Nigeria is no doubt blessed with a lot of talented young people trying hard to find their feet in the various sectors, using technology as a veritable tool to reach, nurture, grow and interact with their clients.
A number of these start-ups are, however, in dire need of funding to keep their enterprises afloat until they become cash flow positive at the very least because profitability is usually a long term game. Meanwhile, Investors, whether angel or otherwise, make an investment decision only when a start-up is able to convince them that they know what they are doing. And the long process of investment starts with a presentation or a pitch as it is more popularly called.
I have come across start-ups who have valuable products and services yet they are unable to publicly share details of their enterprises. They probably fear that their ideas might be stolen or simply because pitching is not something they are used to. One thing is clear and probably inevitable in today’s world; every top CEO, executive or start-up founder has to master the art and act of communicating their value proposition, in the quickest and simplest way. I believe we should expose more start-ups to the world of pitching because the more they get involved in the process, the better they become.
My understanding of the importance of this led me to the kick-off, 1-on-1 with CFA pitch sessions, a quarterly event which is now in its third edition, where start-ups gather to compete on who gets to have a deeper conversation with CFA. The winner and runner up are usually selected by a panel of judges based on a number of criteria such as commercial viability, impact, paying customers, among others. So far, about 100 start-ups from different parts of the country have entered for the competition because they realise the need to keep improving and mastering their craft.
The National Information Technology Development Agency has been playing a supportive role for start-ups through the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In 2016 and 2017, the agency sponsored 16 and 10 start-ups respectively, to pitch at GITEX start-up competition for the Middle East and Africa region. In 2017, one of them sponsored was MyPadi.ng. I was very pleased with this development because the presentation made by the Chief Executive Officer of MyPadi.ng, Joel Amawhe, came top at the first edition of a pitch session we organised. It is important to stress that Amawhe was groomed to pitch well at an earlier edition of Startup South put together by — Finish Reading on the Punch