By Mubarak Umar
Nigeria has once again exhibited her readiness in showing the world her innovative ideas, as the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), under the supervision of Ministry of Communications and Digital, presented nine (9) top Nigerian Innovative Technology-driven Startups that provided solutions to technology problems at the recently concluded 41st edition of the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX), the Middle East and Asia’s biggest technology show that took place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The winning entries who were fully sponsored by NITDA, submitted their various ideas that addressed Fifth-generation Wireless Technology (5G); Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Analytics; Transportation; Digital Economies; Cyber Security and Resilience; Cloud and Edge Computing, and Blockchain Technology.
As it is always being projected, GITEX Technology Week 2021 became a major meeting point for technology professionals and enthusiasts. The event is a thrust for the Global Startup Movement attracting world’s biggest technology mentors, angel investors and venture capitalists.
GITEX is the biggest tech event in Asia, Middle East and Africa, with over 4,500 exhibitors, 400 active investors and 150,000 trade visitors from 140 countries that participate at the five-day global tech expo and conference.
In addition to a series of conferences and workshops organised on the side-lines of the exhibition, GITEX Future Stars, is one of the world’s largest tech startup events of 2021. It hosts about 700 startups from more than 60 countries along with a network of more than 400 international investors and VCs that puts an increased spotlight on the transformational potential of Fintech and Blockchain.
Nigerian startups were not left behind; they showcased their innovative ideas to the world, interacted with other startups from different parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, luring investors to come to Nigeria and invest their money in the country’s fast growing digital economy.
The innovative startups that were exhibited and presented this year include: EDU-VR, Fascinate Technologies, Agricon, Trail, RINET, HalalVest, Fuel intellisense, Bridging Space and Chopwork Marketplace.
EDU-VR: created by Ibrahim Arome Ahmed, is a digital 3D learning solution that empowers students to directly engage with their subject matter through interactive virtual reality, augmented reality contents, transforming learning in the class room.
Speaking on GITEX experience, Ahmed said “the technology event was an amazing experience most especially providing us the platform to showcase our solutions to the rest of the world; it was also a platform to connect with like minds, partners and network with investors, big appreciation to NITDA for the opportunity.”
Fascinate Technologies: provides innovative waste management solution for homes and commercial hubs through smart waste bin that sends real time information as regards the content level of the waste to the users’ smart screen.
Chijioke Ngige (Co-founder) shared his thoughts thus, “Dubai Gitex 2021 was a great platform and exposure for me and my startup. I had the opportunity to interact with my fellow startup founders and other foreign strategic investors on how I can upscale our startup and improve our waste management solution.”
Trail: Founded by Malumi Opeyemi, is a car sharing application for general populace, schools and organisation that takes people to their nearest bus stop and destination leveraging on emerging technologies. It is GPS App that has live camera for monitoring children while being transported to schools.
Sharing his GITEX Experience, Opeyemi said, “It was a memorable and impactful experience, having to connect with like minds from different countries of the world is something awesome, thanks to NITDA for this great opportunity.”
Halalvest: created by AbdulAzeez Oguntoyinbo, is a digital platform and marketplace that simplifies access to ethical financial products and services such as halal savings, halal loans, takaful, halal investments, etc.
With Halalvest, you are prohibited from making transactions in ‘sinful stocks’, which include interest, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pork, weapons, etc.
Agrikoin: is an agricultural backed cryptocurrency, created to serve as a catalyst for financial inclusion within the agricultural value chain. It is also creating a decentralized supply chain that can allow farmers sell their produce seamlessly to end consumers.
The founder, Ismail Waziri Isa opined that “GITEX 2021 is a wonderful experience, for I was able to explore through the global tech ecosystem players, network with business mentors and investors of various categories. Most importantly, we were able to showcase what Nigeria has for the world towards making it a better place.”
RINET: is a platform designed to collate, preserve, manage, disseminate, digitize and safeguard intellectual property rights of research contents. These contents are stored in a centralized blockchain based repository in order to create interconnectivity of research innovations that will facilitate exchange of ideas, information and research methodology from different demographics of tertiary institutions personnel, student and independent researchers.
It’s founder, Usman Murtala, shared his experience that “GITEX 2021 is beyond what I thought it would be, the sheer technological advancement showcased by companies all around the world was huge. I want to specifically thank NITDA for giving us the opportunity and avenue to present our solutions to a wider audience on a global scale. It was incredible to meet partners, like minded startups and also potential investors.
BridgingSpace: is a technological intervention on health therapy for solutions to mental health challenges. It is an on-demand teletherapy support group and self-help service app.
Its founder, Edet Nsa Ekpenyong shared his GITEX experience thus: “The Gulf Information Technology Exhibition is a stellar opportunity for startups from Nigeria to engage with government intermediaries, international stakeholders, impact investors as well as fellow startups across 40 countries in the world. Without doubt, through the initiative of the Federal Government, BridgingSpace has had multinational exposure, access to investors and growth hacking opportunities to steer forward in the entrepreneurial waters.”
Fuel Intellisense: is an automated filling station inventory management system that eradicates financial leakages and enables optimal business collaboration between fuel stations and transport companies.
“GITEX was great, as it re-ignited my conviction about the success of Fuel Intellisense,” said Toluwalase Abikehin, founder.
Chopwork Marketplace: is an Artificial Intelligence powered global marketplace for digital products and services to help businesses setup and grow at any scale. Chopwork intends to eradicate poverty in Nigeria and Africa by giving people a platform to connect with clients globally, sell digital products and render quality services.
The founder, Jerry Ejiga Akoh said, “Chopwork marketplace is a global platform and since we launched, I’ve interacted with clients from across the globe but GITEX changed my perception about the scale that Chopwork needs to grow. My vision has grown exponentially as a result of my presence at GITEX. I was able to create lasting partnership in the little time I spent attending the conference. I am grateful to NITDA for availing me the opportunity to showcase my product to the world.
This year’s outing is an addition to what NITDA has been doing in the past, providing strong support for Nigerian startups by featuring talented young Nigerians at GITEX Future Stars Pavilion.
The Agency, in its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan 2021-2024 (SRAP), set to continue supporting startups, to upskill them through its subsidiary, National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR).