… Start-ups to receive $40,000, mentorship
By Juliet Umeh
The American Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce’s US-Africa Business Center, USAfBC, recently awarded three Nigeria-based startups with its inaugural Digital Innovation Awards.
The three startups include: an education technology platform, Afrilearn International; “Lend an Arm” platform, a startup that increases voluntary blood donation in Nigeria, Healthbotics Limited while the third is a platform that addresses the chronic shortage of phytotherapy treatment for jaundiced-born babies with its “Crib A’glow” unit, Tiny Hearts Technology.
They were recognized as digital innovators that are positively impacting job-creation and pandemic recovery.
USAfBC, in partnership with the American Business Council, ABC, Nigeria, designed the Digital Entrepreneurship Competition to recognize digital innovators whose products or services have facilitated creative solutions in the midst of the pandemic while positively impacting Nigerian society.
President of the U.S. Chamber’s US-Africa Business Center, Scott Eisner, said: “Nigeria, with one of the largest youth populations on the continent, has long been a thriving hub for digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
“The US Chamber is pleased to recognize Nigeria’s budding young innovators and to support their growth.
“As the world navigates the pandemic, we see the critical role digital innovation plays in growing the West African economy and addressing current and future global challenges,” he said.
According to him, they got 112 applications and 12 start-ups were selected to submit a two-minute pitch. He said the selected startups were interviewed in front of a panel of judges from across the private sector, academia, and Nigeria’s National Information Technology Agency.
Eisner said: “Those 12 start-ups were then narrowed to the top three firms in the Digital Entrepreneurship competition. Based on pre-conference interviews and live voting from conference participants, USAfBC announced during the US-Nigeria Digital Economy Conference that Afrilearn International came in first, Healthbotics Limited came in second, and Tiny Hearts Technology came in third.
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“The start-ups will receive mentorship and cash valued at $40,000 divided respectively by their placement in the competition,” Eisner said.
He added that the award was sponsored by Zenith Bank and other US Tech companies supporting the conference.
The winners were announced at the third iteration of the USAfBC’s digital transformation event series, which- focuses on enabling the growth of Nigeria’s digital economy. Themes include workforce and skills development, unlocking the benefits of trade, and enhancing cybersecurity. The event convened the public and private sectors of both countries for a conversation about the need for a strong US-Nigeria partnership to deliver a trusted, responsible, and inclusive digital economy.
CEO and Executive Secretary of the American Business Council, Margaret Olele, said: “The American Business Council working with the US Chamber are committed to collaborating with private sector stakeholders to drive the potentials in the start -up innovation space in Nigeria.
“We appreciate the support of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy to this project and to the overall growth of the sector,” she said.