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Digital Economy: NCC invites applications for 3rd Annual Innovation Competition

*The Nigerian Communications Commission requests startups, tech hubs, investors and the entire ICT ecosystem to participate in the third edition of the Annual Innovation Competition, restating the Commission’s commitment to promoting innovation for the sustainability and continuous development of the communications industry in the West African country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In line with the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) strategic intent as encapsulated in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS 2020-2030) Pillar 8 “Indigenous Content Development and Adoption”, the Commission says it is committed to promoting innovation for the sustainability and continuous development of the Nigerian Communications Industry.

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ConsumerConnect reports Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at the telecoms sector regulatory Commission, in a public notice issued Monday, January 9, 2023, invites startups, tech hubs, investors and the ICT ecosystem to participate in the third edition of the Annual Innovation Competition.

The theme of this year’s edition of the programme is, “Utilising Indigenous Digital Solution to Bridge the Digital Divide”.

Objectives of ICT Innovation Competition

In connection with the overall goal of the programme, the NCC stated: “The ICT Innovation Competition will be a medium for showcasing talents and innovations in ICT ecosystem.

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“This is aimed at motivating and encouraging Nigerian youths to engage in innovative developments for the telecoms industry and improve the nation’s ability to compete in the global economy.”

Muoka also noted that this year’s edition of the competition is designed to promote indigenous solutions to bridge the digital divide.

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“The objective is to assemble tech hubs and techpreneurs with solutions in respect of the theme to showcase their innovations and solutions,” said the NCC Director of Public Affairs.

Eligibility for participation

The Commission noted that the prospective technology hubs and startups entering the competition are required to submit proposals that meet the following criteria for consideration:

  • The project should be relevant to the ICT/Telecommunication industry.
  • Interested parties should be duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria (CAC).
  • Proof of concept (feasibility of idea with diagram, algorithm, etc.).
  • Novelty of the project.
  • The pitch idea should demonstrate clear commercial sustainability and profitability framework.
  • Team diversity and indigenous capacity to develop and support the solution.

Application guidelines

All applications should be Online.

The Commission noted that there is “no cost to enter the competition” and a prospective applicant will retain full control and ownership of his/her technologies.

Each team will register and submit the following documentations:

4-Page Executive Summary of the project concept

A 5-7 minutes video of the pilot project

Names, contact details, passport photographs and profiles of all team members.

Website

Interested and qualified Startups should submit the above documents in a zip folder to: https://ncc.gov.ng/ictinnovation2023

The subject of the mail should read “Submission from <business name>” and the zipped file named after the business.

Application process

The ICT Innovation Competition will open from the 9th – 15th January 2023. Entering the competition is free. Please see more on the event schedule below.

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According to NCC, 15 tech hubs and startups will be shortlisted to showcase their technologies to a Panel of Judges at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Oshodi, Lagos Campus, and those shortlisted will be announced January 23, 2023.

Awards

The Commission further discloses the tech hub and startups with the “Three Best Innovative Prototypes” will be awarded cash Prizes of N2 million, N1.5 million and N1 million respectively, while consolation prizes will be given to the other competitors.

Accommodation will be provided for the competitors for four nights, stated the Commission.

2023 Key dates

Date Stage
9th-15th Jan 2023 Applications open online
23rd Jan 2023 Shortlisted Tech Hubs bs and Startups announced
6th Feb 2023 Shortlisted Tech Hubs and Startups arrive DBI, Oshodi, Lagos Campus for a 2-day pitch
7th-8th Feb 2023 A 2-day pitch/ exhibition and grading of contestants by Panel of Judges at Digital Bridge Institute in Lagos
9th Feb 2023 Award of prizes/ Closing ceremony

Important information/notice for applicants

The NCC has stressed that applying for the Innovation Competition counts as a public disclosure of the applicant’s idea, and it is his/her responsibility to adequately protect such ideas before making an application.

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The Commission stated: “Prior to applying, please ensure that you are satisfied with the level of protection for any ideas or materials included in the application.

“Please seek legal advice, if necessary. Failure to do so may affect your ability to protect your ideas in the future.

“Applicants are not required to provide more details about their ideas than what is required in the online application form.”

It, however, noted that providing insufficient details may affect the ability of the Panel of Judges to make a fair assessment of an application.

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“The deadline for submission of entries is the 15th January, 2023. Shortlisted applicants will be announced on the 23rd January, 2023.

“Shortlisted applicants are required to be available at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Oshodi, Lagos campus on the 6th February, 2023, to exhibit and showcase their solutions,” said the Commission.

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The telecoms regulator said for further enquiries, interested startups, tech hubs, investors in the ICT ecosystem are directed to e-mail: ashanono@ncc.gov.ng   mmgarba@ncc.gov.ng bblawal@ncc.gov.ng.

It added that an independent Panel of Judges would determine a First and Runner-up entry, and the Judges’ decision would be final in the 3rd Edition of the Annual Innovation Competition.

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