The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has awarded the sum of N5 million as grants to three technology startups that emerged as winners of the 2021 Innovation contest organised by the Commission. The contest, which attracted young Nigerians from across the country saw 42 startups send their proposals with unique digital products/ services for meeting industry and societal needs to the Commission. Out of the 42, 20 entries were selected by the panel of assessors to contest the prize in Lagos.
The overall winner of the contest went home with N2.5 million, while the first runnerup was given N1.5 million. The second runner-up received N1 million prize. Speaking at the grand finale of the Innovation/Exhibition held at the Digital Bridge Institute in Lagos, the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services of NCC, Ubale Maska, said the Commission, as an effective, impartial and inde-pendent regulator of the telecommunications sector had designed the programme to actualise the aspirations of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector, while giving effect to pillars 3 and 5 of the Strategic Vision Implementation Plan (2021-2025), which focused on promoting fair competition, inclusive growth, increased investment, and innovative services as well as facilitating cooperation and partnerships among Nigerian tech ecosystem players. “Today in our world, the Digital economy has become a buzzword embraced by many countries due to the increasing relevance of ICTs in human endeavours. Significantly, the Digital economy comprises goods and services that either were produced using digital technologies or include these technologies.
“The ICT industry stands at the centre of these activities underpinning the digital economy, serving as enablers of efficiency and productivity to other vertical industries while standing as a reliable yardstick of economies’ performance,” said Maska, who was represented at the event by the Head, Emerging Technology, Research, and Development Unit of the Commission. According to him, developing home-grown innovative products and services in ICT would provide abundant benefits for sustainable development of the sector with a huge multiplier effect on job and wealth creation across industries, improvement of balance of trade, stimulation of investment opportunities, and increased domestic revenue. Presenting a keynote at the event, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said other objectives of the Innovation programme include: providing a networking platform for innovators and tech enthusiasts that encourages relationship building, business connections and creation of opportunities, fostering business innovation and entrepreneurship; encouraging increased investment and indigenous innovative services; stimulating the commercialization of indigenous innovative Solutions and responding to national challenges, using ICT.