It is really heartbreaking to discover that the criteria and Modus Operandi of the AYE Organisation in funding young Nigerian entrepreneur is rather more like a scam rather than being a source of help for small start ups. Read our findings below.
Step 1: Set up a platform called Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs (AYE)
and claim that it is the largest networking event for entrepreneurs in
Step 2: Use your connections to solicit for
support/affiliation from a few prominent Nigerians and ‘oyibo’ people
that we are supposed to be impressed by.
Step 3: Promise young
entrepreneurs all over Nigeria that their business ideas will be funded.
Make them go through a shabby ‘application process’ where they spend
their precious time and hard earned money to travel long distances for
screening then send them a congratulations email that they are BENEFICIARIES of an undisclosed award.
Step 4: Invite them to pitch their ideas at a panel but charge them
huge sums of money for it (in 2015 struggling entrepreneurs were asked
to pay N30,000 for a chance to ‘pitch’ their business ideas to a panel
and most were given nothing in return. No mentorship. No financial aid.
No resources. Nothing)
*Where on earth are people charged money to
pitch their business ideas? This is called Advance Fee Fraud (aka 419)
as it falls under Section 419 of the Criminal Code.
Step 5: Hold a
fancy event at Oriental Hotel, Lekki and invite politicians to hijack
it as a platform to campaign for 2019 (I am personally disappointed that
Senator. Ben Murray Bruce would openly voice his support for former
Vice President Atiku Abubakar towards 2019 elections, in a room full of
Young Entrepreneurs seeking to take Nigeria forward not backwards.)
Step 6: Call the event “Networking With Giants Conference,” but do not
allow any of the attendees to have access to meet any of the “giants.”
Instead let the “giants” tell us the challenges of doing business in
Nigeria (which we are more familiar with than they are, with all due
Step 7: In the middle of the program, invite Alibaba
(the comedian) to unhumorously solicit for funds from the attendees
INCLUDING THE ENTREPRENEURS WHO ARE SEEKING FOR FUNDING! UNBELIEVABLE!!!
We are disappointed as to how a distinguished Senior Citizen such as
Alibaba could be blindfolded into such a charade of an event.
Step 8: Hire Usherettes to carry POS around and harass people to donate
money including the people who came hoping to get funding for their
Step 9: Gather all the so called
BENEFICIARIES to snap group picture and give them cheap neck warmer and
empty certificate paper with no name or signature on it as proof of what
you have done (assumably for the purpose of soliciting funds from
foreign donor organisations).
Step 10: Hire Lil Kesh and other
artistes to perform to a room full of “BENEFICIARIES” who are still so
confused at what is happening till at almost midnight they start leaving
disappointed…after 3 months of application procedures, paying for
ticket, travel expenses from different parts of Nigeria to attend a
political event that they never opted for.
That is a simple 10
step process to scamming over 5000 young Nigerian entrepreneurs as
executed by Summit Smart Francis, founder of AYE.
AYE 2017 “Networking with Giants Conference” was simply a night of
politics that was played with young aspiring Nigerian entrepreneurs as
the pawns. A very fine show of the true position of the Nigerian youth
today – mere tools for political ends while the youths themselves return
home empty handed after the politics have been played.
sincerely appreciated the presence of the dignitaries present especially
the likes of Fela Durotoye who gave a compelling talk about the future
of Nigeria and the ABC’s of getting it right for the sake of the youths
upon who the future depends. We also appreciate the likes of Patrick
Utomi and others who shared their wealth of experience in the Nigerian
business terrain, likewise the warmth of Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija who has
been grand matron of the event for 3 years running. But what we saw
last night was a sham!
Please share this post until it goes
viral. Mrs. Folorusho Alakija (grand matron of AYE), Chief. Bola Ahmed
Tinubu (grand patron of AYE), Fela Durotoye, Pat Utomi, Sen. Ben Murray
Bruce, former Vice President Atiku Abubakr, Fidelity Bank Managing
Director and all the other dignitaries at the event too numerous to
mention deserve to know hear our feedback since we were not given
audience that night.
We wish to state that the Nigerian youths will no longer be used as pawns to political ends. We hereby urge the above named distinguished citizens of Nigeria to caution the activities of the management of the Africa Young Entrepreneurs platform and its founder Mr. Sunmi Smart Francis.
We shall be seeking redress via due process soon.