Dutch Nigerian Student Business Challenge

Nigerian and Dutch students join forces in Delft

How can we turn waste products into valuable feedstock? How can nomads access the local market to sell their cows’ milk? And what would be the best way to market a low-cost tool to diagnose malaria? These are some of the challenges that Dutch companies operating in Nigeria, like Friesland Campina, Heineken and Unilever, are setting bright minds both from Nigeria and the Netherlands. Last week 12 Nigerian students travelled to Delft to team up with 12 Dutch students from TU Delft, Wageningen university and Erasmus university to tackle these challenges together. The results will be presented in the last week of October in Nigeria.

Divided up into six teams, the students worked for a full week on innovative and entrepreneurial solutions for problems the country faces in the areas of health, energy, water and food. To support their efforts Rabobank provided financial training, while local companies and startups shared their expertise. The students were also offered a number of courses by TU Delft, varying from administration and product marketing to business ethics. By the end of the week they presented the results of their work to a jury which looked at the viability of the plans and offered tips on how to develop them. The teams will be working hard in the next few weeks, albeit at a distance. The Nigerian students are going home and the team members will be communicating via Skype until they meet up again in Nigeria in the final week of October. At the end of their stay they will be presenting their business cases to the companies involved who will decide which of the solutions is most likely to succeed in practice.

Entrepreneurship
The innovative business case challenge is organised by TU Delft, the Dutch embassy in Nigeria and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, in partnership with its Nigerian partner The Passion Incubator. The aim is twofold: improving entrepreneurial skills and promoting concrete solutions for the partners involved resulting in more startups and cooperation initiatives.

Global challenges
Nigeria is facing rapid population growth, from its present 178 million inhabitants to an estimated 914 million in 2040. Meanwhile youth unemployment is increasing, as is urbanisation. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency set up the Dutch-Nigerian Business Challenge to approach these problems in an innovative and entrepreneurial way. TU Delft has become involved through its TU Global Initiative, which focuses on concrete solutions for global problems in developing countries.