Enterprise Challenge is a competition developed by the British Council, in partnership with Virgin Atlantic Airways and Zenith Bank. Firsts held in 2014, new partners for 2016 are Samsung and Etisalat.
The competition provides a platform for young, brilliant entrepreneurial minds to further develop their skills, businesses and bring their innovative ideas to the fore for possible future development. It is designed to test a range of consumerist skills, and this year’s competition will be open to Nigerians domiciled in Nigeria who fall within the 18 to 35-year-age bracket.
The initiative takes place during February with the theme of ‘Positive Disruption – in the field of entrepreneurship’.
Sensitive to the current economic climate, and the new government’s strategy to drive change within all sectors, the initiative’s goal is to identify and foster a ‘new breed’ of home-grown entrepreneurs. It is hoped that these individuals will act as future agents of change and, through their work, support the policies and strategies for economic diversification. In effect, they will act as the ‘disruptors’ of the status quo, driving much needed change and development within the Nigerian business environment.
There are three tasks within the competition with successful candidates shortlisted to the next level of intensity.
The competition stages are:
1st level task – Essay:
Participants were required to submit a 450-word essay. They were asked to examine the sectors that the new Nigerian government is looking to develop and offer their solutions (fresh or reengineered) to address the issues. 80 individuals with the most creative and thought-provoking essays were shortlisted for second task.
2nd level task – Video Pitch:
The 80 shortlisted candidates have been asked to develop their idea(s) for a product or service (already existing or in development) in line with the competition’s theme – Positive Disruption. To promote sustainability, the product or business should be based on the developmental needs within their local environment.
3rd level task – Panel Defence Pitch:
Twenty successful candidates will be chosen following the Video Pitch task. They will attend the Enterprise Boot Camp (see below), and go on to face a panel of industry experts to present and defend their idea(s) in this final task before three winners are chosen.
Enterprise Boot Camp
Held before the final pitch, and new for 2016, 20 participants will be provided with developmental support and mentoring by The Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship. This intensive three-day ‘boot camp’, held in Lagos, will focus on the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and business management. Candidates will be helped to further develop their idea(s) and presentation ahead of the final task.
The objective is to ensure that a wider pool of budding entrepreneurs have access to the skills building sessions compared to the first cycle, when only the two winners benefited.