Image Credit: Endeavor Nigeria

Last Wednesday, high-impact entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and investors, gathered under the soft golden lights in the restaurant Jinja (inside EbonyLife Place) for Endeavor Nigeria’s annual networking event. The event, which was held on the 3rd of August, was part of Endeavor’s efforts to encourage relationships among entrepreneurs, mentors, and Endeavor Nigeria Board members, awarding those who have shown exceptional dedication to the Endeavor community, and build connections within the broader digital ecosystem.

Image Credit: Endeavor Nigeria

In the room were key players such as Ngozi Dozie and Chijioke Dozie, co-founders of Carbon, a digital bank that took home the “One Endeavor” award. This was an award for the “Endeavor Entrepreneur who has actively engaged with Endeavor’s global network across 41 markets”.  Etop Ikpe, CEO of Autochek (represented by Mayokun Fadeyibi, the company’s Senior Vice President for West Africa) also received an award for “Going Big”. Autochek, a vehicle trading and financing startup, has made great strides since its launch in 2020. They raised $13.1 million in seed funding last October and have expanded to 9 countries since launching in the middle of a global pandemic.

Image Credit: Endeavor Nigeria

Other awardees of the night include:

  • Topsy Kola-Oyeneyin (McKinsey & Company) – “Pay It Forward” Award, for being “the Endeavor mentor who has donated the most hours”.
  • Mrs Yinka Edu (Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie)  – “Network of Trust” Award, for being “the network member who displays a commitment to fostering a trustworthy environment”.
  • Mrs Adebisi Lamikanra (Fmr KPMG)  – “Entrepreneur First” Award for being a network member “who has shown exceptional commitment to Endeavor Entrepreneurs”.

Some other distinguished guests in attendance were Bolaji Balogun (CEO, Chapel Hill Denham), Andrew Alli (Group CEO, SouthBridge Group), Seni Adetu (Former Managing Director/CEO Guinness Nigeria Plc and Chairman Diageo Brands Nigeria), Adia Sowho (Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria), Nicholas Hill (Vice Presient, Private Banker, Citibank), and Honorable Dr. Rabiu Olowo (Commissioner for Finance, Lagos State). 

Endeavor was founded in 1997 in the United States by Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner. The idea behind the network was based on the belief that job creation, innovation, and overall prosperity flourish where there is robust support for high-impact Entrepreneurs. Endeavor identifies and selects high-impact entrepreneurs and propels their companies towards scaling faster, while also helping these entrepreneurs pay it forward. Tosin Faniro-Dada currently leads the Nigerian office as Managing Director and CEO. Kicking off the evening with her opening speech, she spoke of the progress the network has made so far this year, which includes launching The Inflection Point Report on Africa’s economy and tech ecosystem, in partnership with McKinsey and Company. She also announced that Endeavor has welcomed 9 high-impact entrepreneurs leading 3 high-growth companies into the network this year: Adetayo Bamiduro, Guy-Bertrand Njoya, and Chinedu Azodoh of, the mobility startup; Michael Moreland, Peter Bunor, and Justin Lorenzon of Field Intelligence, the pharmaceutical supply chain company; and Somto Ifezue, Odunayo Eweniyi, and Joshua Chibueze of PiggyVest, the savings and investment fintech.

Image Credit: Endeavor Nigeria

Endeavor’s community of high-impact entrepreneurs operates as a highly selective network as it is interested in high-impact entrepreneurs whose companies are at an inflection point for growth and could be turbocharged by Endeavor’s network. The selection process involves multiple interviews and its rigour helps participating candidates strengthen their business models.

As part of Endeavor’s network, selected entrepreneurs have access to a global support network of local and international business mentors, entrepreneurs, investors, and volunteers who are all dedicated to the entrepreneurs’ progress. Another perk of becoming an entrepreneur in this network is that the network makes significant financial investments in its member companies through its rules-based fund,  Endeavor Catalyst

Atedo Peterside CON, the board chairman of Endeavor Nigeria, also spoke at the event. In his speech, he thanked entrepreneurs in the network citing the impact they’ve made on the African economy. 

“Our entrepreneurs have raised significant capital, expanded to other African markets, and are on their way to creating a lasting impact on our economy and beyond,” he said. “In 2021, Endeavor Nigeria companies raised over $406.1M million and created over 14,000 direct and indirect jobs.” Endeavor Nigeria now runs a wide network made up of 33 entrepreneurs, 15 companies, and 33 mentors. 

Image Credit: Endeavor Nigeria

The energy in the room grew more vibrant as the evening wore on. Waiters passed around food and drinks as guests reconnected, shared business tips, exchanged cards, and formed acquaintanceships.

Going forward, Endeavor plans to continue its usual operations, and later in the year it will host its annual scale-up entrepreneurship summit for high-growth companies, titled “Catalysing Conversations”. The theme for this year is “Building Big Bubbles: Investing in the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs in Africa“. It will take place on the 22nd of September 2022.

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