…as public voting begins
By Emeka Aginam
As public voting to pick $25,000 star prize winner in in Google’s Africa Connected competition begins, three Nigerians have made it to the top 10 finalists as announced yesterday.
The three Nigerian finalists include Eric Obuh, a social crusader; Eseoghene Odiete, a fashion designer; and Mayowa Adegbile, a philanthropist.
It would be recalled that the competition launched in August last year called entrepreneurs, creative innovators and web-lovers to share stories of how the web has transformed their lives and work. The 10 finalists were selected by a panel of judges from over 2,200 entries from 35 countries.
Five successful winners from among the finalists will now be selected by the online voting public. The winners will bag $25,000 each, and will also have the opportunity to work with a Google sponsor over a six-month period to further their online business success.
The competition categories included Education; Entertainment/Arts/Sports; Technology; Community and NGOs; and Small Businesses.
Eric Obuh a.k.a. Vocal Slender (http://vocalslender.net/) is a musician who used YouTube to distribute his content and Google+ to interact with his fans.
His music and online popularity have made him to earn a living from concerts and appearances. He uses his earnings to raise awareness about underprivileged youngsters in the slums of Lagos where he comes from, thereby providing financial aid for the scholars and encouraging school attendance.
Eseoghene Odiete runs Hesey Designs (http://www.heseydesigns.com/), a women’s apparel and accessories line with pieces ranging from handmade accessories to shoes, slippers, journals, bags, purses and jewelries, all inspired by the African culture. Eseoghene used Google Products to promote her brand as a young entrepreneur, creating international awareness for her fashion label. She now runs workshops to train other women on how to generate an income from designing fashion accessories.
Mayowa Adegbile is the initiator of Ashake Foundation (http://www.ashakefoundation.wordpress.com). Mayowa initially used YouTube to post an appeal in order to raise funds for her initiative, a business school for widowed mothers, giving them the tools to make a living and support their families.