The 3X Startup Prize is an initiative of Activator HQ in partnership with Merriflux Limited and Voice of the People (VOP) 90.3FM Lagos.
The goal of the prize is to identify and support early-stage entrepreneurial talent in Nigeria with an initial focus on Lagos, the most enterprising city in Africa.
The prize aims to inspire creative, hardworking, and business-minded people who want to impact their local communities, solve pressing problems, and create commercially viable products and services.
The 3X Startup Prize is designed to be as inclusive as possible. Applications are open to people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds who live in Lagos or are active listeners of VOP 90.3FM.
In this year’s edition, after receiving applications from interested candidates, ten finalists will be selected to compete in the grand finale pitch competition and participate in a live Radio Show on VOP 90.3FM that will also be broadcast online.
The ten finalists will compete for a share of 1,000,000 million Naira in grant money to be shared among the top three finalists as follows: First Prize (500,000 Naira), Second Prize (300,000 Naira), and Third Prize (200,000 Naira).
In addition to financial support, the prize winners will also get exclusive access to expert business coaching from Activator HQ to further support them on their business journey.
What Inspired the "3X Startup Prize"?
Many smart and enterprising people in cities like Lagos have brilliant and innovative business ideas but lack the guidance and capital required to transform their ideas into real, thriving businesses.
For these people, a critical missing link holds them back from realizing their entrepreneurial dreams. This missing link could be seed capital, strategy, mindset, skill, or guidance.
The missing link or "X" is the inspiration behind the name we chose for the 3X Startup Prize. The “X” is a common letter used in mathematics to represent an unknown or missing value that needs to be solved.
Through the 3X Startup Prize, we are hoping to discover and support three remarkable people with promising business ideas who will get valuable feedback, expert business coaching, and a total cash prize of N1 million as seed capital.
Benefits of the 3X Startup Prize
The 3X Startup Prize is more than your average competition and has been designed to give the applicants, audience and finalists several valuable benefits that include:
1) Grant funds of up to 1 Million Naira
The Top 3 finalists will share a prize pool of 1 million Naira in grants ranging from 200,000 Naira to 500,000 Naira. The funds will be used as capital to support the startup of a new business or support the growth of an existing business.
The first prize winner takes home 500,000 Naira. The second and third-prize winners take home 300,000 and 200,000 Naira respectively.
2) Significant recognition and exposure
With a combined reach of over 2 million people between Activator HQ, Merriflux, and VOP 90.3FM, the 3X Startup Prize spotlights promising entrepreneurs as finalists progress in the competition via press releases, social media, and radio programs at every stage of the competition.
We also provide significant exposure opportunities to the ten finalists via live appearances on radio shows on VOP 90.3FM, YouTube, and other social media platforms.
3) Insights into your business
During the selection process, we help the applicants and finalists strengthen their storytelling and pitching efforts via an introspective and competitive process. The finalists will be given focused and relevant feedback during the competition.
Even if you don’t win the prize money, the rich value of the insights, feedback, and advice can boost your capabilities as an entrepreneur and help to transform your business.
4) Expert business coaching
The three prize winners who emerge from the competition will enjoy free access to expert business coaching from Activator HQ that covers critical elements of building a successful business, from startup strategy and fundraising to sales, growth, operations, financial management, and more.
For more than a decade, Activator HQ has made it easier and faster for dozens of entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses within and outside Nigeria.
Who Can Apply?
To apply for the 3X Startup Prize, you should meet the following criteria:
You must have an innovative, impactful, and commercially viable business idea. It can be an idea for a business that may or may not already exist.
You require a maximum capital of 500,000 Naira for your business idea and can convincingly show how the funds will be used to execute the business idea.
You reside in Lagos or you’re an active listener of VOP 90.3FM.
How To Apply?
Applying for the 3X Startup Prize is absolutely free. All you have to do is follow the steps below.
1) Join the exclusive WhatsApp Channel
All information for the application process is shared in the exclusive WhatsApp Channel for the 3X Startup Prize.
To apply, you have to join the channel. Click the red button to join the What’s channel.
2) Complete the application form
Applications for the 3X Startup Prize will be open from 18 January 2024 and close on 29 February 2024.
The link to the application form will be released in the exclusive WhatsApp channel and you will be required to complete the form to the best of your ability.
The application form is user-friendly and hosted on a website that can be accessed on both mobile and desktop devices. The form is expected to be completed in English.
The requirements are simple: You will be required to provide proof of identity and contact information, and convincingly explain your business idea.
3) Wait for the results
After the application deadline of 29 February 2024, the received applications will be assessed to select the Top 10 finalists for the 3X Startup Prize who will proceed to the pitching stage of the competition.
The results will be announced on the exclusive WhatsApp channel, social media, and the live radio show.
The Judging Process
Stage 1: Review of Submitted Application
Each application will be reviewed by our in-house business experts at Activator HQ using our 3-part criteria of innovation, impact, and commercial viability. The outcome of this stage shall be a shortlist of 25 candidates.
Stage 2: Video Call Interviews
We shall contact the 25 candidates and schedule a 10-15 minute video call on Zoom or WhatsApp to confirm the identity of each candidate and the details of their business idea. The outcome of this stage shall be a shortlist of the Top 10 finalists.
Stage 3: In-person Grand Finale
The short-listed Top 10 finalists will pitch in-person on the live radio show on VOP 90.3FM to the listening audience and the judge who will be one of Activator HQ’s in-house business experts. Each finalist’s pitch shall be shared on social media and inside the exclusive WhatsApp channel.
The judge shall score the pitch and performance of each finalist and the listening audience shall vote for their favourite finalist in the exclusive WhatsApp channel.
The final scores shall have a 60:40 weighting as follows: judge (60%) and audience votes (40%).
Stage 4: Due Diligence & Final Results
Before the final results are announced, the Top 10 Finalists will need to pass due diligence checks. Barring any red flags from the due diligence, the final results will be announced and the Top 3 Finalists will be invited to receive their prize money.
For any questions, comments, or enquiries about the 3X Startup Prize, please reach out to us via our official contact page.