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The Phoenix Project, Nigeria’s top creative learning platform, has empowered five young entrepreneurs with grants totaling five million naira for their businesses.

The winners were selected from a group of 12 finalists pitched their ideas to a panel of judges at The Phoenix Project Pitch event held at the Access Bank Headquarters, Oniru, Lagos.

The Phoenix Project, which debuted in April 2022, offers training and assistance to people wishing to start careers in Nigeria’s creative sector. In collaboration with the Pan-Atlantic University’s School of Media and Communication, the three-tiered curriculum offers beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels (both virtual and physical) as well as a three-month incubation program called the Phoenix Den at the Nest Innovation Tech Park.

Sitting on the panel of judges were Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya, Associate Partner, Sport, Entertainment and Technology (SET) / Regulatory and Compliance Practice – Olisa Agbakoba Legal; Chioma Ogwo, Head, Non-Financial Services, Emerging Businesses at Access Bank PLC; Jay Chukwuemeka, Partner / Creative Director at Imaginarium Marketing Communications; Peter Ogedengbe, Co-Founder, The Nest Innovation Tech Park; Olamide Olabisi, Managing Partner, Oand Global; and Colette Otusheso – CEO, Accelerate.

The five winners of The Phoenix Project Fund are Ikediashi, Creative Director of Arty Culture; Adekunle Blue, Co-Founder and Head of Development at Story Story Studios; Esther Omotayo-Omomule, CEO of OGE-ARA Brand; Oyeyiola-Ourias Oyinkansola Adesewa, CEO of Kiolart Studio; and Olawale Williams, Creative Director of Itan Studios. In addition to the financial support, the winners will also receive business support from Access Bank’s emerging business department as well as mentorship and access to an alumnus of industry experts who will support their business journey.

Speaking on Phoenix Project’s success so far, Colette Otusheso, CEO of Accelerate said, “We have recorded tremendous successes since we launched in April 2022. and today’s event is a testament that Nigeria is full of innovative young minds. Our course facilitators, our partners at the Pan-Atlantic University, the School of Media and Communication, the Nest Innovation Hub, and our internship partners have helped us impact young minds with the requisite knowledge they need to stand out in the Nigerian creative ecosystem. The ideas of the five entrepreneurs who were awarded grants of a million naira each have proven to be viable, authentic, and scalable and that is why the judges deemed them fit for the grant.”

Speaking further, Colette was enthused about the plans for 2023.

“The Phoenix Project plans to train more learners and incubate more ideas in 2023, offer more internship opportunities and add eight new courses to the existing twelve being offered on The Phoenix Project Online Learning Educational Platform. These courses are accessible to all creative minds.”

Chioma Ogwo, Head, Non-Financial Services, Emerging Businesses at Access Bank PLC added that the Phoenix Project is an initiative that can grow the Nigerian creative industry.

“It’s inspiring to see that despite the trend of many young people leaving the country, there are still those who are dedicated to driving Nigeria’s progress in the creative industry. At Access Bank, we are thrilled to be a part of this movement by supporting small and medium-sized businesses. We provide access to finance, training, as well as a network of like-minded entrepreneurs for support.”

The Phoenix Project is an exciting learning platform aimed at expanding the creative potential of Nigeria’s youthful population. The initiative, powered by Access Bank, seeks to fill the existing gap in the creative industry and provide the resources needed for individuals to succeed.

The Phoenix Project aims to support the Nigerian government’s effort at addressing youth unemployment in Nigeria over the next five years by leveraging the abundance of creative resources available to empower youths in the creative industry.