Winning the 2019 Tony Elumelu Foundation Grant Is Validation of What The Ajala Project Can Do For The Creative Industry in Nigeria- Bayo Hassan Bello

Bayo Hassan Bello, founder of the Ajala Project was on this week’s edition of the NigeriansInDubai podcast where he talked about his enterprise and their recent grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

The Ajala Project is a Dubai based award-winning platform that uses art to raise awareness and crowdfund for social causes.  They connect creatives- writers, artists and change makers with financiers and investors. Its parent company, ‘ByAJALA’ is a Lagos-based startup that aims to connect creatives and creative businesses with customers through insights, infrastructures and initiatives and acts as a specialized creative task team for government agencies.

The Ajala Project Website

The Ajala project was among the startups that won a $5000 grant in this year’s edition of the Tony Elumelu Foundation initiative for startups and entrepreneurs.

Every year, Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of UBA Group, a financial institution across Africa provides grants for thousands of startups across Africa and hosts the  largest convening of entrepreneurs, policymakers and business leaders in one location. This year, it is holding at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja and Bayo Hassan Bello will be representing his company at the event as part of this year’s grant winners. 

The Ajala Project wins Tony Elumelu Foundation Grant
Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of UBA Group empowering Startups and Entrepreneurs across Africa.

Speaking about the grant, he said; “Winning the grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation was great validation of the work that we want to do in Nigeria and in Africa. It’s a great opportunity to work with Tony Elumelu and the foundation especially in light of an MOU the foundation signed with the government to empower creative entrepreneurs”.

Bayo Hassan of the Ajala Project collaborating with members of the Dubai creative community.

As part of the MOU with the Federal Government of Nigeria, a Creative Economy Task Force is meant to be set up to map the creative industries and provide a better picture of what is happening on the ground and help inform policy development.

The Ajala Project is keen to be a part of this initiative and Bayo’s believes that the approach his team has created will be very useful as the government embraces the bigger and wider role the creative industry can play in the social and economic development of the country.

Countries and cities like California in the United States, Mumbai in India, Turkey, Brazil, Dubai and Australia have been able to harness their creative industries in their path to becoming economic giants.

The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme has identified, over 10 years, a total of 10,000 African start-ups and entrepreneurs with ideas that can generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and contribute at least 10 billion dollars in new annual revenues across Africa.

As one of the winners of the grant this year, The Ajala Project has received mentorship and tools that will help it and other businesses grow into unicorns.

The Ajala Project services

The initial application project involved submitting a project idea whether existing or new which fits into the Tony Elumelu Foundations goals for Africa and the African Union 2026 agenda.

The next phase involved going through an online programme that helped restructure the idea and innovate. Next was a forum that brought everyone together, selection and then award grants.

There is also an opportunity for follow up grants when you meet certain milestones.

Ifeanyi Abraham is a creative storyteller, life hacker and Digital Influencer. He is a Public relations & Digital Marketing executive that helps companies, government agencies & NGOs leverage the power of marketing & communications. He is the Founder of, a knowledge sharing and transfer platform focused on harnessing the lessons, spirit and power of Dubai to the benefit of Nigerians. We tell the stories of Nigerians living, working and visiting Dubai. He is also the Co-founder of The Beverage Room, a digital community for Beverage Lovers.

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