by Kolapo Olapoju
On Wednesday, 30 July Nigerian business leaders and young ambitious entrepreneurs gathered on Wednesday as Mara Mentor, the entrepreneurship and youth empowerment focused initiative of Mara Foundation, hosted the pioneer Mara Mentor One-on-One event in Nigeria at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos.
The Mara Mentosr One-on-One event, a session organized for ambitious entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to experienced and inspirational business leaders, provided over 60 budding entrepreneurs with the opportunity to pitch their ideas to 28 industry experts and a place for a six-month mentorship period during which the experts would act as mentors providing guidance and direction for their entrepreneurial ambitions.
At the end of the session, Hetal Shah, Director – Operations, Mara Group announced that 50 budding entrepreneurs were selected for the six-month mentorship period. According to him, “our young entrepreneurs exceeded mentor expectations and made them select more than one mentee which was originally concept of the Mara Mentor One-on-One programme.”
The selected entrepreneurs will proceed for mentorship under the tutelage of a cross section of industry experts including: Adedoyin Odunfa, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Akudo Anyanwu Ikemba, Alibaba Akpobome GCFR, Audu Maikori, Bukky Karibi-Whyte, Chidi Mokeme, Chris Ubosi, Cynthia Mosunmola Umoru, Gogo Majin, Jadesola Rawa, Janet Adetu, Jimi Agbaje, Mark Essien, Olisa Adibua, Prof. Pat Utomi, Tope Jemerigbe, Uche Unaji, Teni Aofiyebi and many others.
According to Audu Maikori, “one striking thing about the Mara One-on-One event is the quality of business ideas from the mentees…they [mentees] showed that they knew exactly what they want in business.” His perspective propelled other mentors to personally announce the mentee (s) they picked for the six-month mentorship period.
Mara Mentor is an initiative of Mara Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Mara Group which operates in 22 African countries with 11,000 employees and was founded by Ashish J. Thakkar.