ALF Plaza, No 9, Bells Drive, Idiroko, Ota, Ogun state. Serenely located in the heart of Sango Ota and baked with some lush vegetation and flanked by a Hotel on the side. Well, this beautifully described venue will play host to the LYFECamp 2016 edition tagged ‘Youth and Entrepreneurship’.
December 16th came, and after months of planning and preparation, the participants started trickling in and registering on arrival. The event which has been put together by LYFE Corporation in partnership with Africa Leadership Forum (parent company of ALFTech Hub) kick started around 6pm on the first day. This was after a fair share of the participants had been registered.
The event got on to a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem which was followed by the opening address by the convener LYFE camp, Temitope Isedowo. After his address, he brought on stage the Executive Director of Africa Leadership Forum, Dr. Olumide Ajayi who gave short charge to the youths and participants in general. He further commended the idea of LYFE Camp while stressing that the achievements of the organizers are worthy of emulation by other youths in Nigeria and Africa. The other speakers on the night were Kehinde Fawumi from Germany and ALFTech Hub’s Tracy Uzamah who is an Incubation Specialist and business manager.
The highlight of the opening day was the surprise pitch which took place as 3 participant/teams were called randomly to pitch their products and services to an experienced panel of judges which included Dr. Olumide Ajayi. The best pitch went to ‘Help mum’ startup, the judges seemed pretty impressed with their idea while their presentation needed to be worked on according to the judges also. A welcome and brainstorming session capped what was an eventful opening day.
Day 2; Interactive sessions, Lectures and Executive Summary writings
Day 2 at LYFE camp and the participants were already getting used to the atmosphere. The morning session started with breakfast which was quickly followed by an interactive session with Adedeji Alebiosu of the ‘Made in Nigeria’ brand. The session was really engaging and interesting as he took time to answer various questions from the very fixated audience of entrepreneurs. He took time to even relate his personal experiences and how he got his breakthrough.
With the morning session done, the next speaker was Mr. Taiwo Falayi who spoke on the money aspect of Entrepreneurship. Worthy of mention was when he advised the audience not to pay their ‘sales guys’ on revenue rather on gross. He gave many instances of businesses that had gone wrong due to mismanagement and poor handling of income. Taiwo’s session was really refreshing and timely for the participants.
There was also a session for the Alumni of LYFE Camp to address the participants and share their own stories to inspire others, they were also brought in to give their takes on the various ideas of the participants. On the Alumni panel were Olatunde Ayilara of ‘Wara Cake’, Omowumi Ayeni of ‘DaHaven’ and Michael of ‘Discoveria’. The session was moderated by Olaoluwa Usman of GDG, Ibadan who is also an Alumnus of LYFE Camp.
The Sessions were not going to be complete without touching Social Media as it is one of the most effective tools or avenue to project your business and ideas. Who better to deliver such a presentation if not the Editor or ‘TheCable Nigeria’ himself, Fisayo Soyombo. Fisayo took the participants through lengthy presentation where he broke down how to effectively use Social Media to promote your brand, he also talked about seizing opportunities and taking advantage of situations and trending topics to grow one’s brand.
The 2nd day at LYFE Camp was rounded up with the Mentorship sessions as the participants were divided into groups and assigned to Mentors. Among the mentors at LYFE Camp were Silas Onwoche, Kehinde Fawumi. The mentorship sessions were to guide the participants on ways to go about their business development and promoting their brand.
Day 3; Pitching Practices and Competition
The business end of LYFE Camp. As at this time, some of the teams had been getting a clearer picture of the realities of the business world, others have started applying the tweaks where needed. Things were heating up and on day 3, the pitching practices were done in the morning as rehearsals for the proper pitching competition with invited judges later in the evening. This is the real deal!
The pitching contests were a real test as you could have an egg on your face if you went in unprepared. Since day 3 was majorly going to be about Pitching, the teams had started practicing very early in the morning in a bit to deliver in front of the judges. There were 4 different rooms in which the pitching was held and each had its own judge.
The participants now knew they were at the business end of the things. One could perceive this, as there was so much rush to complete presentations, Executive summaries and put the finishing touches to come out good before the judges. It is no Childs play to be an Entrepreneur.
Day 4; Grand Finale, Competition and Launch of ALFTech Hub, Ota.
If the first 3 days were packed full of activities, the finale was definitely the king of them all as there was so much to be done and yet so little time. LYFE Camp 2016 was really coming to an end, how time flies when you are having so much fun and learning at the same time.
The participants were all donned in their beautifully customized LYFE Camp tees and the finale kicked off to a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by Miss Rore, which was followed the convener’s address. In his address, Temitope thanked everyone who had contributed to making LYFE Camp a success and reiterated that LYFE camp would stay committed to improving the lives of the Nigerian youth through programs like this.
The Deputy Director of the African Ledaership Forum, Dr Olufemi Adebiyi was next to mount the stage to give his keynote address and he implored the participants to go on from LYFE Camp and utilize everything they have learned into becoming sucesful entrepreneurs. Dr Adebiyi also commended the organizers for the brilliant work they had put into the event.
Now, we were treated to the result of the pitching practices that were held the previous day as the teams were called out to pitch their ideas and brands before a panel of judgees. This compettion will produce the final teams that would be selected to be incubated by the ALFTech Hub. So it was a stern one.
One after the other, the teams were called out and eventually, 6 startups were slected for incubation. The startups would later be joined by some others after review by the panel of judgees. The startups announced on the final day were Arojintech, Help Mom, Comestibles, Bella 94, Green2Wealth and T.K Foods.
One of the headliners of the event was Chude Jidenwo (a Lawyer, Journalist and Media Entrepreneur),he breezed into the hall when the pitchings were ongoing and shortly after, he wowed the entire audience with a very motivational speech. The applause that followed showed that everyone loved it. He surely put a cap on what had been a memorable experience for the participants and organizers.
After the speeches and competition, there was only one thing left before LYFE Camp was officially declared closed. This was the official launch of ALFTech Hub, the hub which large enough to take up 500+ people at a sitting is suitably located inside the ALF secretariat which is neighbored by the Bells University of Technology. The official launch was carried out of course by the Executive Director of the African Leadership Forum, Dr. Olumide Ajayi. Dr. Ajayi stated that the opening of the Hub further legitimizes the commitment of the Forum in ensuring that the African youth is well equipped to take up the baton and lead the continent forward.
He described technology as the next big thing which is why such a structure has been built. Finally, he commended the ‘LYFECampers’ and the organizers while extending the doors of the hub to them should they need it in their quest to succeed as entrepreneurs.
So, after four (4) really eventful days, LYFE Camp 2016 officially came to an interesting end. A total of 23 startups will go directly into the incubation scheme of ALFTech Hub. There was surely a lot to smile about for many of the participants. Photo and Interview sessions wrapped up the event as many of the participants had to return to their various destinations nationwide.
This was indeed an awesome experience to write about.