In a publication released in 2019, there were some revealing and scary revelations about the fate of start-ups and small businesses in Osun State as far as issues of business management, funding and other important factors that could lead to sustainable businesses in the state are concerned. For funding, the records are poor. For instance, it was noted that in 2018, a total sum of $334.5 million was pumped into the Nigerian Startup Ecosystem and no start-up in the state was a beneficiary. Again, it was observed that the Q2 Report of 2019 for Startup funding revealed that $73.68 million, that is approximately N26, 524,800,000, was pumped into the Nigerian Startup Space. No single naira of this humongous funding opportunity found its way to Osun.
This poor statistics is enough to send concerned Osun Eggheads some disturbing signals as to the state of the State economy. Strong economies are built on the power of small and medium enterprises. So, what factors are responsible for this appalling performance of the Osun startup sub ecosystem within the larger Nigerian Startup architecture? Analysts observed that Osun youth have the energy and the ideas to power the state Economy. However, there was lack of information and guidance on how to access funding and leverage on funding opportunities. There was also a dearth of business management skills coupled with inability to design successful business models.
This spurred the idea of a six-month accountable mentorship and training for Osun youths who have ideas or existing businesses but lack the required skill sets and knowledge to run successful business enterprises. It is a programme meant to take participants through the process of business development – ideation, incubation, and acceleration.
The objective is to take the selected participants through a six-month business development training that will cover idea conceptualization, refinement, validation, business planning, business models and funding. The initiative is to make those with new ideas to develop them to capture value while those with existing business are to take a second look at their value proposition and redefine them to offer more value and take a proper shape of a start-up. So, Saturday 18 January, 2020 marked the beginning of that six-month journey.
The Osun SkillUp MeetUp began on a very good note. In all, 54 young business owners and those with ideas registered; 3o were selected by the convener and the two facilitators. Out of the 30 selected, 22 participants showed up from 30. We had representations from Ibadan, Iwo, Ila, Ife and Osogbo.
Number of Registered, Selected and Participants that attended the January Meetup
Source: Adebiyi, 2019
Mutiu Iyanda engaged them on how to identify opportunities and turn them into business ideas. He used the opportunity canvas to demonstrate this laden with statistics. In Osun, to overcome youth entrepreneurship issues, there is a lot to do. And we can’t operate without the numbers. He took them through value propositions and capturing.
Muitu Iyanda taking the particpants through the process of identifying opportunities
Olasupo Abideen took the participants through the process of securing funding for their businesses. He used the Tony Elumelu Foundation grant application process to illustrate this. The bloodline of any business is funding. We can not talk about successful businesses without pointing to the availability of funds. No youth could be empowered without them having access to funds. Though, a business does not thrive on funding alone. Sound business management processes too matter a great deal.
Abideen Olasupo during his facilitation
January Meetup : Lessons Learnt about Youth Entrepreneurship in Osun
#From the speaking sessions and the panel session, it was obvious that young entrepreneurs in Osun have the ideas. But, they lack information and a clear cut support to upscale their businesses and ideas.
#There is still a lot to do empowering them through a sustainable youth entrepreneurship policy that creates a conducive environment for them to ideate, nurture the ideas and accelerate those ideas. That is the trend all over the world even in the developed world where the unemployment rate is not as high as ours.
#We need to ensure we have collaboration and partnership with Corporate organizations to facilitate the needed growth for the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Osun.
# We have to look at how people in Osun are making use of the funding infrastructure available to them.
# The young entrepreneurs should as well learn how to do proper documentation and create equity or stakes for investors without necessarily shooting themselves in the leg.
#Running a business just like building a career thrives on personal development. The young men and women were challenged to spend on themselves to acquire the necessary knowledge to run a successful business.
# Mentorship is key in business and career development. However, it must be built on exchange of value.
Volunteers and Facilitators at the MeetUp
Moving Forward on February Meetup : A Call to Action
The January edition has come and gone. At Skills, Business and Career Hub, we are already looking at the February edition. In February, the Meetup is looking at idea refinement, idea validation and business planning. We need willing volunteer facilitators both within and outside the state on these areas of business development. We are equally open to remote facilitation. We need a venue for the programme. January’s edition’s venue was sponsored by a well meaning son of the state. We need refreshment for 40 people including the volunteers and other backroom staff. We require accommodation for the facilitators if they are coming from outside the state. The two facilitators for January slept in Osun without collecting anything for both the facilitation and their accommodation. These could be provided without giving out cash. Just tell us how you want it.