As we celebrate the success stories of the Ugwumba Enterprise Challenge since inception in 2018, it is my pleasure to point out here that our job creation program was carefully designed to enable us “catch them young.”
It is a deliberate attempt by me and my team to contribute to the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria and across the African continent. This is because, we strongly believe that the Government cannot do it alone. In fact, in the developed countries of the world, the Government is only saddled with the responsibilities of creating enabling environments for entrepreneurs to survive and for businesses to thrive, and not to create jobs. That may be why the various attempts of the Government to create jobs are not yielding the desired results.
Since the launch of the Ugwumba Enterprise Challenge in 2018, over 80% of the participants are university students from across the country. In fact, they do not stop at participating in the various editions, many of them have won our star prizes.
In 2019, Gift Muoneke, an Electrical and Electronics Engineering student of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri won our second star prize of seven hundred thousand naira (N700,000) with his solar energy startup called, Greenera Technologies.
After winning our prize in 2019, we facilitated his participation at the Youth Innovation Challenge at the 2020 Funding Space, where he emerged the overall winner and received a prize of one million, five hundred thousand naira (N1,500,000). Today, Gift Muoneke’s Greenera Technologies is fully incorporated with a team that is driving its mission of supplying power to rural dwellers in Imo State and environs. It is remarkable for me to point out here that Gift and his team built a mini grid that is supplying power to market women and traders in Eziobodo market in Owerri West LGA in Imo State.
In the same 2019 edition, we also had a wonderful business pitch from Jumobi Habeebat Liasu-Thomas, a Medical Student of the Lagos State University College of Medicine as one of the top 10 finalists. Even though, she did not win the star prize, she was empowered to take her afrocentric fashion brand, Peach ‘n’ Prim to the next level. Today, her company is exporting well-crafted and deeply rooted African pieces with a touch of western style out of the country.
In 2020, Valentine Nnamani, a student of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri won our second star prize of seven hundred thousand naira (N700,000) with his Next Origin Technologies, an energy startup.
Another student, Ruth Ede, a student of the Michael Okpara College of Agriculture, Umudike also emerged third place and received five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) at the highly contested edition with Scratop, a startup that converts bio-waste into organic fertilizers.
Let me inform you that after winning our prize in 2020, Ruth again won the star prize of one million naira (N1,000,000) at the Catch Creativity Challenge in 2021 and has continued to make us proud since then.
This year, the overall winner of the just concluded Ugwumba Enterprise Challenge, Mr. Alomaja Godwin from Ondo State is a corper (NYSC) serving his fatherland in Abuja. He is a fresh graduate of Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology.
Alomaja mesmerized our judges and the entire audience with his energy startup that builds automatic change over switches with remote control and coasted home with one million naira (N1,000,000) prize alongside the other two winners: Kedei Ibiang and Fortune Obieze who also won N1m each.
These are just a few of them I can remember for now. Like I said earlier, “catching them young” was at the back of our mind when we were designing this job creation and employment generation program in 2018. The impacts are there for all to see. Most of the winners and top finalists in the 4 editions are today employers of labour and are contributing to the overall GDP of our country, Nigeria.
How else do people become good citizens of their country than what I, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu and my team are doing at the Ugwumba Leadership Center? Let’s discuss now….
I am your brother and friend, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, the Founder and President of the Ugwumba Center for Leadership Development in Africa.