SOBA’s second cohort of the Business Innovation Lab (BIL) reached its conclusion on the 13th August 2017 with a final pitch competition, where judges assessed the business’ progress of eight entrepreneurs over the past three months. A first place prize of $5000 was awarded to Waheed Awonuga and Asad Naveed of Zoom Studio and a second place prize of $3000 was awarded to Saudatu Kargbo of Full Circle Africa Laundry.

BIL started with an intensive six-day accelerator training programme preparing entrepreneurs to secure customers, identify key cost drivers of their businesses, build prototypes, develop strategic plans and much more. The training programme took place over two weekends in May so working professionals could also partake.

Following the two weekends of business model validation training, the businesses received feedback from a panel of judges and $1000 in seed money to invest in their business. Over the past three months, the teams continued to refine their business models and grow their businesses. The same panel of judges, made up of representatives from Cordaid and Manocap, returned to select the winners of the three-month accelerator program. The judges looked for teams that demonstrated the greatest progress in their business over the past two months.

“The businesses in the Business Innovation Lab represented some of the highest potential entrepreneurs in the country,” said Jason Eaves, Business Innovation Hub Senior Lead. “Even though they competed for this grand prize, this cohort has become very close, and there are so many examples of collaboration.”

Throughout the Lab, the entrepreneurs learned how to accelerate the growth of their businesses by conducting rapid-prototyping, validating their assumptions with customers, and quickly iterating on their business models.

This final event allowed everyone involved to see the growth and progress these hand-selected competitors have made since the completion of the accelerator.

“Thank you to the SOBA team because you have really really improved my life. With the seed money I was able to feel comfortable in packaging, growing, advertising myself and to start my production line we which we believed was going to be in 2019.” – Carribean Fusion

“We would like to say a huge thanks to the iLab team. They’ve given us a life”- V Animation