Fifteen teams have emerged as regional semi-finalists in the first Nigerian Content Science and Technology Innovation Challenge, STIC, which was opened to all higher institutions in Nigeria in November 2020.
The competition is sponsored by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, and its implementing partner-Enactus Nigeria and the semi-finalists are from higher institutions across the country, five respectively from the North, West and South/Eastern regions.
Each team in the competition is made up of two undergraduates and their schools include University of Ilorin, University of Jos, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Federal University, Dutse, Usman Danfodio University, Tai Solarin University of Education, University of Ibadan, Yaba College of Technology.
Other successful institutions are Anchor University, Lagos, Babcock University, Cross River University of Technology, Niger Delta University, Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Alex Ekwueme Federal University and Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
According to the Country Director of Enactus Nigeria, Michael Ajayi, the semi-finalist teams will now advance to the ‘proof of concept’ stage of the competition, where each team will be given N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira only) to develop a functional prototype of their innovative ideas.
According to him, “these will then be presented to a panel of judges at the in-person regional final competitions which will be held in the Northern, Western region and the South/East region respectively.
“During this event, the representatives of the participating institutions will be expected to demonstrate, using their functional prototypes, how their proposed innovation works to solve identified problems, and also demonstrate to the panel of Judges, how the innovation will continually create opportunities for job and wealth creation if accelerated and transformed into business ventures.”
A total of six regional finalists – two from each region will emerge from the 15 teams after the regional competition and will proceed to a one-week bootcamp where seasoned business development professionals from reputable organisations will work with NCDMB and Enactus Nigeria to mentor the six finalists to test their assumptions and perfect the business cases for their innovations.
“This strategy is a necessary step towards ensuring that the students’ innovations transition into full-fledged profitable enterprises that will create jobs for Nigerians, while creating sustainable wealth,” Ajayi said.
The Nigerian Content STIC is an enterprise-development program designed to challenge undergraduates of all accredited Nigerian tertiary institutions to stretch their ingenuity and apply science & technology, to create home-grown, innovative, and technologically driven business solutions that address some of the Country’s most pressing everyday problems, accelerate reverse-innovation and create wealth, while also providing job opportunities for the growing numbers of the unemployed people in Nigeria.
The dedicated online portal for the competition-www.stic.org.ng was open from November 19th, 2020 until January 31st, 2021, during which time a total of 511 entries were received from undergraduates in 129 tertiary institutions across all 36 states of Nigeria, and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
The Country Director, Michael Ajayi, confirmed that the process of arriving at the 15 teams for the regional semi-final was very rigorous. He stated that a panel of 63 individuals from diverse fields, ranging from business development to information technology, business strategy and social enterprise development committed over 156 man-hours to complete a 3-stage screening process over a period of three weeks.
Apart from the handsome money for the winning team, the NCDMB will also award N20million investment towards the development of a Research and Development Centre in the institution that the winning undergraduates represent.