A 300-level student of the Department of Finance, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Barnabas Peter, has clinched the top spot at the start-up pitch competition of the project Innovation 2 Marketing (I2M) accelerated incubator programme.
Organised by the Innovation Technology Management Office (ITMO) of the institution, the event showcased the entrepreneurial brilliance of young minds selected from across the country.
Peter’s innovative venture, Travaye, a digital platform designed to assist tourists, low-income earners, and individuals seeking exciting places and locations to visit, emerged overall winner. His success was the result of a rigorous six-week incubation programme, where he honed his business acumen and entrepreneurial skills.
The closing ceremony, which was held at the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre (AMDRC), was witnessed by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Digital Economy, Communication and Innovation, to the President Jennifer Adighije.
Addressing the first set of cohorts, Adighije identified the critical role of innovation as a key driver of economic growth and competitiveness.
She observed that despite Nigeria’s struggling economy, the start-up ecosystem has remained a hub for innovation, a source of hope, and an assurance of a better future for the nation.
She charged the cohorts to seek opportunities with innovative creation as the non-oil sector has suddenly become the new oil boom, attracting local and international investors.
According to her, “over a billion-dollar investment flowed into the Nigerian market from viable start-ups in 2022, which made up 28.4 per cent of Africa’s total funded ventures, with Nigeria receiving 29.3 per cent of the continent’s total investments.
“As part of the vision to ensure three million talents are empowered, let me say that Nigeria’s hope for economic growth and employment opportunities can only be driven by the growing youthful population as we look ahead.”
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, described the talents on display as immeasurable. Represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Lucian Chukwu, the vice chancellor highlighted how immeasurable the I2M project is to the institution.
She said Peter’s victory not only marks a personal achievement, but also stands as a testament to the academic excellence and innovative spirit fostered within the institution.
She reiterated the university’s leadership commitment to the creation of an enabling environment that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation through initiatives like the I2M accelerated incubator programme.
Director of ITMO, Dr Abiodun Gbenga-Ilori, said the competition is a culmination of weeks of hard work and dedication by the participants, who had undergone intensive training and mentorship.
She disclosed that 20 of the participants would receive N850,000 each, while another N500,000 would be awarded by the SSA to participants with outstanding start-up ideas as part of plans by the university and its partners to nurture and support aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as equip them with necessary skills and resources to succeed from ideation to commercialisation.
Similarly, Research and Innovation Systems for Africa (RISA) Country Head, Mrs Alice Omisore, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the six-week programme, noting that the exercise has met her organisation’s expectations.