Five early-stage startups have emerged as winners of the Grooming Endowment Trust (GET) pitch and demo day competition. This comes as the Trust unveiled its 2023 cohort at an elaborate ceremony which was held in Lagos.
The cohort comprises 10 early-stage startups receiving up to N65 million in equity-free funding. This was a marked increase from the N55 million grant awarded to startups in its previous cohort, an increase that buttresses GET’s excitement at the impressive array of innovations in the current cohort.
The five winning startups are:
- MyFoodAngels founded by Olapeju Umah is a food tech platform that connects customers with high-quality farm fresh foods and provides personalized recommendations.
- Wimika is a startup founded by Morakinyo Animasaun that provides digital fraud detection solutions.
- Evet, led by Stephen Obe, is a digital animal healthcare startup that increases access to animal healthcare.
- 8mg Health, is a wellness platform founded by Jennifer Esiaba that helps users access pharmacies and diagnostic services.
- Regxta, a digital bank led by Rukayat Bello offers loans, savings, data support and other financial products targeting over 600 million unbanked population of Africa.
Three of the five winning startups, Regxta, 8mg Health and MyFoodAngels are female-founded startups, a feat the Trust is most proud of as it reinforces its commitment to gender inclusion.
Speaking on the successful completion of the accelerator program, the Chairperson of GET, Ms Adaobi Okafor said it was an honour and that the Trust is happy that every startup in the second cohort left as a winner. She said the accelerator program was aimed at making them investment-ready so that they could put the funds into good use.
“It’s one thing to give them funds and it’s another thing to make sure they are investment-ready. Because if they are not investment ready they won’t know how to spend it. And that’s the idea of our accelerator program so that they are ready for investment,” she said.
GET 2023 cohort
The 2023 cohort represents GET’s second cohort following the successful completion of its first in 2022. The latest cohort comprises 10 early-stage startups set to create an impact case. The startups were selected following an open call for applications back in July. More than 1500 startups applied for the program but only 10 were selected after a thorough selection procedure.
Aside from the 5 winning startups, the other 5 startups that made it into the cohort are:
- Insync is a subscription-based mental health startup cofounded by Daniel Chenube that provides convenient and affordable access to mental healthcare in Africa.
- KoboPay, founded by Leslie Emenalo provides multi-currency solutions for Africa and globally.
- Craftmerce, a B2B marketplace founded by Sarah Odiavbara, is a technology platform that connects African artisans to mainstream retail partners with distributed production and enterprise management.
- Salubata, founded by Fela Akinse a startup that makes modula shoes from recycled plastic waste thus contributing to the decrease in global carbon footprint.
- Just Pulp, A holistic one-stop shop committed to providing the best quality on-demand gifts and gifting services in the country, founded by Chidimma Akobundu.
The 10 startups then underwent a 3-day boot camp to lay the foundation of creating an impact case after which they were given N1 million each to bring their ideas to life and create impact during the 7-week accelerator program.
After the accelerator program, on Friday, 15th December 2023, the startups pitched their solutions to a panel of 3 judges with seasoned experience in the startup space. The judges are Olajumoke Oduwole, Ireayo Oladunjoye, and Simi Olusola.
Following the pitch session, 5 winners were selected for the overall prizes. These winning startups got N9 million in equity-free funding.
While congratulating the winning startups, the Operations Manager of GET, Michael Adoghe charged them to consider the N9 million grant as a starting investment to help them achieve further impact.
He said: “You have completed the accelerator program, received funding so find your footing and our hope is that your startup becomes impactful and solves Africa’s challenges”.
He further charged them to be ready to produce at least four unicorn startups by 2033 that will be ready to support the grant program by helping GET empower more startups.
Dr Noel Ihebuzor, The Chairman of the Governing Council of Grooming Centre, GET’s key donor, awarded additional funding of N2 million each to the remaining 5 startups. He lauded the startups for having outstanding ideas deserving of support, even though they didn’t win.
While expressing his gratitude to partners like Kickoff Africa, the chairman said the whole idea for GET is to touch society by helping people to make an impact. He said this challenges people to redefine their metrics aside from the basic metrics in capitalism which revolves around money and the immediacy of reward. He noted that gratification can be delayed without losing direction.
“So in this whole enterprise, the real thing is to create social impact, create a groundswell of upliftment, because eventually when you lift people to that extent, you create a situation where more and more lifters are in position and lifting other people. We are very happy for the 10 startups that made it to this stage, we are happy for the GET team, for the effective way they have managed this cohort, and we are grateful to have partners like Kickoff Africa,” he finished.
Finally, the CEO of Grooming Centre, Dr Godwin Nwabunka, accompanied to the podium by the Chief of Staff of Kickoff Africa, Dolapo Olayoriju, enjoined the awardees to take advantage of the GET’s resources and remain keyed into the community of 36 companies which the centre has created.
He noted that just by being consistent and transparent and doing the right things, the centre has been able to attract partners and sponsorships. These all add up to the huge resource pool the centre is creating and making available to all its alumni.
GET is looking forward to its third cohort to be unveiled in 2024. The Trust is interested in supporting and empowering startup businesses in the areas of education, healthcare, technology, community development and humanitarian relief for the less privileged.
Becoming a member of the cohort is an inauguration into an ecosystem and community of 36 startups and businesses. Thus it goes beyond funding and extends into support, mentoring and access to other available resources for startups in the community.
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