Nigerian delegation, led by Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), accompanied by Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communication Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta and Managing Director, Nigerian Communication Satellite, Engr.
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Tukur Muhammad Funtua, who participated at the 2nd edition of the LEAP Technology Exhibition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as two Nigerian startups emerged winners in different categories at the Rocket Fuel Pitch Competition, and are coming home with a combined total prize of $300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand Dollars).
Over 10,000 Startups submitted applications from different countries. After rigorous scrutiny, the applicants were down to 220, and only 90 startups were selected to pitch their business ideas in the semi-final. Eight Nigerian Startups participated at the semi-final, and three reached the final stage.
RiceAfrika Technologies – is a tech-driven agric optimisation startup that deploys IoT-enabled harvester and its FARMEasy mobile app for smallholder farming communities in Africa.
RiceAfrika believes Africa can feed itself and feed the world. It emerged as the global best in ‘The Tech for Humanity Award’ category and is coming home with 150,000 dollars.
While Wicrypt – An innovative Tech startup decentralising the internet globally. The startup has a custom OS and hardware that allows users to share data with people around them and charge an affordable rate also won 150,000 dollars after he was announced as the global best in the ‘The Into New World Award’ category.
WiCrypt has a WiCrypt token $WNT an incentive for users who provide WiFi services using the WiCrypt Hardware MiFi Router.
Wicrypt-connected devices are all represented by unique NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) that are linked to the blockchain. Data points transmitted through the devices are all represented on the blockchain through the NFTs in real time on the Wicrypt block explorer.
Professor Pantami, leader of the Nigerian delegation, expressed his delight while maintaining that Nigerian Startups have all it takes to compete with their peers on the global stage.
“I am so proud of our Startups who emerged as the global best in these categories. It was quite a long journey that followed a rigorous process until the end; from over 10,000 applications to the final 12, in which three Nigerians took part and two emerged winners.
We are delighted that our startups are not only amazing but went through a lot of nurturing and mentorship to be the best in the world,” he noted.
The Minister stated that Nigeria is on the right track in implementing its National Digital Economy Policy and Strategies to ensure that Nigerian Startups add value to the global tech ecosystem.
We are building the ecosystem and making it more conducive for nurturing innovation-driven enterprises. Our startups are creating solutions for the local market that can easily scale to the global market.
“The journey started in 2019 shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for Digital Nigeria. Now we are reaping the positive benefits of our commitment. In the space of five months, we have Nigerians that are making us proud on the global stage.
“The eight entries from Nigeria competed with over 90 Startups in the semi-finals, showcasing their innovative ideas that will transform economies and solve pertinent issues around the world.
Therefore, they emerged global best. They did not only pitch to win grants but also attended various knowledge-sharing sessions, conferences and investor meetings that have exposed them to numerous ways to accelerate their products for the best market fit. The startups interacted with the world’s best mentors, angel investors and venture capitalists.”
“It is also noteworthy that of the eight Startups we brought to this year’s LEAP, three made it to the Grand Finale, two won, and are going back home to add value to our Digital Economy.
On behalf of the Nigerian government, we sincerely appreciate the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) Headquarters, Riyadh, for sponsoring our innovative startups to participate and showcase their innovations to the world”, he added.