NCDMB Partners Enactus Nigeria, Launches First Nigerian Content Science and Technology Innovation Challenge
By Margaret Nongo-Okojokwu
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has entered a partnership with Enactus Nigeria for the implementation of its local content development program – the Nigerian Content Science and Technology Innovation Challenge (STIC).
The Nigerian Content STIC is an enterprise development program designed to challenge students of all accredited Nigerian tertiary institutions to stretch their ingenuity and apply science & technology, to create home-grown, innovative, and technologically driven business solutions that address some of our pressing everyday problems, accelerate reverse-innovation and create wealth, while also providing job opportunities for the growing numbers of the unemployed people in Nigeria.
The STIC is also structured to provide opportunity for the successful applicants to experience top-of-the-range personal and professional development through a mentorship program integrated into the project implementation. The successful applicants will also be applying themselves to the rigors of market research, critical thinking, ideation, product development & marketing, implementation, performance control, and proof of concept as they attempt to create their unique business solutions consistent with the winning ideas for the STIC.
Speaking at the official launch of the NC STIC held on Thursday, November 19th at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Victoria Island, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote, enunciated how universities in developed countries have played key roles in innovation, research & development and adaptation of new technologies. However, Nigerian Universities have over the years remained less aggressive in pursuing expanded educational goals that will promote the commercialization of research products to promote rapid industrial growth and create jobs for our youths. He stated that supporting the creation and management of research-based, sustainable entrepreneurial ventures will not only fast-track the achievements of the Board’s 10-year strategic roadmap but will also spark technological innovation across Nigerian universities. He mentioned that the NC STIC, which is opened to all undergraduates in accredited tertiary institutions in Nigeria provides a unique platform for students and tertiary institutions, to embrace and imbibe the concept of Research and Development (R&D) in creating sustainable innovative solutions to life’s problems.
Also speaking at the official launch, the Country Director of Enactus Nigeria, Mr Michael Ajayi, expressed his optimism in the potential of the Science and Technology Innovation Challenge (STIC), to positively engage the Nigerian youths, create job opportunities and discourage capital flight. In his words, “the STIC is also designed to encourage Nigerian students to embrace entrepreneurship as a career option by supporting the development of entrepreneurial ventures, promoting reverse-innovation and reducing the incidence of unemployment in the country. He further thanked the management team of the NCDMB for the courage and commitment to investing in the youth population of Nigeria through the STIC and stated that such deliberate and targeted investments like these truly prepare the youths of today to succeed and thrive now and in the future.
Providing more information about the implementation of the STIC, Ajayi indicated that the STIC is scheduled to run for a seven (7) month period from submission of applications online, to regional competitions and then to the grand finale. In his words, the science and technology innovation challenge provides a unique opportunity for Nigerian students with the most innovative and compelling solutions to problems in any sector of the Nigerian economy, to get enrolled in the capacity development program that the STIC also provides. The winners of the STIC also gain access to funding, business incubation, mentorship, and training that will accelerate the journey from business ideation to the market.
The Executive Governor of Lagos State, Dr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, speaking through his special adviser on innovation and technology, delivered the keynote address where he expressed the commitment of his administration to collaborating with all stakeholders as well as to growing innovation as evidenced by the recent funding of seven innovative start-up companies in areas such as food security, secular economy and COVID-19 prevention, as well as the funding of research initiatives in University of Lagos, Lagos State University, Yaba College of Technology and the African Research Centre of Excellence
Mr Olukayode Pitan, the MD/CEO of Bank of Industry, Ms Teju Abisoye, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSTEF) and Mr Tonye Cole, the co-founder and former Executive Director of Sahara Energy who were also present at the event took turns to speak about how their organizations were supporting innovation and entrepreneurial development among Nigerian youths. They also challenged the youths to continually utilize opportunities such as those provided by the NCDMB through the STIC, as well as others provided by Government and private sector, to showcase their creative potential and create the jobs for the future.