…Innovation Award Will Accelerate Nigeria’s Tech Growth
– NSIA MD Aminu Umar-Sadiq
The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority launched on Saturday the inaugural edition of its Innovation Awards Scheme, which aims to stimulate development in Nigeria’s fast-growing digital ecosystem.
The launch took place at an event in Lagos attended by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; the Managing Director of NSIA, Mr. Aminu Umar -Sadiq; the Chairman of the Investment Committee of the NSIA Board, Mr. Ikemefuna Isiekwena; and members of the Executive Management Team, Ms. Olubisi Makoju and Mr. Kola Owodunni.
Other dignitaries attending the launch include Ms. Odunayo Eweniyi of PiggyVest; Mr. Ralph Oluwole of Helium Health; Ms. Amal Hassan from Outsource Global; Mr. Kola Aina from Ventures Platform.
The event also featured panelists such as Ms. Abimbola Olufore from UNIDO; Mr. Obi Emetarom from Zone; Dr. Chibuzo Opara of Drugstoc; Ms Serah Makka Ugbabge of One.org; Mr. Abayomi Awobokun of Orbit54; Ms. Temi Awogboro of New Lion Capital & Magic Innovators among other techno-entrepreneurs and capital providers.
The NSIA Award for Invocation Program is structured as a business improvement program to support growth-driven early-stage ideas through education, mentorship, and funding.
The Program is an initiative based on the strategy of the NSIA Board that will last for at least three years.
Through the NPIP initiative, NSIA stands ready to identify, build, and harness the country’s latent potential in innovation and technology to catalyze economic growth, enhance the nation’s productive capacity, create jobs, and optimize resource sustainability.
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 profitable, scalable, and transformative positive impact.
The NPIP priority sectors are technology-based businesses in seven key priority sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Key sectors are financial services, agriculture, healthcare, education, manufacturing, renewables and energy.
Speaking at the event, the NSIA MD stated that the strategic intent of the Program is to help the Authority establish direct access to the Nigerian technology sector.
He recalled that for centuries, awards in various fields of human endeavor have served as a reward and as a tool to encourage ideas that solve critical challenges for the human race.
In modern times, he said the Innovation Program has helped foster fresh ideas and inventive innovation in science, technology and many other fields.
He said the NPIP is the NSIA’s rationale for choosing to harness innovation as a tool to stimulate developments in Nigeria’s fast-growing digital ecosystem.
He said: “Some may ask, ‘why an Innovation Award?’ Our answer is simple. ‘Why not?’ Over the past decade, we have explored various strategies to realize our vision, which has enabled us to play an increasing role in promoting investment for Nigeria’s economic development.
“We see the innovation award as another vertical within our strategy. We have explored the path of sponsor, co-developer and financial investor in several projects.
“The focus of the prize is a different but equally powerful path. With this, we aim to serve not only as a catalyst for the fast-growing domestic technology and innovation industry, but also as a deliberate enabler at the various levels of the ecosystem.
“Our Board is convinced that this approach will mobilize participants and capital, spread the burden of risk, set a problem-solving agenda, and serve as an effective accelerator for viable projects.”
Umar-Sadiq further explained that the Innovation Award program is designed for national coverage, adding that NSIA is committed to working as hard as it has always done to deliver a program that is inclusive, transparent and results-oriented, covering the whole of Nigeria. digital centers.
Through this, he told the meeting that the Authority would identify and elevate early-stage projects with transformative economic potential.
The NSIA MD said: “We will kick off the program by opening the innovation award application portal shortly. Once open we expect to receive a flurry of high quality entries that reflect Nigerian ingenuity.
“From these, eligible participants who qualify for the accelerator will gain access to insights and insights that will enable their ideas to scale.
“Beyond the selection of a winning entry, the program is designed to inspire and challenge participating techno-entrepreneurs to build well-designed strategies that connect new ideas and concepts to the market.
“We see a future where Nigerian tech companies rise to global prominence and dominance in the next decade. The Nigerian film and music industry is already following this direction. It is time for our technology and innovation sector to follow a similar trajectory.
“So today, we welcome everyone to the start of a different approach to spur change in the home digital ecosystem.
“As we launch the NSIA Innovation Award, we look forward to seeing entries from disruptors, creators and pioneers driving a new vision for innovation in Nigeria.”
In his remarks at the event, the Governor of Lagos described the NSIA as representing the value of a catalytic system.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his special advisor on technology, Mr. Tunbosun Alake, praised the NSIA for introducing the initiative as it aligns with the global philosophy where innovation and technology are used to change the global community. .
He said: “I am pleased that the launch of the NSIA Innovation Award is an indicator of NSIA’s adherence to this philosophy and its commitment to drive value creation through innovation.
“This philosophy is something we share in Lagos State with the NSIA. Not just because the Governor enacted the Lagos State Sovereign Wealth Fund law, but it has to do with our understanding that the central calling of the nation’s economic security is tied to innovation and scientific research.
“I congratulate the NSIA once again for launching this whole initiative. An initiative whose time has come and which will advance the pendulum of innovation.
“However, the need for us to achieve the potential of this nation, we must end superficial implementations in the myriads of government institutions. We must collaborate. We invite you to partner with us as we build a Nigeria we are truly proud of.”
Also speaking, Isiekwena told the gathering that, like all great ideas, the Innovation award itself is not the end the Authority hopes to achieve, but rather a means to an end.
He said: “The outcome we are seeking is an ‘ideal’ economy for Nigeria. In this age, success in any demanding economy is defined by the ability to turn ideas into value faster than the competition.
“It is our hope that this program will inspire ingenuity, creativity and inventiveness among our many young people, resulting in ideas that will become scalable businesses and, in doing so, bring about positive economic change in our country as we grow. Let’s diversify and move away from the traditional”.
Other dignitaries from the technology and innovation ecosystem who spoke at the event praised the NSIA Board and management for introducing the Program.
They said that through this Program, the Authority will be able to unlock the potential of innovators and attract talents to the target sectors of the initiative.