NPI winners to get all support from NSIA says MD









… As Money Africa clinches top prize

By Foster Obi

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (“NSIA”), Aminu Umar-Sadiq has said that winners at yesterday’s Demo day of the highly anticipated NSIA Prize for Innovation (NPI) programme have all the support from the organisation as it does not just end at giving cash awards.

This came after Money Africa emerged winner, receiving a combination of $25,000 prize money and $75,000 equity investment totaling, $100,000. Extension Africa which came second won $17,500 in cash contribution and $57,500 equity stake, summing $75,000.

The third-place winner, LegitCar Africa, got $37,500 in equity and $12,500 in cash, totaling $50,000.while the 4th to 10th winners received $5,000 in cash. This totals the prize of $255,000 in cash and equity investments for the top ten start-ups.

Speaking to the media after the over three hour sizzling but awesome programme of ideas and talents showcasing, Umar-Sadiq said that beyond giving of cash prizes to the winners, they will be properly monitored and provided with needed support to grow their business.

“This is one of the things that NSIA is particularly skilled at.. value addition following investment.

“We ensure that as an investment institution, your investment proposition has to go beyond just the due diligence to invest, it also has to go beyond to invest taking through the operation and maintenance.

“ What we have done is that we contracted a venture capital firm called EA Partners and those are the people that will manage the NSIA equity investment in the top three winners.

“So all the value additions, all of the introductions they will need, all of the further polishing they will need of their business plan, so that we can position these three companies for further growth, we are going to undertake through EA Partners which is an experienced venture capital firm.

“That is a very important component, I must say. We could have decided to just give cash prizes but what we have decided to do is to give a combination of equity and cash to still, instill that discipline in the entrepreneurs, that yes, you won NSIA money but it is to go to your business and not to take you on holidays or other things.

The NSIA MD noted that the programme can be a catalyst for the innovation and digitization sector in Nigeria for a number of reasons.

“The first is that it show cases or shines a light on the disruptive innovation that our entrepreneurs are capable of. We had over 2000 applications, for the NSIA prize for innovation but we shortlisted it down to 25 applicants on the tube and the accelerator programme that then led to the final 10 that presented at the Demo day.

“This programme allows us to shine the light on our innovative strength.

“The second is that what the entrepreneurs require is long term patient capital and this programme provides exactly that. It covers a combination of both cash prizes and equity injection into their businesses.

“The third is that, importantly, through the result that we can show on the entrepreneurs that won this programme, we can continue to grow the programme.

“The cash prizes will continue to grow larger, the equity investment will continue to get larger. The pool of participation in this exercise has been incredible. We had managing directors of banks, captains of industries. The two actually had interest in a number of participants on the Demo day. That will actually be substantial.

“The sum total of all those can actually lead to something positive for the country, “ Umar-Sadiq noted.

After an innovative presentation, Money Africa won the inaugural edition of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Prize for Innovation (NPI) defeating over 2,000 applicants and 10 shortlisted finalists in the different categories of the challenge.

From the 2,000 participants, seven companies emerged a joint fourth place. They are TruQ, Capsa Technology, Apace Technology Solution, Yalo Technologies, Creditcheck, Vella Finance and Kobopay.

The winners were announced on Saturday in Lagos at the Demo Day event.

The NPI Demo Day was presided over by seasoned judges including Juliet Ehimuan (Google, Nigeria), Olatunbuson Tijani (CCHub), Iyinoluwa Aboyeji (Future Africa, Andela & Flutterwave) and Amal Hassan (Outsource Global Technologies).

Participants said that the NPI programme not only exemplifies the NSIA’s dedication to support the nation’s digital economy but also demonstrates its commitment to nurture entrepreneurship and foster economic development.

Picture: Money Africa wins top prize


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