By Chinenye Anuforo
The Nigeria Innovation Summit (NIS) 2021 (Virtual Edition) with the theme: Charting a New Economic Path Through Technology, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, organized by InnovationHub Africa, and held on October 5-6, 2021 was successfully concluded with the participation of delegates and stakeholders across the globe, who connected virtually.
The Summit in its 6th year is an annual event that brings together stakeholders from different sectors of Nigeria’s economy to share ideas, trends, and opportunities around technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship development in Nigeria. The three-day event was dedicated to promote innovation in all sectors of the economy in Nigeria.
Highlights of the summit included Keynote Sessions and Presentations, Innovative Showcase by startups, NiX Talks, and Panel Discussions/Interactive Sessions which were given by distinguished speakers including Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi DG/CEO, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Lanre Ogungbe, CEO IdentityPass; Prof Tony Bailetti, Chair of the Board Nigeria-Canada Trade & Investment Group; Oluwajoba Oloba, Co-Founder, The Nest Technology Innovation Park; Prof. Isaac Abereijo, Director, Institute for Entrepreneurship and Development Studies (IFEDS), OAU; Dr. (Mrs) Erigbe Patience Ajirioghene, Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship Development and General Studies, Mountain Top University; Dr. Stephen Oluwatobi, Board Chair, Hebron Startup Lab at Covenant University; Johnny Enagwolor, Co-founder Treepz; Bola Lawal, Co-founder & CEO, ScholarX; Bruno Woeran, Head, Research & Innovation, PMU, Austria.
The crowning of the Nigerian Innovation Summit (NIS) 2021, was The Nigeria Innovation Awards Night (NIAN) 2021. The Nigeria Innovation Awards recognises and awards key innovators at the forefront of the Nigerian Innovation landscape, as well as disruptors bringing positive and empirical impacts as well as progressive solutions to unique challenges.
Of the hundreds nominated for the Nigerian Innovation Awards 2021, only ten organisations and individuals emerged worthy recipients of this year’s awards, given their impressive track record to innovatively tackle problems and measurable impacts in keeping the Nigerian innovation landscape sustainable.
The 2021 NIAN awardees include Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi for His Effort in Technology Development in Nigeria through NITDA. Sterling Bank Plc. for innovating consumer / retail banking with digital products; Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) For Pioneering & Supporting Startup Development in Nigeria’s Academic Environment; The Nest Innovation Hub for supporting innovation in the tech & startup ecosystem, Kudabank for innovating banking through digital bank, Chaka for innovating retail investment opportunities for Nigerians, Utiva for innovating education through Online Learning, Helpmum for Innovating maternal and infant health, Greenage Technologies, for innovating energy through indigenious smart solar inverters and Treepz for innovating mass transport through bus-hailing.
Speaking on the summit and the Nigeria Innovation Awards, Tony Ajah, Programme Director of Nigeria Innovation Summit says “the submissions and recommendations from NIS 2021 proves that in this post-covid era, there is a need to build innovative business solutions, and develop an ecosystem in Nigeria across all sectors drive innovation by promoting local content development, and locally-relevant technological solutions. Key stakeholders and innovation actors must have a decentralised collaborative platform to exchange ideas and mobilise the increasing knowledge of innovation to greatly impact on the socio-economic development of Nigeria so that local innovation can solve local issues. This will improve performance across every sector of the economy. NITDA as an agency of government is poised to create opportunities for the development of homegrown technology solutions including the indigenous manufacture of competitive IT components, to meet the needs of the country, create jobs and wealth, compete globally and generate foreign exchange earnings. Other agencies of government are encouraged to emulate such initiatives.”
The Nigeria Innovation Summit 2021 had participation from 5 continents, delegates from government agencies, diplomats, academic communities and research institutes, international organisations, investors, innovators, business/thought leaders, innovators, startups and students. And this year’s Summit received huge support from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); The Next Technology and Innovation Hub as partners, and was sponsored by IdentityPass and Sterling Bank Plc.