An entrepreneurship class, ENT 302, birthed Team UMScope at the Lagos State University (LASU). Gbolahan Vera-Cruz and Williams are friends who got caught up in a long class. Gbolahan was tired and asked his friend Williams to buy him a can of soda to refresh. But, Williams was also tired and so were many other students. This day was one of many days they had to forgo their meals to make up for classes. It was at this point the idea of the University Market Scope came alive. After battling several other entries for the Red Bull Basement empowerment program online, Team UMScope emerged as the Nigerian national winner.
Still in their final year at the Lagos State University, Team UMScope wants to create and leave behind a platform where goods and services required by students would be accessible on a single platform. “We thought that what if we actually have a marketplace or a place whereby students can order for what they wanted, and it can be delivered to them immediately,” Gbolahan explained.
For example, we have Alaba market just opposite Lagos State University, but students would not go down to Alaba market to get whatever they want because they don’t really have the time. Time is very, very precious to us. So, what if we could actually get the people at Alaba market down to our own university? And what if we get Tejuosho market down to UNILAG? What if we could actually get Ikorodu market down to LASPOTECH?
This is the idea behind UMScope, and that’s what we’re trying to do for each one of these students here.
Being a student in Nigeria university is challenging enough; even harder, is deciding on what to eat daily since students do not have the time to cook very often. Gbolahan once survived a semester only on egg and noodles. He completely understands the challenges students face to survive in the university. Team UMScope wants to place every vendor on campuses on a virtual marketplace, including student entrepreneurs who provide essential services such as printing and posters. Considering this is mostly done on a small scale, Williams and Gbolahan believe their idea will give their other students a bigger platform and the chance to reach a larger audience. “We are really talking about accessibility, and we’re talking about empowerment for each one of them,” Gbolahan explained.
In recent weeks, Team UMScope has been developing their idea in preparation for the global workshop where they will pitch to judges against other students with different ideas from all over the world. At the end of the Red Bull Basement program, one global winner will be announced.
Having been selected as the national winner in Nigeria, the team is hoping to get enough enlightenment and networking process to be able to launch their idea to the public. They are looking beyond the competition and want to make what they have a full-scale startup. “With this platform, we’re hoping to get enough funding, Gbolahan shared. “We’re hoping to get enough networking process, we are hoping to get access to mentors and a lot of other things.”
With the Red Bull Basement global workshop beginning December 10th, Team UMScope will be hoping they’ve done enough for their idea to be accepted on a larger scale.