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Three undergraduates win N3m business idea contest prize in Cross River

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Three undergraduates from the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife (OAU) and Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) have won N3m for their creative business ideas.

During the competition organised by Edugist Education Foundation and sponsored by African Plus Partners (APP), 13 participants made it to the finals in the first contest aimed at encouraging and mentoring undergraduates to start their own businesses.

A 300 level Mechanical Engineering student of FUTO, Emmanuel Uchechukwu, whose business proposal entails turning wastes into clean energy, won the star prize of N1.5m at the weekend in Calabar, Cross River State.

The second and third prizes of N1m and N500, 000 were won by Princewill Oke of OAU and Abosede Peter of FUTA.

The other 10 contestants received N50, 000 each as consolation prizes with certificates of participation, an assurance of mentorship and free legal services for one year.

A visibly excited Uchechukwu thanked the organisers for giving them such an opportunity to start, grow their own businesses and become future employers.

He said when he got the information online, he thought it was a scam, but was later convinced and that was when he put in all his best through prayers and hard work.

“Having come from an average family, I sometimes find it difficult to fund my education, but the money would go a long way in realising my business dream,” he said.

Chief Education Officer of Edugist, Boniface Elvis, disclosed that they invited online entries for the event in October 2019 and that over 300 students applied from institutions across the country, from which the number was scaled down to 30 and the 13 finalists.

He said the event, which would be an annual one would be fashioned after Big Brother Naija in its second edition.

“We flew the participants from different parts of the country to Calabar, camped them for one week at our expense and organised excursions. These climaxed in what we call Meet The Lions, where they defended their business proposals before a panel of business leaders and entrepreneurs led by Chief Executive Officer of APP, Anhad Narua.

“They all had fantastic business ideas, but the panel adjudged three as the best and gave out over N3m to support and drive those ideas,” he said.

Narua promised that they would sustain the Nigerian Students Venture Prize and enlarge it in its second edition next year.


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