Startups Get Accolades from FIELD Africa @ The Solution 2016 Abuja

No fewer than four (4) social enterprise ventures were showered with honors on Saturday November 5, at an event which held in Abuja, tagged THE SOLUTION, as they received the FIELD Africa 2016 Impact Award for using Innovation and Entrepreneurship to drive inclusive development in Africa. Participants at the event include; Two federal ministers, a diplomat and many industry leaders and startup enablers.

The budding entrepreneurs who were drawn from various parts of the Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States, with innovations cutting across sectors such as Health, Agriculture and Power included; Katherine Kirsch, who together with her co-founder, Carolyn Yarina founded Sisu Global Health. Their company, though based in the United States, created Hemafuse for emerging markets. Hemafuse is a device which pulls blood from bleeding patients and transfuses it back into their system, eliminating blood loss.

Others are Uchay Ariolu, a Lawyer turned entrepreneur who founded Foodstantly.com, an on-line market place for food produce. Charles Balogun who seeks to power up Africa with a noiseless, fuel less and carbon less power generating set. He founded Photaz Energy. Also is Elia Timotheo, the founder of EA Fruits and Vegetables, Tanzania. He is using technology to eliminate post harvest loss of perishables.

Speaking during his opening address, FIELD Africa Lead Enterprise Coach, Mr. Orji Austin described the assembly as not being one to discuss problems but to showcase solutions and engage in the necessary conversations to accelerate and amplify great and innovative solutions from education to clean energy, health care to agriculture and technology to sanitation.

Right: Austin Orji

He further noted that, “Unemployment is on the increase, with over 120 million youths to join the job market in Africa by 2020. The Lead Enterprise Coach emphasized that The Solution Platform will continually reveal the new reality of Africa; where young people are providing leadership for the continent and taking responsibility for the advancement of the region. He stressed that many have associated innovation and technology to loss of jobs and opportunity but called on Africa youths to foster innovation that drives prosperity and inclusion for the poor, he further challenged investors to focus on investment that does not only bring returns for shareholders but to all stakeholders, including the communities where they do business.

The event which held at The Continental Hall of Riez Continental Hotel, served as an aggregation point for various stakeholders in the social enterprise space, government functionaries, the diplomatic community and the press. Notable among dignitaries who were present are, the Honourable Minister of Environment, who was represented by the Ministry’s Director of Special Duties, Mr. Oyesomi G.A., The representative of the Honourable Minister of Education, Mr. Adesoji F.O., The representative of the Tazanian High Commission in Nigeria, Ms. Fatab Rajab, Representatives of the World Health Organization, Dr. Andrew Mbewe and the representative of the USAID-SACE, Mr. Charles Abani.

Also in attendance were key entrepreneurship and innovation drivers, investors and investment networks who took turns to address salient issues in the African entrepreneurship sphere, pointing out problems bedeviling startups in the continent and proffering panaceas to the problems. Remarkable among them was Mrs Yemi Keri, who represented The Rising Tide and The Lagos Angel Investment Network. Panel discussions and keynote addresses were some of the approaches deployed to drive home the message.

The high point of the event was the pitch session and handing out of awards to the awardees. The young business founders took turns highlighting the problems and putting forth the solution they have created to address said problems. Noteworthy among them was Elia Timotheo who pitched his company live from an office in Tanzania via Skype. Thereafter, was the handing out of the Impact Awards to the recipients.

Meanwhile, the event served as a platform for the recognition of Prof. Pat Utomi by the organizers. Prof. Utomi was dubbed the Role Model of the year. Although not present at the venue, he delivered a keynote address to an audience of young business owners and intending entrepreneurs through a telecast.

Also, on the sideline of the event was the unveiling of the Memories of Impact (MI) magazine by the organizers. A magazine poised to herald emerging innovators and influencers in the continent of Africa, by telling their stories. The magazine’s maiden edition puts the spotlight on Tony Elumelu, describing him as the hero of African youth entrepreneurs, as he spoke to the magazine crew in an interview about his vision for African entrepreneurs through the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP).

Also featured on the edition are the awardees at the event and other inspiring startup stories drawn from various parts of the continent.

The organizers announced their untiring commitment to continue to foster the development of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa as they ended the event by inviting the general public to apply and nominate young business leaders for the 2017 Impact Award which opens in December 2017 as well as collaborate with FIELD Africa for The Solution 2017 which promises to have a more robust dialogue.


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