to address and correct the injustices the oil producing communities have been experiencing.
In demonstrating its seriousness, a section of the bill recommended that ‘ failure of any state to establish the Host Communities Development Commission shall be deemed as an offence and such a state shall forfeit 30% of her monthly benefit from the 13% derivation fund till such a time that the Commission is established’
Before the presentation of the bill, the Federal Lawmaker had accused the Governors of the Niger Delta states, of wasting N10 trillion from the derivation fund over the years
“This is a very sad commentary as it relates to the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta. The 13 per cent Derivation is the fund set aside to assist oil-producing communities to tackle infrastructural decay and degradation, emphasis on the oil-producing communities. What it means basically is that in sharing the federation account revenue, 13 per cent should be set aside to assist the development of these oil-producing communities.
” About two decades down the line what is there to show for the humongous monies that have come in? The Governors, past and present, view it as free monies”, he said.
“Between 2000 and 2018, over N10trillion from the 13 per cent derivation principle, have been shared to the Niger Delta Governors, on behalf of the oil-producing communities, yet the deplorable living conditions of the people from these oil-producing communities have remained nauseating and deplorable with the people battling and still reeking with the worst and highest form of poverty, “he noted.
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