Cross River born social entrepreneurs, Oyo Effiom and Favour Abatang have won the sum of 2Million naira from the 2022 NITDA’s Hackathon.

The duo of scoped the prizes at the recently concluded Hackathon organized by the Nigerian Technology Development Agency (NITDA), as part of its efforts to encourage local innovation for teeming Nigerian youths.

The Federal Ministry of Commuinication and Digital Technology, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the  National Center for Artificial intelligence and robotics hosted the South-South Hackathon.

The Hackathon opened a platform for young innovators to come up with innovation driven ideas to address local challenges in Agriculture, Security and Logitics.

Speaking at the opening of the region’s Hackathon challenge, held at the University of Calabar, the Director General of NITDA, Mr. Kashifu Inuwa asked the youth to embrace digital innovations to become entrepreneurs and job creators.

Inuwa who was represented by Dr. Salihu Abdulkareem of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, explained that “driving digital innovation and entrepreneurship by challenging Nigeria’s youth to create and develop solutions from inception to commercialisation will, no doubt, boost the country’s economy.”

The challenge’s theme is “Innovation-Driven Ideas for addressing local challenges in Health, Government, Transportation, Financial Services and Smart city in Nigeria for Social and Economic Development.”

The DG said that digital innovation and entrepreneurship would help fast-track the recovery of other traditional economic sectors by supporting the provision and adoption of indigenous and tailor-made solutions for nationwide implementation of the policy through automation, intelligent processes, and ICT solutions.

He further revealed that NITDA Hackathon 2022 aims to find solutions towards building a digital Nigeria, adding that talented Nigerians are challenged to come up with clearly defined ideas and prototypes of solutions around agriculture, logistics, and security for the swift growth and development of the country.

According to Kashifu, African continent is full of problems waiting to be solved, this presents the next biggest market worldwide. Nigeria, in particular, has a rapidly growing youthful population by which taking advantage of the market will lead to the creation of jobs, solutions, and revenue flow for the country.

He added that, collective responsibility is needed to achieve the positive impacts, for which the nation yearns for solutions, and encouraged the young innovators not to relent in their various efforts towards tackling the problems bedevilling the country, saying that such solutions will go a long way in addressing development issues.

He appealed youth from the region to always showcase their talents which will serve as channels for solutions to some of the problems that require immediate panacea.

He further revealed that the program also provides an avenue for young Nigerians to contribute their quota in the solution-finding and provides opportunities for creating jobs both directly and indirectly, keying into the Digital Economy policy that will facilitate the swift growth and development of the country.

The Vice-Chancellor, University of Calabar, Prof. Florence Banji Obi, ably represented by Prof. Idingesit Akpabio, Chairman, Committee of Deans, the University of Calabar, in her earlier remarks, appreciated NITDA for choosing the University of Calabar for the program. She commended the initiatives and the manner of their implementation across the country for the growth of our nation.

She commented that technology is changing how we do things and has fast-tracked operations processes. “Programs like this are needed to keep the young people busy solving the problems faced by the country, more so that such programs give an avenue for teeming youth to showcase their talents which will help solve those challenges,” she added.

Obi encouraged participants not to stop at solution finding after this program but to go further in actualizing what they have started, which she believes will bring about solutions to the problems faced in the country.

An elated Oyo Effiom who could not hide his joy said: “We won the NITDA Nigeria 1st Position for the South-South Hackathon!

“The past 72 hours has been about brainstorming and prototyping a tech solution for solving real human problems.

“I and my team member innovated on the agriculture sector and our solution is an e-commerce platform that connects farmers to buyers across Nigeria.

“Our solution is called Inwang. Yes INWANG! Those of you that followed me closely last year you can remember the Inwang business I started.

“I feel so happy that the idea won the first price for this competition. I am looking forward to turning this idea into a product that will create more wealth for our farmers in Nigeria.

“I am open to building business partners and funding to help us scale this idea,” said Oyo Effiom who is also the founder of The Guru Foundation.

In the same vein, Favour Abatang who came third in the competition expressed her delight for making the headlines as one of the winners.

“My team Mate, Meshach Philip and I, designed a solution PAYTRACK.

“PAYTRACK addresses the problem of security and trust between buyers and sellers that are non business owners with the use of an Escrow system.

“We came third place and we are ready to take on our ideas from Ideation stage to startup and gain more startup Capital.

“A big thank you to NITDA Nigeria and Ncair Nitda.”

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Hackathon 2022 currently in South-South Nigeria, has stimulated the quest for entrepreneurship among youths in the region.

Winners from the pitching context received cash prizes ranging from N1.5million for the overall Winners, N1 million for the first runner ups, and N500,000 to the second runner ups as the 3-day event ended with fanfare and beautiful memories.

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