On the 12th of November 2016, I woke up to see 2 missed phone calls from Busola “Helper of the world” I figured she was calling because she missed my calls the previous night. I did some morning activities and then her call came in again, she quickly informed me that there was a business case challenge at a public secondary school in Lagos that morning and she needed me to be a judge, I had planned to sleep in all day because the previous day was really hectic but then she falls into category of people that it’s hard to say no to and it was a good thing i was going to do so i said Yes. We got to the venue in an hour’s time, We had about 100 students ready to pitch their business ideas using the Business model canvas which i was very familiar with, from the initial 100 applicants 6 finalist would be selected and one would emerge the winner. The winner would get a seed fund to help start up their business. There were two tables with two judges each on the table who were to score the applicants after their 1 minute pitch.
During the screening i heard different ideas, the generic ones such as catering service, fashion designing, farming…some missed the point and one guy even spoke about wanting to make an aircraft for personal use (Oga do you even know how much it costs to build an aircraft? ), another came with a funky designed stuff called a drone helicopter to be used for commuting (Well done sir, the clear effect of sci-fi movies but can this stuff even fly?? ), a fair number brought in solar power related business ideas, i guess we’re many that are for renewable energy. I was impressed with many of the ideas and felt many didn’t even need to be here as they could start off right away, knowing that majority would not end up the winner, i focused more on chipping in words of advice on how they could make their business more feasible and cut down unnecessary costs e.g Hair dressing salon business idea, you don’t need to rent a shop for starters as you could use a space in your house or do home service till things scale up to the point when you need a shop (it might seem like common sense to you but it wasn’t to some of them) or those with ambitious engineering related ideas should focus for now on learning more about the designs and processes and could even work under someone or a company to improve their competence before stepping out to build their ‘master piece’.
The whole exercise was quite exhausting as my panel screened at least 50 applicants. However i left there with an updated perspective to life. Judges are human beings who make subjective decisions, if i could go back in time i’d have scored some ideas higher than i earlier did because i felt they should have gotten to the final round. It happens many times, you don’t get chosen because you weren’t good enough or maybe because the person choosing didn’t make the right call.
The winners of competitions don’t end up being the most successful. Winner or not i’d keep pushing!