In May of 2019, Techpoint announced applications for the Inspired Technovation Challenge, in partnership with the University of Sussex.
Intending participants were encouraged to submit a disruptive and tech-driven innovation that has the potential to transform Africa’s future of work. Selected finalists would then pitch their solution to a panel of judges during Techpoint Inspired 2019.
When the day came along, seven techpreneurs with promising solutions pitched in front of the judges.
The judges comprised of Olubayo Adekanmbi, the Chief Transformation Officer at MTN Nigeria, Prof. Maziar Nekovee, Professor, Engineering & Design, Sussex University, UK, Rolayo Akhigbe, Divisional Head, Transaction Banking, FCMB, Judith Okonkwo, Founder Imisi3D, and Akin Ajiboye, manager at Fleetpartners.
In the end, Liberty Oyugboh came out tops amongst the finalists with his entry, NATRICS power manager.
NATRICS power manager is a system that enables one to remotely regulate their electrical appliances anywhere in the world via mobile phones.
Believing his solution was worth its salt, Liberty travelled all the way to Lagos from Ilorin for the challenge, a move that was eventually rewarded with £6,000 worth of scholarship from the University of Sussex and a cash prize of ₦70,000.
In second place was SkillRev, an edtech initiative aimed at leveraging technology to incentivise learning of major technical and vocational skills. Pitching SkillRev on the day was Taiwo Nuhudeen.
Grad-forth Technology, another edtech platform, came third. Its e-learning digital platform is aiming to train and equip graduates and working professionals with future-focused skills to be employable for the next industrial revolution in Nigeria. Jeremy Hinmikaye pitched the e-learning platform in front of the distinguished judges.
The runner-ups went home with ₦50,000 and ₦30,000 respectively.
Completing the list of seven participating solutions were Afro 24/7, Agriple, Digital Bot, and an Intelligent Education Management information system.
Given the quality of their presentation, the grand prize could have swung in favour of any of the seven contestants any other day. But Liberty, the emerging winner, says he saw this opportunity coming.
"I was confident while pitching my idea, I knew exactly what I was talking about and more importantly, I have been preparing long before the opportunity."
Liberty graduated from Lagos State Polytechnic studying electrical and electronics engineering. He feels very strongly that all of those played a role in winning the challenge.
Like him, other winners were equally grateful and excited about the opportunity to be represented.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to be part of the competition. My vision remains to a create sustainable learning experience for students and graduates to acquire digital skills to become employable and productive," says Jeremy Hinmikaye, second runner-up.
The competition, which was organised by the University of Sussex and Techpoint, aimed at identifying, inspiring and rewarding future innovators, techpreneurs and artificial intelligence engineers in Nigeria for the fourth industrial revolution and the future of work.
“We truly hope that these young technovators and others from all around the world would take advantage of the future focused courses (including Data Science, Robotics, 5G Mobile Technologies & Embedded Systems and many more) at the University of Sussex to make their dreams come true and to behold the key to our collective future,” says Tosin Adebisi, Senior International Lead for Africa and the Middle East, University of Sussex.