LEAP Africa empowers young entrepreneurs through innovation
LEAP Africa, a leadership development and youth focused organisation has over the past 16 years of its existence assisted many young Nigerians to develop their capacities in areas of entrepreneurship, leadership skills as well as make them employable.
To celebrate and showcase young and social chain-makers in Nigeria, Leap Africa in 2008 started the All Nigerian Youths Leadership Awards (ANYLA) where after a number of years translated to Social Innovators Program (SIP).
It is a year-long fellowship programme where 20 young entrepreneurs also referred to as fellows have a week-long residual training programme where they are groomed into strong, sustainable, strategic, innovation and scale-able social enterprises.
This year, the organisation has begun another round of capacity building programme such as SIP, which will enable participants to also go through six months mentoring programme, e-learning interventions and be connected to funders and other networks to help them build a more resilience structure in their areas of expertise.
At the end of year award ceremony, three outstanding fellows would be awarded N1million by Union Bank, the sole sponsor of the programme.
Last week, during the one week residual training programme at the Nigerian Breweries Star Academy, the strategic manager and innovation lead, Union Bank, Ehi Onwudiwe, who took the fellows on strategy, development and implementation, told The Guardian that it is not just about having a plan but developing responsibilities and timelines on how projects could be carried out to achieve expected outcome.
The Acting Executive Director, Leap Africa, Femi Taiwo said SIP is assisting young entrepreneurs build the right scale with the right structures and systems in place.
According to him, “We look at the innovativeness of the idea; we also want a track record of a minimum of one year where we look at people that show their seriousness of purpose, what they have done in a minimum of one year or 18 months before applying for the program. Innovative, track record, potential to scale as they are demand driven, these are the primary things we watch out for.
“The whole idea of the workshop and training is for them to attract more finance into their businesses. During the course of the year, a number of them gets funding through our partners because we push them out to the open and assist them to help them improve their businesses and structures so they can attract much funding, that is the major value that we add.”