Ten entrepreneurs received N950,000 business grant from the UK after three months of training, lectures and work placement during the Nigeria Creative Enterprise Support Programme.
Beyond the grants won, creative entrepreneurs who began the programme in January have learned the much-overlooked fact that the creative industry is more than a place to express talent and passion. It is serious business.
The Pitch Day event which was held on March 30th at the British Council Office, Ikoyi featured 20 finalists pitching their businesses with the highest level of professionalism, poise and an in-depth understanding of the financial aspect of running a creative business.
The programme organized by the British Council in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK, trained over 100 film and fashion entrepreneurs (50 per sector) before shortlisting to 50 entrepreneurs who then proceeded to the semi-final that produced 20 outstanding business innovation for the final pitch.
Each of the 20 entrepreneurs aspiring to be part of the final 10, pitched how their enterprises will fill gaps in the creative industry. Their presentations featured creative businesses bordering around menswear, female fashion items, leather bags and shoes, utility outfits, scriptwriting, film production, animation, cartoons to mention a few.
Impressed by the presentations, the panelists made a decision to support four more entrepreneurs (two entrepreneurs per sector) with £1000 each to scale their businesses. As stressed by the British Deputy Commissioner to Nigeria, Laure Beaufils, the decision to support more entrepreneurs with grants came about due to the struggle of the judges to select the most deserving of the businesses, as the enterprises were highly innovative, disruptive and promising.
Sharing her thoughts on the Nigeria Creative Enterprise Support Programme which started out in January with a series of intense training, work placements and mentorship from industry thought leaders, the British Council Country Director, Lucy Pearson, stated, “It’s been an intense three months. What we saw in the final pitch is fantastic. I am impressed at how they have grown their ideas, confidence and business acumen.”
Delivery partner and trainer for the fashion entrepreneurs, Ciorstadh Monk (Fashion Foundry, UK) also expressed excitement at the growth of the entrepreneurs, and how they have included in their final pitch all the lessons learned during her sessions with them. In her words, “It was amazing to see how far they have come, their finished collections, to see how they have developed their level of professionalism, and the collaborations they have made.”
The immense support given by the UK to the Nigeria Creative Industry will create room for partnerships, collaborations and give room for Nigerians to access new and global markets.