The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), managers of the Nigeria sovereign wealth fund is set to open the application portal for its NSIA Prize for Innovation (NPI), a capacity building initiative which aims to bolster innovation within Nigeria’s digital ecosystem.
The Authority would open the application portal for the competition to innovators, technopreneurs and startups.
According to a statement yesterday, the NPI is a multi-year commitment by the NSIA to empower early-stage Nigerian innovators.
The Programme was designed to encourage and support ingenuity within the digital ecosystem and to fund early-stage tech-enabled solutions that could result in cost-effective, scalable, and transformative economic impact.
In this edition of the programme, the NPI would adopt a three-staged competition at the end of which ten finalists would emerge. The top three of these would win varied prizes comprising equity investment into the underlying business as well as cash prizes.
It explained that the last seven finalists would win consolation prizes.
“Budding technopreneurs who intend to participate in the Programme will be evaluated and shortlisted in line with set eligibility criteria. The shortlisted candidates will participate in an acceleration programme to enhance their capabilities and digital solutions.
“The top 10 entries will partake in a pitch-session on demo day from which a winner will emerge. The programme will run for 16 weeks,” it added.
The statement further explained that the innovation prize would identify, build, and finance early-stage innovative solutions to catalyse economic growth, enhance the nation’s productive capacity, and create jobs.
In addition, it would provide an enabling platform to showcase early-stage innovative solutions with transformative potential, create an avenue for Nigerian innovators to raise capital and network with a universe of investors and established technology experts, strengthen the capital formation process for viable digital solutions originating in Nigeria and inspire ingenuity, creativity, innovation, and breakthrough ideas in the digital ecosystem in Nigeria through cycles of prize competitions.
Commenting on the planned opening of the NPI application portal, MD/CEO, NSIA, Aminu Umar-Sadiq said, “The NPI is an initiative of the NSIA that aims to deliver two objectives for our country. Firstly, it ensures that those great solutions developed by Nigerian founders, find local, patient capital; mentorship and value-addition to assist businesses succeed and scale.
“Secondly, it crowds in other strategic partners and financiers into the Nigerian digital ecosystem for the benefit of our entrepreneurs.”
The MD further said, “Driving innovation and technology is at the heart of the business strategy for the next phase of NSIA’s evolution. We believe that the digital economy will become a mainstay of our economy. We hope that our involvement could lead to measurable transformation across the digital value chain as we have done in other focus sectors over the years.”