NBA-SBL present cash gifts to winners of its maiden Innovation Hub Challenge

LB Correspondent

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The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) has presented cash gifts to the winners of its maiden Innovation Hub Challenge. In the keenly contested challenge, four (4) vibrant young entrepreneurs  emerged winners of the challenge and the cash gift presented to them will serve as seed funding for their businesses.

AIDER App, which emerged the winner of the challenge got $5,000; Sealed App, the first runner up got $2,500 while University Market Scope, which emerged the second runner up got $1,500. The third runner up also got a compensation cash prize of $1,000.

The Innovation Hub Challenge, which is part of the programmes of the recently concluded 15th annual NBA-SBL business law conference, was put together to support innovators and entrepreneurs in the quest to develop technological solutions that have the potential to accelerate economic and social growth in our emerging digital economy.

Speaking during the event for the presentation of prizes to the winners of the NBA-SBL Innovation Tech Hub Challenge, Rotimi Ogunyemi, chair, Innovation and Digital Subcommittee, for 15th annual business law conference said the Innovation Tech Hub Challenge was conducted in recognition of the growth of the digital economy is critical for the overall economy and realise that a lot of the work being done in Nigeria needs to be encouraged, nurtured and supported.

Ogunyemi explained that while the NBA-SBL has this rhetoric about growing the players in the sector, it thought it was also great to bring out the best ideas and support them with some kind of seed funding that will take them to the next stage of their endeavours.

“We definitely hope to see this continue in the next business law conference and beyond that we also hope that other sections of the NBA will partner with us on this and adopt this as a wider vision of the association,” he said

He disclosed that initially over 40 applications were received and that the subcommittee’s assessment of these applications is that they were all brilliant ideas, great teams, wonderful executions and wonderful products aimed at solving problems.

“Having said that, we also realise that a lot more needs to be done by way of urging these innovators forward and helping them build capacity so that they can build products that the users love. It has been a great start for all of them and particularly those who were shortlisted and the winners,” he explained.

Veracruz Gbolahan, CEO of University Market Scope who emerged the second runner up of the Innovation Hub Challenge explained that his business idea was to create a marketplace for the university community.

“We found out that the university community was suffering from some major shortcomings such as where to get their food and how to get infrastructures, amongst others. We realise that the majority of e-commerce platforms do not pay attention to the university community, so we decided to create an eco-system in the form of a marketplace for the university community essentially,” he further explained.

He assured that the seed fund given to his company will help them create a more superior technology, help get more infrastructure amenities that can serve the university community and also help move them to replicate the idea in several universities.

For Rosemond Phil-Othihiwa, a young lawyer and co-founder, Sealed App, who emerged the first runner up said Sealed App is a technology company that occupies a unique niche between the legal and tech industry.

“We have built and facilitated a software solution that enables businesses, individuals and corporate organisations to get access to legal services just by clicking the button. We have also created an ecosystem in which these individuals and businesses can make contact with legal practitioners who are specialised in various areas of law to enable them to get easy, convenient and accessible legal services,” Phil-Othihiwa.

She assured the Council of the NBA-SBL that the fund will enable her company reach top-of-mind awareness flying on the premise upon which the NBA-SBL has given them the wings to fly.

“We would leverage on this to expand our team as we look forward to achieving more strategic transactions being carried out on the app. So we will be deploying proper marketing strategies to enable us to gain top-of-mind awareness. So, these funds will help us to be able to break ground as we intend to launch as soon as possible,” she disclosed.

Ose Okpeku, chair, Programme and Content subcommittee for 15th annual Business Law Conference said the conference this year was centred on tech and innovation and the subcommittee thought it was important that it demonstrates what they are trying to achieve and that was the whole idea about the Tech and Innovation Hub Challenge.

Okpeku disclosed that all entries received were very good, so it was a difficult task choosing the top ones.

“Part of what we intend to do to sustain this, is to set up an innovation incubation hub, so that we can track the progress of the first winners and provide support to them. We will also make this an annual event. This will be a catalyst for growth in employment,” he assured.

Ozofu Ogiemudia, secretary, NBA-SBL who represented the chairman of the NBA-SBL said NBA-SBL is very proud of the innovation challenge, adding that it was the first edition and the association is very confident that it is going to go on for years to come.

“The pitches that were sent in show just how much potential our youths have in this country, combined with their drive for entrepreneurship and business,” Ogiemudia said.

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