NPI’ll improve Nigeria’s digital ecosystem, future investments –NSIA
In line with its mandate to enhance Nigeria’s productive capacity, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), has said its newly launched NSIA Prize for Innovation (NPI) designed to encourage and support ingenuity in the digital space will improve the nation’s digital ecosystem to create a strong pipeline for future investments.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Aminu Umar-Sadiq, stated this on the sidelines of the launch of the NPI which held in Lagos at the weekend.
Umar-Sadiq said the NPI is a three-year commitment of the Authority structured as a sector-agnostic growth initiative to support early-stage, innovative digital solutions through education, mentorship and financing.
He added that the core intent is to stimulate domestic capital toward the development of Nigeria’s technology sector by identifying budding Nigerian innovators, enhancing their capabilities and providing a platform to showcase and scale these technological solutions globally over multiple programme cycles.
He said, “Our Board is convinced that the programme for the NSIA Prize will mobilise participants and capital, spread the burden risk, set a problem-solving agenda and serve as an effective accelerator of change in the domestic digital landscape. We aim to reach across Nigeria to identify and elevate early stage projects with transformative economic potential and so we will work assiduously to deliver a programme that is transparent”.
He noted that the programme will focus on Financial Services, Agriculture, Health, Education, Manufacturing, Logistics & E-mobility, E-commerce & Marketplaces, Renewables and Power, adding that the competition is expected to run for 16 weeks.
“We will commence the programme by opening the innovation prize application portal in short order. Once opened, we expect to receive a flurry of high quality entries reflective of Nigerian ingenuity. Eligible participants who qualify for the accelerator bootcamp will gain access to knowledge and insights that will enable their ideas to scale.
On how the programme will attract start-ups, the NSIA CEO said, the NSIA’s technical partner, Weinnovationhub, is the accelerator arm of LoftyInc Allied Partners, which has established a solid footprint within the Nigeria technology ecosystem and added that it has a strong marketing/ social media plan with its PR and marketing agencies to ensure widespread reach.
“The project team will work alongside its technical partner, venture capital partner, and independent auditor, Deloitte to set up an evaluation committee that would oversee the multiple selection processes.
Given the limited time, debug time to develop an MVP and develop traction, fix programs debugging, etc. might not fall within the timeline. Ongoing programs may include a category for pre-seed innovators. Hence, we see a future where Nigerian companies especially in the tech space will ascend to dominance”, Umar-Sadiq said.
Also speaking, the Special Guest of Honor, Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended the NSIA for the initiative while adding that the authority is a necessary entity critical for the development of the nation.
Sanwo-Olu who was represented by the Special Adviser on Innovation and Technology to the Lagos State Governor, Olatunbosun Alake, said the launch of the NPI is an indicator of the NSIA subscription to its philosophy and commitment to drive value creation through innovation in which the state shares these values with the NSIA.
“I must commend the NSIA for bringing up this laudable initiative. However, to achieve this nation’s potential, we must do away with cyber implementations across a myriad of government institutions. We must collaborate, co-build with us as we build a Nigeria that we will truly be proud of”, Sanwo-Olu said.