…Initiates Prize for Innovation

Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has initiated Prize for Innovation with a view to boosting the nation’s technology-driven industrialisation economic growth.

According to the agency which invests the nation’s sovereign wealth and foreign capital in various sectors of the economy, the Innovation Prize would build an unprecedented synergy between the nation’s academia and the industrial sector.

It said in Abuja, yesterday, that details of the programme would be unveiled in Lagos,  this weekend.

The event would be attended by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, members of the NSIA Board: the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the NSIA, Aminu Umar -Sadiq; NSIA Non-Executive Director, Mr Ikemefuna Isiekwena; Founding Partner, Ventures Platform, Kola Aina, among others.

The Innovation Prize is structured as a business enhancement programme to support early-stage and growth-driven ideas through education, mentorship, and financing.

The agency said that through the programme, it would identify, build, and channel the country’s latent potential in innovation and technology to catalyse economic growth, enhance the nation’s productive capacity, create jobs, and optimize resource sustainability.

The Programme is a strategy-based initiative of the NSIA Board which will run for at least three years.

In addition, the NPIP is designed to encourage and support creativity and ingenuity within the technology space and to fund new ideas that could result in cost-effective, scalable, and transformative positive impact.

The priority sectors are technology-enabled businesses in key seven priority sectors of the Nigerian economy.

They include: Financial Services, Agriculture, Health, Education, Manufacturing, Renewables and Power.

NSIA said that the listed priority sectors were selected given the appreciable impact innovations in these sectors can have on the Nigerian economy.

The Programme is a three-year commitment by the NSIA to empower Nigerian tech-preneurs and upcoming innovators, in a bid to catalyze the rise of the budding digital economy.

With this Programme, the NSIA  is expected to catalyze the growth and development of the Nigerian technology ecosystem by identifying budding Nigerian innovators, enhancing their capabilities, and providing a platform to showcase and scale these technological solutions globally over multiple cycles of the programme.

In line with NSIA’s vision of playing a leading role in promoting investments for Nigeria’s economic development, the strategic intent of the Programme is to assist the Authority to establish direct access to the Nigerian technology sector.

This would help to create a strong pipeline for future investments by its Innovation Fund.

It would provide a platform for understanding industry modalities and gaining first-hand knowledge of rising stars within the technology ecosystem.

Given the long-term significance of the Programme, the initiative would also serve as a catalyst to unlock the conscious competence of the next generation of Nigerians across a myriad of fields particularly in the digital age.

A three-staged competition would be adopted, at the end of which ten finalists would emerge with various prizes.

The Programme is expected to run for twelve weeks covering the following stages.

Pre-selection, Accelerator and Final Stages.

The equity portion of the prize would be disbursed and monitored by one or more of the Authority’s venture capital partners over the specified period.

The disbursement period will be restricted to a maximum of six months post-competition

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