Five Nigerian start-ups have emerged at the Orange Corners Innovation Pitch Competition, giving them access to a €120,000 start-up capital comprising 75 per cent grant and 25 per cent loan.

The fund is provided by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

The entrepreneurs, who emerged first to fifth place winners are Oyewale Akintonde (founder of Agristi), Anita Dafeta (founder of Origho Lagos) and Israel Alabi, who founded Farmspeak Technology). Others are the founder of Vudoh, Victoria Udoh and her counterpart at D’Olivette Global Enterprise, Tunde Adeyemi.

Orange Corners is an initiative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands launched in Nigeria in 2019 and implemented by FATE Foundation. The Orange Corners Incubation Programme supports 20 entrepreneurs with enterprise development knowledge, mentoring, access to market and funding every six months.

To date, the programme has supported 100 entrepreneurs with funding valued over ₦250,000,000 for prototype development and testing.

The Orange Corners Innovation Fund (OCIF) Pitch Competition held in December at FATE Foundation marked the end of the fifth Cohort of the incubation programme, a statement by the organiser said.

The winning businesses were assessed by an expert jury made up of Investment Manager, Orange Corners Innovation Fund, Tolulope Owolabi; Head Commercial Controlling and Financial Planning, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Omitogun Olalekan and Business Development Manager, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ekundayo Adedoyin.

Attending the event were Head, StartUp and Youth Enterprise FATE Foundation, Oge Nnaife.

In her congratulatory speech to the entrepreneurs, Nnaife said: “You are pitching today to access funding to scale up your business, but you must remember that the knowledge received during the six-month Orange Corners Nigeria Incubation programme is invaluable. You must, therefore, ensure that you practicalise your learning as you journey on this road called entrepreneurship.

“Though the Nigerian business environment is harsh, porous and unfriendly, it is still evolving and we will continue to contribute to ongoing policy conversations to create an enabling environment so that your businesses can thrive and not be stifled. We have designed the Orange Corners Incubation Curriculum in such a practical and experiential way.”

She urged them to leverage the programme to grow their businesses and make social impacts while appreciating FATE Foundation for showing the pathway to success.

The sixth cohort of the incubation programme is currently ongoing and will run till July 2022.

Entrepreneurs admitted into the programme are residents in Lagos, between 18 and 35 years and demonstrate innovative and sustainable solutions that have significant economic and social impacts particularly in economy, agriculture, healthcare, renewable energy, water solution and information and communication technology.