Seven start-ups deploying solutions and platforms to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease in Nigeria have received $3,000 each from the #COVID-19 Innovation Challenge Virtual Demo Day.
The challenge was organised by Ventures Platform and supported by MTN, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Lagos State Science and Research Innovation Council.
A statement by Ventures Platform Communication Lead, Joy Mabia, yesterday, revealed that the seven start-ups received $3,000 equity-free grant each from Ventures Platform and its partners – Loftyinc Allied Partners, Silverchip Fox Consulting, Bluechip Technologies, AGS Tribe, ACIOE, Lakunle Runsewe, Manasseh Egedegbe, Venture Garden Group, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Sterling Bank and LASRIC, though $1,000 was initially announced at the call for application.
According Mabia, the winning start-ups will also pitch their ideas to MTN employees serving as volunteer mentors and receive invaluable feedback on the required technical, business and functional skills to enhance their solutions before they are deployed in the fight to flatten the curve.
MTN Nigeria’s Chief Transformation Officer, Olubayo Adekanmbi, said, “We consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to lend our expertise and capabilities to the development of impactful innovations which can make a difference in curbing the spread of infection. We must all remain dedicated to bringing hope to our communities, especially in these times. There is only one way through this: working together, with everyone doing what they can.”
The NCDC Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, expressed gratitude to Ventures Platform, MTN and LASRIC for supporting in mobilising innovative tech solutions to strengthen the national response to COVID-19, adding that a whole-of-society approach is required to flatten the curve and enable gradual re-opening of the economy.
“These solutions would be integrated with existing technology deployed for surveillance, contact tracing, and risk communications activities,” he said.
Ventures Platform founder, Kola Aina, added, “We would like to especially acknowledge all our partners, especially MTN who joined VP, LASRIC, NCDC, and many others, in supporting these solutions to tackle COVID-19 in Africa. This is the time for more work, and as we say in Africa, it takes a village. I am so grateful to our village for making this happen and we continue to call on more corporates to support these start-ups.”