Hebron Start-Up Lab
Hebron Start-up Lab is technically one of the clusters in Covenant University’s and operates as a Start-up Accelerator aimed at taking ideas from Concept to Product to Market.
Though the Lab was founded in November 2016, efforts have been made earlier in the University to drive innovation, enterprise, and the transformation of ideas via platforms such as the Dreamers’ project and the Visioners’ project. To stir the culture of innovation, facilitate the commercialization of research output and enable the transformation of concepts into market-ready products, Stephen Oluwatobi got approval to proceed with the establishment of the Hebron Start-Up Lab (HSL).
The core focus of the HSL has been on people development; that is, cultivating the entrepreneur that will harness situations and innovate to create entrepreneurial solutions. Such developmental endeavours range from equipping students with skills of relevance in the knowledge economy. Our reputation to make things happen as well as our capacity to cultivate and support talents, skills and entrepreneurs are reflected in the quality of our graduates. Some of the companies founded by our graduates include Softcom, Kora Pay, PiggyVest, Thrive Agric, Level UP, etc. These were delivered with available resources, support from the University as well as from the external community who helped to give exposure, mentoring, training, opportunities, and support. This plan is to scale and achieve more results that will create value, opportunities, and wealth for many more.
The strategic priorities of the Hebron Start-up Lab are encapsulated in the following:
Take ideas from concept to product to market
- Harvesting ideas that solve problems.
- Enabling prototype development for market testing of the solution
- Testing the product in the market and learning
- Building a business from the process
Attract smart teams and start-ups with the potentials to create value, opportunities, and wealth.
- Creating an enabling environment for viable talents to create, build and contribute.
- Inspire and expose the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and external community to learn and collaborate.
Drive the culture of innovation and enterprise.
- Organizing frequent meetups and workshops to inform and inspire action.
- Participating in competitions, hackathons, and programmes that facilitate action.
Mission of the
Hebron Start-up Lab
The Mission of the Hebron Start-up Lab is aimed at the delivery of the Covenant University’s vision of raising a new generation of leaders; hence, the lab’s mission is to cultivate high-growth entrepreneurs, talents, and teams to solve problems through entrepreneurship and innovation. The mission is expressed as follows:
- To cultivate high-growth start-ups and spinoffs that create solutions with competitive advantages.
- Support the creation and launch of innovative businesses from ideas and research.
- Provide the enabling resources; and
- Organize developmental programmes.
These are to contribute to the University’s vision to become one of the top ten University’s in the world in 2022. Thus, we explore opportunities to commercialize research, generate industry income, create job opportunities, and create wealth.
In line with the Covenant University Core Values (Spirituality, Integrity, Possibility-Mentality, Capacity-building, Responsibility, and Sacrifice), the following are the values that govern the lab’s operations:
- Environmental Sustainability
- Wealth creation
Our values depict the reason we do what we do, our motivation, and our drive. We want to scale our students’ capacity to create wealth, opportunities (jobs, businesses, and markets), and value to Nigeria, Africa, and the world.
Hebron Start-up Lab serves mainly early-stage start-ups and spinoffs, start-ups from pre-seed and seed stage, and spin-offs from research output with market viability.
The areas of focus include…
- As-A-Service Solutions
- Data and Analytics
To maximize the success rate and ensure the success of the Start-up and Spinoff companies, the Hebron Start-up Lab leverages on the core competencies of the University. This will help the Start-up/Spinoff companies save cost, share resources and leverage on existing knowledge, experience, and opportunities. Some of these are presented as follows:
- Covenant University facilities
⦁ Internet facilities
⦁ Electricity supply
⦁ Research and Development facilities
- Covenant University network of Alumni Entrepreneurs
- Covenant University partners and affiliations
- Covenant University research laboratories and workshops
- A Creative Student Community
- An experienced Research community
Our Strategic Goal
Our Strategic Goal is to generate 30 high-growth start-ups within the next 3 years.
Our target drive is to generate 10 start-ups per year. The strategy for working towards this are encapsulated in the following:
- Ship at least 3 Start-ups per Quarter per year.
- We accept 7 Start-ups per Cohort (to achieve the success rate of 3 Start-ups
- per Quarter and 10 High-Growth Start-up/Spinoff companies per year).
- We run 3 Cohorts per year (each beginning in February, June, and October). A Cohort is 3 months.
- Provide seed-funding (for the Start-up/Spinoff to launch and build) to help cater for product development, operations, user acquisition and the start-up team for the 1st year.
The delivery of these, however, depends on the quality and volume of talents capable of creating solutions entrepreneurially; hence, efforts have been invested in talent development and the building of a talent pool community.
The Hebron Start-up Lab runs 3 Acceleration Programmes in a year. They include the following:
- June Acceleration Programme (3 months)
- October Acceleration Programme (3 months)
- February Acceleration programme (3 months)
Each of the Acceleration programmes accepts 7 Start-ups/Spinoffs companies usually at the pre-seed and seed stage. Each programme includes, trainings, equipping, and support as well as caps with a Demo Day, which will determine the 4 Start-ups that will get seed-funding of US15,000 each.
Monthly Mentorship sessions (3rd Thursdays of each month @ 2pm)
This is a once-a-month organized session for the Start-ups/Spinoff companies to meet mentors and experienced entrepreneurs to leverage, learn, grow, and build.
Weekly Start-up Meetups (Thursdays 4-5:30pm)
This is a weekly programme (except the Thursday for monthly mentorship meetup) for training the Start-ups/Spinoffs on business, entrepreneurship, and innovation, harvesting their questions and challenges and proffering solutions to them.
- Number of Start-ups/Spinoffs.
- Number of jobs created.
- Volume of revenue generated.
- Volume and impact of value created.
- Number of high-growth entrepreneurs cultivated.
- Number of industries affected.
Dr Mayowa Agboola
Head/Curator, Hebron Start-Up Lab