WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Global Entrepreneurship Network is excited to announce the opening of Startup Huddle in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to help local entrepreneurs hone their pitch skills and discover solutions to the challenges they face.
Startup Huddle is a program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs. As an experiential learning opportunity, the Startup Huddle format is consistent in each location: on a given morning, one or two early-stage startup founders give a six-minute presentation of their companies to a diverse audience of peers, mentors, educators and advisers. Each presentation is followed by a 20-minute question and answer session.
Jason Agomuoh, the Startup Huddle organizer for Port Harcourt, is excited about the potential economic impact the Startup Huddle program will unleash in Nigeria. He said Port Harcourt is dominated by the oil and gas industry, but entrepreneurship provides an opportunity to diversify the economy in the region and create new avenues for economic development.
Agomuoy’s hope is that Port Harcourt will one day become known as the top technology hub in Nigeria and in the Niger Delta region.
“I believe that Startup Huddle will provide an avenue to connect, educate and facilitate problem solvers, thereby creating positive impacts,” said Agomuoh. “It will also inspire other youth to become critical thinkers and develop proper understandings of how to run a successful business.”
The culture surrounding Startup Huddle is that of a supportive, neutral space, welcoming entrepreneurs to be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face. Each event is organized by local entrepreneurs and community builders who volunteer their time to secure a venue, vet and select presenters and publicize the event.
As opposed to a traditional “pitch” environment, Startup Huddle was not created to be critical of entrepreneurs, but rather for the presenters to learn from shared experiences and find ways to support one another as a community.
Startup Huddle is an educational experience for both the audience and the presenters. Presenters are given resources and support to prepare for their presentation and surveyed after their presentation to see what they’ve learned.
The launch of Startup Huddle is welcome news for Olawale Anifowose, the acting managing director of GEN Nigeria, who said Nigeria suffers from a 60 percent failure rate among entrepreneurs. Olawale explained that most young entrepreneurs in Nigeria are unable to leverage their startup networks – and in some case aren’t even able to access their networks – in order to launch successful businesses. His hope is that Startup Huddle will improve connections in the Nigerian ecosystem so more entrepreneurs succeed with their ventures.
“I’m excited that the Startup Huddle will be launched in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and [about] the enormous potential for it to be in every major city in Nigeria within the shortest possible time,” said Anifowose. “Startup Huddle will engage entrepreneurs and change how they create solutions for communities in Nigeria.”