Uber partners with Lagos to empower start-ups, SMEs

From left to right- Margaret Banasko,Uber Country Marketing Lead; Bankole Wellingtom, Brand Ambassador;Akintunde Oyebode, CEO LSETF; Lola Kassim, Uber General Manager W/Africa

Uber Nigeria has announced its strategic partnership with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) to create business and economic opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises and startups.

Mrs Lola Kassim, the General Manager, Uber West Africa, made this known at a news conference in Lagos.

She said that the partnership involved majorly a campaign tagged “UberPitch’’ for its patrons (Uber Riders) and its driver-partners.

“UberPitch is an initiative that creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas, learn from highly successful business leaders and potentially get capital from the trust fund  to effectively run their businesses.

“UberPitch is in line with our clear commitment to Africa and the goal of continually creating business and economic opportunities for all.

“Our partnership with the LSETF is focused on ensuring that these entrepreneurs build viable and successful businesses.

“This is essentially our way of giving back to the community that hosts us and as well as generating traffic for the organisation,’’ the Uber boss said.

Akintunde Oyebode, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund said that its mandate of job creation by supporting entrepreneurship and employability was a vision it shared with Uber.

Uber investment

According to Oyebode, since its inception two years ago, the company has provided funding worth N6 billion to 8,000 businesses and trained over 3,000 unemployed Lagos residents with a view to finding them job placements.

“Through these activities, the Fund has enabled jobs for over 25,000 people, improved productivity of small businesses statewide and ensured that Lagos State remains on a path of sustainable economic growth.’’

Also speaking on the UberPitch campaign, Margaret Banasko, Country Marketing Lead, Uber West Africa, said that the campaign was divided into two phases.

“The first phase is where Uber Riders who run tech-enabled businesses submit or “pitch” their ideas.

“Shortlisted candidates stand the chance of winning workspace vouchers of up to N1.8 million.

“The second phase requires business owners to pitch their ideas to a panel consisting of the LSETF and globally recognised business leaders.

“These entrepreneurs receive mentoring from the highly successful role models and potentially get capital to effectively run their business,” Banasko he said.

As part of activities to reward driver-partners, Uber Nigeria recently presented two brand-new cars and other consolation prizes to driver-partners who participated and came tops in the UberFreekick campaign.

Uber’s mission, which started in 2009, is to solve a simple problem of how to get a ride at the touch of a button.

Six years and over five billion trips later, Uber has started tackling an even greater challenge of reducing congestion and pollution in cities by getting more people into fewer cars.

The Uber network is now available in more than 600 cities in over 80 countries spanning six continents.