The South-South and South-East edition of the Student Innovation Challenge is set to hold at the University of Nigeria main auditorium, Nsukka on a soon-to-be-announced date. The event which is the last of the regional editions will see 30 student entrepreneurs and innovators pitch their ideas to a panel of judges comprising of industry experts, innovators and entrepreneurs. Each of these pitchers stands a chance of emerging as one of the 50 finalists that will receive ₦1,000,000 in seed funding alongside other business and legal advisory services.
Student Innovation Challenge is hosted by Civic Innovation Lab, organized by the Presidency and sponsored by a number of public and private organizations like the Federal Government, Bank of Industry (BOI), Access Bank Plc, MTN Foundation, NITDA, NCC, Dangote Group and the Civic Foundation for Innovation. The Student Innovation Challenge aims at bringing some of Nigeria’s sharpest undergraduate minds together in a room, to discover how they can contribute to social reform by presenting technology-infused ideas that can solve some of the Nation’s toughest challenges. The program has primary objectives of nurturing and encouraging social innovations geared towards growth, sustainability and finding solutions to problems within our environment.
Earlier this year, the two regional finals covering South-Western and Northern regions held in Lagos and Kano respectively. With technology being the primary driver of these ideas, the solutions were viable and timely for the industrial age the world is currently in. In total, over 3000 applications were received from 244 universities and polytechnics across Nigeria.
The maiden edition of the Student Innovation challenge took place at the University of Lagos, Akoka on the 22nd of June 2018. At the event which covered the South-Western region of Nigeria, 48 start-ups out of 789 qualified to pitch innovations across education, agriculture, healthcare, energy, security, law and IT. Among the dignitaries in attendance were the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Mr Kayode Pitan, MD Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation- Nonny Ugboma, Special Adviser on Economic Issues, Dr Adeyemi Depeolu, SSAP Trade and Investment, Jumoke Oduwole, and Vice Chancellor- University of Lagos, Professor Toyin Ogundipe. The event brought together over 2000 students from across 15 universities in the South-West.
The Northern Regional finals of the Student Innovation Challenge (SIC) took place on the 4th of September 2018 at the Aliko Dangote Business School Auditorium, Bayero University, Kano State. It was a fantastic time watching and appreciating the numerous possibilities embedded in students in Nigerian Universities. Out of over 600 applications from the entire Northern region, 52 teams qualified to pitch at the event in front of an audience of over 1000, excluding the overflow. The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo was again in attendance alongside the state Governor of Kano, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and the Vice Chancellor of the host school, Professor Yahuza Bello, DG NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Group Managing Director, Dangote Industries, Engr Mansur Ahmad, MD/CEO NDIC, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim and the Executive Vice Chairman NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta.
To reiterate, SIC is a cross-sectoral effort that aims to give young people a chance to participate in social reform. We believe the Nigerian youth have the intellectual dexterity to create solutions to society’s most pressing issues and social innovation and inventiveness is the key to unlocking such sustainable solutions and as such are confident that asides addressing local issues, the successful ideas and innovations will create sustainable solutions that work to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.