By Princewill Ekwujuru
Footwear Academy, a footwear training firm, has won the maiden edition of the Proudly Made in Aba Hackathon challenge, designed to proffer solution to challenges currently faced by Aba entrepreneurs, especially in the finished leather, garment and steel fabricating clusters.
The event, organised by TBWA\Concept, a marketing communications firm and sponsored by Ford Foundation, is in continuation of the “Proudly Made-in Aba campaign.” The Academy won the challenge with a solution to upgrade the skills of Aba shoemakers to enable them improve the quality of their products, using modern equipment and technology.
Speaking, Bentley Chukwuemeka, co-founder, The Footwear Academy, stated that their plan is to introduce Aba shoemakers to modern technology, to enable them speed up production.
The Footwear Academy also intends to reduce the apprentice period from five years to six months.
For their effort, which was considered to be the best the by panel of judges made up of seasoned entrepreneurs and professionals, Footwear Academy won a sum of $50,000. Clintonel Technology came 2nd with cash prize of $30,000 with a solution to digitalise and automate the metal fabrication process in Aba, through Computer Aided Design, CAD and Computer Aided Manufacturing, CAM.
The technology, according to Tochukwu Chukwueke, Co-Founder, Clintonel Technology, would help shoe manufacturers and metal fabricators in Aba reduce production cost, increase production speed, multiply production volume, improve finishing and generate more revenue.
While the 3rd prize of $20,000 went to Ogwugo Technologies, an online marketing platform, designed to handle trade activities between buyers and sellers in broad categories. They undertake delivery of foods, gas, retail of clothes and shoes, bulk orders for goods among others.