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54 entrepreneurs get funding from Microsoft Nigeria and The Future Project’s ‘Accelerate LABS’ Initiative

Fifty-four winners have emerged from the Accelerate LABS program, an initiative of The Future Project supported by Microsoft Nigeria. The winners were announced during the Grand Demo Day held at the City Mall, Lagos on Saturday, 30 June, 2018. 
The Demo Day provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn, network, and pitch innovative ideas to investors so as to scale for impact. 
Speaking at the event, Project Lead of The Future Project, Bukonla Adebakin said: “Our quest to identify, spotlight, and support the most innovative entrepreneurs with impactful ideas has taken us to all the corners of the country including Abuja, Edo, Enugu, Kaduna, Bauchi and now, Lagos. Getting the best young minds across the country to showcase their ideas have been a fascinating experience as well as an eye-opening one as we have seen them accomplish mind-blowing feats”. 
Divided into 3 streams, participants went through a 12-week incubation process covering taught sessions, mentorship, research and development. The initiative is blended in structure through Online and In-Class training, supporting different sectors of the economy ranging from technology, fashion, education, agriculture, transportation, and others to stimulate development.
“The initiative doesn’t just up-skill young people looking for an alternative to the conventional career route, but it also gives them tools and opportunities to put those skills to excellent use. Winners from Accelerate LABS Stream 1 have gone ahead to ‎access funds from our partner organizations. They represent a new generation of businesses, scion of the pilot phase of the program launched a year ago,” she added.
Speaking to participants and guests at the event, Olusola Amusan, Citizenship Lead, Microsoft Nigeria stated that the project has successfully trained over 2,212 participants across Nigeria, thereby “boosting employment opportunities, working to eradicate poverty, promote quality enterprise education, and contributing positively to national GDP”. 
He further explained that the initiative is strategically positioned by Microsoft Nigeria to support the next generation of entrepreneurs by equipping them with resources needed to gain financial independence while seeking opportunities to scale, create employment, and impact the economy.
Launched in August 2017, Accelerate LABS aims to empower selected young entrepreneurs by providing technological resources, training, mentorship, and seed funding necessary to build socially-responsible businesses in their communities.

About The Future Project

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The Future Project has a mandate to build empowered citizens across Africa, through (inclusive) enterprise and (active) citizenship. This focus on Human Capital Development is informed by our value proposition: Africa’s growth needs a generation of young people who are gainfully employed and able to demand and secure better leadership.

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Projects include Aiki.ng, an employability portal presented with Microsoft; the Nigeria Symposium for Young & Emerging Leaders, #StartupsAfrica, Intern4Jobs, YMonitor.org presented with National Endowment for Democracy (NED), The Future Enterprise Support Scheme and The Future Awards Africa, described as ‘The Nobel Prize for Young Africans’.

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Founded by the Chude Jideonwo and Adebola Williams, TFP is supervised by a Global Board of Advisors drawn from Africa, Europe, North America and the Middle East, including the Coordinating Minister of the Nigerian Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Senior Economic Advisor with the Open Society Foundations, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili; co-founder of ONE, Jamie Drummond and the Chief of Cabinet with the Africa Development Bank, Anne Kabagambe.

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