Nigeria and the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), organisers of the annual GITEX Technology Week, have exchanged notes on how to better expose the country’s ICT startups featuring at this year’s Gitex Technology Week billed to hold in October.
Nigeria’s participation at the GITEX STARTUP MOVEMENT is being facilitated by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). About Nigerian 16 startups will be joining over 400 startups and more than 1,000 entrepreneurs, investors and mentors from the global startup ecosystem. About USD 100, 000 will go to the winning startups. But others have chance to pitch for deals from the numerous investors attending the event.
The GITEX STARTUP MOVEMENT is being touted by the DWTC as the “exclusive set-up [that] will highlight the most innovative startups around the world and provide them a platform to sell, form partnerships and attract investors. Participants will also be able to pitch for prizes, attend an interactive conference to address challenges faced by entrepreneurs and meetleading industry figures.
“The initiative has already garnered tremendous interest and momentum from supporters across the globe including Business France, Cross Trade agency in Singapore, Digi Robotics in the UAE, Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), Japan’s Jetro agency, Marco Trade Export in Morocco, Star Systems agency in Iran and STC from KSA.”
Following the meeting with the DWTC at the World Trade Centre in Dubai, UAE, the NITDA officially added Nigeria as a participating country to join top contenders like Japan, France, Egypt, Morocco and Iran among others. NITDA’s officials were led by its acting Director General Dr. Vincent Olatunji. In the delegation were acting Director of Finance, Ibrahim Umar Ede, Head of Corporate Communication, Hajia Hadiza Umar, and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Femi Adeluyi. Others are Mr. Akande Ojo of Pinnacle Consulting International LLC and Segun Oruame of Knowhow Media International.
The Nigerian startups which will be representing the country were selected following a rigorous process in which evaluators had to assess more than 369 entries from 32 states across the country. Nine entries were received from other countries. The selection process was carried out by the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), a subsidiary of NITDA with the responsibilities to nurture, cultivate and expand ICT innovation.
According to Ridah El Awad of the Exhibition & Event Management sector of the DWTC during the meeting with NITDA, criteria to be used for participating startups at the GITEX STARTUP MOVEMENT include the following: “startup must be under five years in operation, and startup had not received over USD$1 million in total funding. Judges will be looking for the following features: Creativity (originality of idea) to determine if there already similar solutions/products via technology or whether the startups are the first to do it.
“Others are: Potential (longevity, actualization and profitability) which would look at whether apart from how much revenue generated by the startup so far, the startup had received investment offers; Functionality (usability of interface) which considers if there is a major problem the startup technology solution is solving within or out of Nigeria or its immediate country-environment; Goodness (How does the product/service impact or improves the world?); Team /People, who are the drivers, and whether they have the team spirit to make the startup a successful enterprise. The assessment would also consider whether the GITEX STARTUP MOVEMENT is the first technology show/pitch competition that the startups are participating in.
“Nigeria is committed to promoting startups. It has even become more strategic as the country seeks to aggressively re-engineer its economy earn FOREX from non-oil sectors. We are participating in the GITEX STARTUP MOVEMENT to expose our own startups and see how they can leverage on the event to improve their entrepreneurship. At NITDA, we believe that our youths have the wherewithal to excel anywhere in the world, what is needed is to build capacity in them and also give them exposure. We are glad to be working with you to gain these benefits,” said Dr. Olatunji.