The UK-Nigeria Tech Hub has provided support to 10 early stage startups to build innovative solutions to tackle the challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic across three key sectors of the economy.
The support was designed to empower the SMEs in building innovative solutions through its iNOVO Accelerator Programme to resolve challenges created by the pandemic in the education, agriculture and health sectors in Nigeria.
The three-month virtual programme initiated last January in partnership with StartupBootcamp Afritech was implemented by Ventures Platform as partners.
Organisers of the programme said it afforded the top 10 selected Startups alopportunity to receive capacity building and learn startup training, mentorship, and support to scale their products and business models rapidly.
The top 10 startups across EdTech, AgriTech and HealthTech also received an opportunity to validate their solutions with pilots and proof of concept engagements while using their newfound insights to rapidly pivot and scale.
Done with the help of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and industry experts, the programme also gave the startups opportunity to pitch in front of an audience comprised of investors, corporate and government partners at the virtual demo day event.
The second pronged strategy of the programme, the organisers said, was to also provide a learning experience for selected startups that couldn’t make a cut into the programme.
Of a total of 750 applications received, the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub also sponsored 100 startups from the pool of applications received to gain life-time access to the Accelerator Squared platform which provided them with the necessary insights and modules to help build products and companies to scale impact.
The Accelerator Squared platform-the interactive playbook, provides startup founders with more than a dozen graduated modules to progress through every stage of the startup journey as well as assist them fine-tune their business models.
The Interim Country Director of the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, Lamide Johnson said:”Seeing the incredible impact this programme has been for the participating startups is a testament to the fact that if we want to give room for innovation to solve some of the arduous problems faced in Nigeria, more interventions such as this are needed to provide the needed information, network and support for early-stage startups building innovative solutions.
“Through this programme, we readily saw the need to support and provide more spring-boards for early-stage startups seeking to scale their impact.”
On the programme experience, some of the top 10 startups gave their feedback on how the iNOVO Accelerator programme impacted on their Startups.
The CEO of Schoola Abdul Bature, said: ‘It has been an incredible 3 months of hardwork. With the help of StartupBootcamp AfriTech and Ventures Platform, our gamified learning solutions for secondary and primary schools has managed to get the attention of corporate parteners and key stakeholders, which has led to a partnership with the Nigerian Turkish International Colleges and an onboarding of 25 other partners.
CEO of Foodbank.ng, a food loan service startup, Damilola Olaopa, said that through the programme, his team managed to leverage the partnerships made to get the required support.
“The partnerships we have made will help us to scale our operations rapidly. Our partnership with First Bank reduces our exposure to risk as the bank takes on the responsibility of providing the funds, creditworthiness assessment, recollection and reconciliation of loans. This will not only help us scale our operations rapidly but will also lead to more revenue for the bank and for us too,” said Dami.
In the course of the programme, cloud-based hospital management startup Medipal secured two major partnerships with notable Insurtech Company, Curacel (Startupbootcamp Afritech alumni) as well as eTranzact- an African finance giant.
Medipal’s client numbers increased and they have been ranked as Lagos’ No. 1 Electronic Medical Record Company by the governing body of hospitals, the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria.
UK Tech Hub Nigeria is an initiative by the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports (DCMS) to support the growth of the Technology ecosystem in Nigeria. It works to stimulate local digital economies, support inclusive and sustainable economic growth and jobs, build high-end digital skills, and forge innovation partnerships between Nigerian tech sectors and international businesses which will inadvertently lead to more trade and investment in the longer term, thereby driving increased productivity and growth’.
Ventures Platform Hub is a catalyst for innovation & entrepreneurship across Africa, while Startupbootcamp AfriTech was launched in 2017 as the first multi corporate-backed pan-African startup accelerator.
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