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Entrepreneurs Win as Mara Mentor One-on-One Event Exceeds Expectations

Nigeria’s entrepreneurship revolution kicked into another gear as Mara Mentor One-on-One expert-meet-ambitious entrepreneur business pitch session for budding entrepreneurs exceeds expectation.

LAGOS: July 30, 2014 – Top Nigerian business leaders and young ambitious entrepreneurs gathered on Wednesday in a rare occasion as Mara Mentor, the entrepreneurship and youth empowerment focused initiative of Mara Foundation, hosted the pioneer Mara Mentor One-on-One event in Nigeria at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos.

The Mara Mentor One-on-One event, a session organized for ambitious entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to experienced and inspirational business leaders, provided over 60 budding entrepreneurs with the opportunity to pitch their ideas to 28 industry experts and a place for a six-month mentorship period during which the experts would act as mentors providing guidance and direction for their entrepreneurial ambitions.

The business leaders, who are also mentors on Mara Mentor’s online entrepreneurship community (www.mentor.mara.com), grilled ambitious entrepreneurs (mentees) who were given three minutes each to pitch their business ideas in a clear and concise manner.

At the end of the session, Hetal Shah, Director – Operations, Mara Group announced that 50 budding entrepreneurs were selected for the six-month mentorship period. According to him, “our young entrepreneurs exceeded mentor expectations and made them select more than one mentee which was originally concept of the Mara Mentor One-on-One programme.”

The selected entrepreneurs will now proceed for the mentorship period under the tutelage of a cross section of industry experts including: Adedoyin Odunfa (CEO, Digital Jewels), Adesuwa Onyenokwe (Publisher TW Magazine), Akudo Anyanwu Ikemba (CEO, Friends Africa), Alibaba Akpobome GCFR, Audu Maikori (CEO Chocolate City Group), Bukky Karibi-Whyte (CEO, The Bobby Taylor Company), Chidi Mokeme (Nollywood Actor), Chris Ubosi (CEO, Megalectrics Ltd – Beat FM, Classic FM, Naija FM), Cynthia Mosunmola Umoru, Gogo Majin (CEO. Vocalize/GM4FM), Jadesola Rawa (Rep of Mo Abudu, Founder Ebony Life TV), Janet Adetu (CEO, JSK Etiquette Consortium), Jimi Agbaje (Chairman, Jay Kay Pharmacy), Hajia Lami Tumaka (Director Marine Guard, NIMASA) , Marek Zmyslowki (CEO Jovago.com), Mark Essien (CEO, Hotels.ng), Meka Olowola (Managing Partner, Zenera Consulting), Naomi Lucas (GraduatePro), Nkechi Ali-Balogun (Principal Consultant, NECCI), Olisa Adibua, Ononuju, Irukwu (MD Chapel Hill Denham), Prof. Pat Utomi (Chairman, CVL), Taizir Ajala (CEO, Gordon Barrett), Tope Jemerigbe (CEO, DKK Nigeria), Uche Unaji (CEO, Ouch!), Teni Aofiyebi (CEO, TKM Essentials) and Waje (Award-wining Musician).

According to Audu Maikori, “one striking thing about the Mara One-on-One event is the quality of business ideas from the mentees…they [mentees] showed that they knew exactly what they want in business.” His perspective propelled other mentors to personally announce the mentee (s) they picked for the six-month mentorship period.

“It was a rare privilege to have been selected from well over 35 million Nigerian youths and aspiring entrepreneurs,” one of the selected mentees, Raphael Ozue remarked.

The business leaders including Prof. Pat Utomi, Alibaba, Olisa Adibua, Jimi Agbaje, Uche Nnaji also commended Mara Mentor and the innovative nature of the Mara One-on-One event. They encouraged young entrepreneurs to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions and take advantage of mentorship opportunities.

Following the success of the event, Mara Mentor assured participants that it will facilitate interactions during the six-month mentorship period and also provide the mentees with further support during and after the event.

The Mara Mentor program was launched on July 29th, 2014 at the Democracy Day celebrations in Abuja, and is in partnership with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ministry of Youth Development, Ministry of Communication Technology, and the National Planning Commission. The programme is also supported by UN Women, Ernst &Young, Africa 2.0, Integrated Youth Economic Empowerment Programme (IYEEP), AGDC, Enactus, MTN, Airtel, Beat 99.9 FM, Pulse.ng, Enterprise54.com, TechCityNg and other local partners.

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