Uber, a global automobile service providing company, has announced its partnership with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) in a bid to create business and economic opportunities for individuals and provide support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and startups in Lagos State.

The collaborative campaign tagged ‘UBERPITCH, is an initiative that creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas, learn from highly successful business models and potentially get capital to effectively run their businesses.

Commenting on the partnership, Uber’s General Manager for West Africa, Lola Kassim, explained that the initiative was “in line with Uber’s clear commitment to Africa and our goal of continually creating business and economic opportunities for all.

“The UBERPITCH campaign sees us supporting entrepreneurs by creating a platform for them to pitch ideas, leverage on relevant advice from business mentors, and potentially receive capital from the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to run their businesses. Our partnership with the LSETF indicates that we are focused on ensuring that these entrepreneurs build viable and successful businesses”, she added

The Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, Akintunde Oyebode, said that the Fund’s mandate of job creation by supporting entrepreneurship and employability remained a vision it shared with Uber.

He clarified: “Since its inception two years ago, LSETF has provided funding worth N6 billion to 8,000 businesses, and trained over 3,000 unemployed Lagos residents, with a view to place them in jobs.

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

In her remarks, the Country Marketing Lead for Uber in West Africa, Margaret Banasko, explained that the campaign was divided into two phases with the first phase enabling Uber Riders, who run tech-enabled businesses submit or “pitch” their ideas after which shortlisted candidates among them stand the chance of winning Workspace vouchers of up to N1.8 million.

Banasko said that the second phase involved business owners pitching their ideas to a panel consisting of the LSETF and globally recognized entrepreneurs receive mentoring from highly successful business leaders and potentially get capital to effectively run their business.