BY EMEKA AGINAM
Committed to retooling young technology startups for global competitiveness, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has supported Team Nigeria with digital tools such as Laptops, windows mobile devices as well as other incentives that will enable them do well at the ongoing 2014 Microsoft Imagine Cup which kicks off Tuesday (tomorrow) in Seattle, Washington, the United States.
Members of Team High Rise including Adefioye Temidayo, Faleye Benjamin, Oyebisi Jemil and Ibraheem Bello, who are competing with other students at the global stage had emerged national winners of this year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup challenge.
Imagine Cup competition is part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative aimed at giving opportunity to young entrepreneurs, innovators and developers to conceive an idea, create a product, and set a clear business plan that will take their product to market.
Following their amazing performance with the solution “CATARA”, which serves the purpose of drastically reducing the rate at which cataract causes total blindness in humans, NITDA was excited to encourage and equip them so as to be globally competitive..
The Director-General of NITDA, Mr. Peter Jack who was represented by Engineer Iorver Ape, Principal Scientific Officer, (PSO) of the agency in Lagos office during the presentation of the IT tools in Lagos at the weekend explained that, “One of our goals at NITDA is to develop globally competitive manpower in IT and having observed a competition of this nature which encourages creativity in innovative apps development that closely aligns with our objective, the agency decided to honour these promising youths by providing them with the necessary tools to develop their apps so that it can become universally marketable.”
Beyond being national winners, Team High Rise, according to him, has gone on to become world semi-finalists and will join the duo of Egypt and Uganda to fly the African flag at the global finals holding this July in Seattle, Washington, USA.
“Getting an opportunity to compete with some of the best brains in the world is no small accomplishment. We are excited to be a part of this commendable project and wish the Nigerian team the best of outing and sincerely hope they bring honour to the country by becoming the world champion so that Nigeria can enjoy pride of place in world technology” he added.
Also speaking, Okafor Chukwuemeka from the Director General’s office urged the Nigerian Team to showcase software Nigeria well in the world.
He encouraged Nigerian youths to take the opportunity at propelling themselves into the world of technology via developing innovative apps and solutions, guaranteeing the Agency’s continuous support for efforts aimed at deepening technology advancement in Nigeria as well ensuring that ICT will be a catalyst for job and wealth creation.
Shina Oyetosho, Director, Developer Platform Evangelist for Microsoft Nigeria had earlier in the competition said, “We’re proud of these young students achievements who we believe truly exemplify the spirit of the Imagine Cup competition, and we’ll be cheering Team High Rise on as they compete on the world stage.”
Expressing gratitude on behalf of Team High Rise, Adefioye Temidayo said, “We appreciate NITDA for recognizing and rewarding our efforts. We would like to use this platform to say we are preparing hard for the task ahead and promise to do Nigeria proud in Seattle. We hope other agencies, private organisations and public spirited individuals would support competitions like these to help nurture Nigeria’s best brains.”