By Emmanuel Elebeke
The federal government on Wednesday presented a total of 10 million to five winners of the 2021 Creativity and Innovation Challenge organized by the National Information and Technology Development Agency, NITDA in Abuja.
The five winners, who were given N2 million each emerged from 800 contestants that participated in the contest from the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT. They were rewarded for their brilliant and novel ideas that could solve numerous problems in different spheres of human endeavour.
The five winners are Nwachinemere Emeka, from Ibadan, who invented Kitovu Technology Company to assist farmers; Muhammad Banre from Kaduna, who invented Scholar limited, a learning app; Jeremiah Kuro from PH, who invented Bliu-I Automation limited, an automotive app; Ajiboye Mayowa from PH, who invented a learning app, CBTNL.Com and Izu Freeman from Abuja, who invented another learning App, CAPSULE.
Presenting the awards during the World Creativity and Innovation Day as part of NITDA @20 anniversary activities held on Monday at the National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Resource Centre, Abuja, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami said apart from the N2 million given to each of the Start-Ups as seed funding, they would also receive commendation letters from him to boost their Curriculum Vitae and they will equally be part and parcel of the NITDA Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship scheme.
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He also promised that the Ministry would continue to monitor their progress and encourage them to be steadfast and consistent in trying to make their innovation and ideas successful.
The highly elated Minister noted that the future in digital innovation and entrepreneurship is very bright looking at our journey in the areas of technological innovation and creativity.
‘‘The journey of startups is one of the most difficult journeys, going through the history of Amazon where the founder spent almost 10 years working on a startup without any profit it is a clear indication that when you come up with a viable idea, it is not about today but about the future hence the need to be steadfast and partake in critical thinking for further improvement.
‘‘The template used in assessing the startups includes their impact, attracting, scalability and innovativeness.’’
In his address, the Director-General of NITDA, Mallam Abdullahi Kashifu said the idea of introducing the innovative challenge came because NITDA identified innovation as a critical tool for implementing National Digital Economic Policy and Strategy.
Beyond the challenge, he said the agency had taken bold steps to drive our nation’s prosperity by boosting digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
He said innovation has become a vital key to the prosperity of any nation, and that our prospects for future economic growth largely hinges on our ability to innovate.
‘‘At NITDA, we have identified innovation as a critical tool for implementing National Digital Economic Policy and Strategy. We have taken bold steps to drive our nation’s prosperity by boosting digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
‘‘Today, we celebrate this day within the National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics premises, one of our initiatives to drive technology and market-creating innovations through the use of emerging technologies.
‘‘The National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics is purposely built to drive cutting-edge innovations in emerging technologies through robust research and development programs. Of course, we plan to boost innovation-driven entrepreneurship (IDEs) through innovations, thereby creating many jobs for Nigerian youths.
‘‘We are deeply committed to fostering digital innovation culture among Nigerians. We have several programs and initiatives aimed at boosting the innovative capacity of our youths, which include catch-them-young programs targeted at orienting Nigerian kids to become active players in the digital technology space.’’
‘‘We are recalibrating our activities to focus on strengthening the Innovation ecosystem, promoting the adoption of emerging technologies for sustainable development, digital job creation, and promoting Nigerian content development and adoption.
‘‘In line with our goals of strengthening the innovation ecosystem, we drive catalytic programs, like hackathons and innovation challenge, that will foster an innovation culture. It will also enhance the hubs, where innovative ideas are conceptualised and nurtured.’’
The four-year-old World Creativity and Innovation Day is an International Creativity and Innovation Day recognised by the United Nations and designated to celebrate creativity and innovation and raise awareness of the importance of creativity and innovation in problem-solving to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.