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UKPA: Nigerian, other African tech startups invited to apply for new UK global awards

*The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office at the British Deputy High Commission, in Lagos, discloses winners of the the Unicorn Kingdom: Pathfinder Awards will receive a tailormade programme to help in scaling up and growing their businesses in new techs in the United Kingdom’s thriving tech sector valued at $1 trillion

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for Business and Trade (DBT) is inviting  the “most promising” tech start-up companies across the world through the Unicorn Kingdom: Pathfinder Awards (UKPA).

The DBT announced the Unicorn Kingdom: Pathfinder Awards are now open to start-up companies specialising in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) Technology, Cybersecurity and Digital Trade Solutions from across Africa.

Ndidiamaka Eze, Senior Press and Public Affairs Officer/Communications Lead at  Prosperity and Economic Development of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office at the British Deputy High Commission, in Lagos, disclosed  in a statement that the winners would receive a tailormade programme to help in scaling up and growing their business in the UK, including industry meetings, VIP, events and expert business growth support.

First announced by the UK’s Business Secretary at London Tech Week June 2023, the initiative builds on the success of the UK’s Tech Rocketship Awards and Global Entrepreneur Programme, noted the statement.

Building on the success of the UK’s Tech Rocketship Awards, UKPA will be the UK’s Department for Business and Trade’s largest global awards for tech start-up companies ever.

Categories and eligibility for applications

The UK’s Department of Business and Trade also stated start-up companies with ambitions to grow globally in the AI, Connected & Automated Mobility (CAM) Technology, Cybersecurity and Digital Trade Solutions sectors are eligible to apply for a chance to pave their way into the UK’s thriving tech sector, valued at $1 trillion.

Commenting on the global programme, UK Investment Minister Dominic Johnson said: “These awards are a fantastic opportunity for tech scale-up companies to join the UK’s thriving $1 trillion tech sector.

“The awards are part of our commitment across government to help more businesses scale up, and benefit from our highly skilled workforce and supportive regulatory system.”

Johnson noted: “The UK already has more unicorns than France and Germany combined, and our country continues to be a place where tech businesses from across the world come to thrive.”

In his remarks on the new UKPA, His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa John Humphrey also stated: “The African startup landscape is now front and centre as the world focusses on African know-how and innovation. “From bustling tech-hubs across the continent from North to South and East to West, young businesses are changing the game by providing innovative solutions to African and global problems, while creating jobs and empowering their communities in the process.”

The statement further noted: “The launch of the Unicorn Kingdom: Pathfinder Awards across Africa, which offers tech start-ups from across this vibrant continent the opportunity to showcase their innovation and potential on a global scale, while opening up fascinating opportunities for the UK’s already vibrant tech ecosystem, is an exciting journey of growth and success.”

According to DBT, the UK offers endless opportunities, including a highly skilled workforce, fair regulatory system, and welcoming business environment.

Winners will receive a tailormade programme in the UK that includes meetings with leading industry and government sector specialists, invites to VIP events and receptions – and expert support from DBT’s Global Entrepreneur Programme, which supports ambitious businesses to scale and grow from a UK global headquarters, Eze said in the statement.

It is equally noted the winners would gain exposure and recognition through promotional activities run by DBT to accelerate their growth in the country’s economy.

It is recalled the UK Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch first had announced the Unicorn Kingdom: Pathfinder Awards during her keynote speech at London Tech Week 2023.

However, it stated that any promising tech companies can only apply for one category, with one regional winner per category and one overarching category winner.

Submissions will be shortlisted, followed by three rounds of pitching, with regional finals, semi-finals with the live finals taking place in the UK in the autumn.

Applications opened on 1st March and closes 30th April 23:59 GMT. Find out more at great.gov.uk/ukpa or contact the team at ukpa@businessandtrade.gov.uk, the statement added.

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