Will a Nigerian be the next Jeff Bezos?

When you hear the name Bezos, usually the image that flashes through your mind is the Dollar sign. Money! And don’t get it twisted we are a ‘money-people’ (maybe because we never get enough of it). “Money, money, o ego!”, popular Nigerian Highlife Musician, Adekunle Gold, crooned off in his song aptly titled ‘Money’. It’s the daily expectation of every Nigerian – “let me hammer today”. However, it’s an expectation that you can’t blame us for having. We all want to live better and be financially buoyant. The people who can do this in a phenomenal way are always a source of fascination for us.

“How did they do it?”, “How did these entrepreneurs strike gold?” Many of these people had an idea, started from the bottom, and worked tirelessly – innovating as they forged on. Inspiring, isn’t it? The idea that can end up breaking the bank! And 51 young Nigerians think they have got that idea and maybe more to spare!

Staff of MTN Nigeria during the What Can We Do Together campaign where communities received various facilities.

You’re wondering, “Which one is this again o?” It’s simple! The MTN has put N100,000,000 (yes, the zeroes are correct, it’s not a typo) on the table for 50 people to pitch a business idea that will change everything in Nigeria!

Business ideas that fulfil the stipulated criteria will be awarded a business facility worth 2 million Naira. These ideas must be viable, show promise, be enterprising, in addition to positively affecting the host community of the entrepreneur, amongst other requirements. Do you know what 2 million Naira can do for a start-up right now in Nigeria?! All 51 participants are MTN Foundation scholars, which means they are part of the 3,469 Nigerians that the Foundation has assisted through their university education. And these guys are brimming with ideas! Ideas that are poised to disrupt what we think. Why did you think we were warning Bezos?

Fiyinfoluwa Oyesanmi, a Computer Science graduate of the Ekiti State University is in love with smart cars and if he could make a wish, he would devote his life to them. He’s managed a smart car shop for a few years and would like to build his own. “Managing this shop has allowed me to see the gaps in the market. I understand cars. I understand its customers. I understand the market. I can do this!” he enthused.

All 51 participants have stories of triumphs as they have shown tenacity in trying situations. This facility will go a long way in transforming their lives and their communities. Nnabude Christian Uchenna, another participant put the effect of the facility award in the best way possible, “It will help me grow my business into an empire!”

Excited young Nigerians during one of the free trainings facilitated by MTN in 2019.

In 2019, the Foundation facilitated free trainings for 75 of the scholarship recipients. The training was delivered by experts from the Lagos Business School and Bank of Industry. They were tutored on developing a pitch deck, guidelines for pitch presentation and how to develop a bankable business plan. Now we wait to see who gets the facility and why!

During one of the free trainings facilitated by MTN in 2019

On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, the first half of the pitch will be held at the MTN Office, Ikoyi, Lagos. The rest of the participants will pitch the next day at the same venue. Fifty ideas that can give Bezos a run for his money. Fifty ideas that can make Nigeria a lot easier to live in!


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