Breaking into the technology space as an innovator comes with many challenges. First, you must sell your ideas, then successfully prove it to carve a niche for yourself in its competitive industry.
The right platform, however, gives you the opportunity to bring to fruition these ideas, drive your innovation and optimise your success in the technological industry.
This is why The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) on the 10th of December will launch the maiden edition of its Prize for Innovation Programme (NPI), to encourage and support creativity and ingenuity in the technology space.
The NPI programme which is to be launched at an event in Lagos is structured as a business enhancement programme to support early-stage, growth-driven ideas through education, mentorship, and financing.
The event will be attended by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu as special guest of honour alongside other notable and respected digital ecosystem pundits as guest speakers and panelists.
They include Co-Founder and COO, Piggy Vest, Odunayo Eweniyi; Co-Founder, Helium Health, Ralph Oluwole; Head, Investment and Technology Promotion Office, (UNIDO) Abimbola Wycliffe, MD/CEO, Outsource Global, Amal Hassan and Founding Partner, Ventures Platform, Kola Aina.
Other guest speakers include MD/CEO, Appzone Group, Obi Emetarom; MD/CEO, Drugstoc, Chibuzo Opara, Executive Director, One.org, Serah Makka-Ugbabge; Co- Founder/ Partner – Orbit54, Abayomi Awobokun and the Co-Founder/Partner, New Lion Capital / Magic Fund, Temi Awogboro, and many more.
The Board and Management of the Authority will share their strategy for the technology sector in Nigeria and also provide context to the vision behind the NSIA Prize for Innovation.
Key speakers from the NSIA team will include NSIA Non-Executive Director, Ikemefuna Isiekwena, NSIA Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Aminu Umar-Sadiq; NSIA Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer, Kola Owodunni and NSIA Executive Director, Operations and Corporate Service, Olubisi Makoju.
The NSIA Price for Innovation Programme is a strategy-based initiative, designed to run for at least three years to fund new ideas; propel a cost-effective, scalable, and transformative positive impact on the nation’s economic growth.
The programme will identify, build, channel the country’s latent potential in innovation and technology, enhance the nation’s productive capacity, create jobs and optimize resource sustainability.
The NPI’s priority sectors are technology-enabled businesses in key seven priority sectors of the Nigerian economy namely: Financial Services, Agriculture, Health, Education, Manufacturing, Renewables and Power. The priority sectors were selected given the appreciable impact innovations in these sectors can have on the Nigerian economy.
With this Programme, the NSIA Board expects 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.
The strategic intent of the Programme will also assist the Authority to establish direct access to the Nigerian technology sector, through the creation of a strong pipeline for future investments by its Innovation Fund.
In essence, the Programme will provide a platform to understand industry modalities and gain first-hand knowledge of rising stars within the technology ecosystem.
Hence, the Programme will adopt a three-staged competition, where ten finalists will emerge and win various prizes.
The NPI is expected to run for sixteen (16) weeks covering the three stages namely the pre-selection stage, the accelerator stage, and the demo day stage.
It starts with applications from eligible candidates who meet the entrance criteria.
In total, 25 innovators (one product/service for each) will be shortlisted and advanced into the competition. These innovators will scale through a bootcamp known as the accelerator phase.
Of the 25, the top 10 innovators will be selected by a 5-man expert evaluation committee to partake in a pitch-session on demo day from which a winner will emerge.
The equity portion of the prize will 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.