On Saturday, 19 September 2020, five innovative teams were selected as winners of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Technology (NOGTECH) Hackathon sponsored by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
They are: Fuel Intellisense, Homefort Energy, Gricd Mote, Kiakia Gas and Airsynq.
The three-day hackathon started on Thursday, 17 September 2020 with the teams having detailed engagement with industry experts, mentors and entrepreneurs. After the 15 semi-finalists made presentations on their innovations, the judges picked 5 projects as the most innovative and bankable.
The General Manager, Capacity Building Division, NCDMB, Dr. Ama Ikuru explained that call for entries was made in June across seven thematic areas: health, asset security, tackling cyber threats, renewable energy, skills and talent management and supply chain. He said that a total of 630 entries were received at the close of submission in the third week of July.
The 5 winning teams were each given a cheque of US$10,000 equity-free grant. They will proceed to participate in a 3-month incubation programme during which they will get workspace, expert mentors, global partners and market access to the nation’s oil and gas industry. This will help to ensure they become more commercial and investor ready for their innovative solutions.
During the panel session on the grand finale, Flutterwave, Andela and Future Africa boss, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, stressed on the need for more investment in Nigerian youths’ research and innovation. “We need to invest in Nigerian youth research and Innovation,” he said.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote announced at the closing of the programme that the Board will support these selected 5 firms in their product development phase, drawing from the US$50million Nigerian Content Research & Development Intervention Fund. “The Board’s support will go into helping the companies get patents for their innovations and produce prototypes, supporting them to conduct field trials, business start-up as well as provide industry linkages,” he added.
He confirmed that the Board’s funding would depend on the success of the product incubation phase and the goal is to fund bankable businesses, not charities.
Wabote counselled the winners to be clear about their vision and strategy while retaining their passion. He stressed that their motivation should not be on making quick financial gains, rather on innovating solutions, making a difference and contributing to the society.
According to him: “All the greatest inventors, particularly in the technology space, did not start by looking for money. They started because they wanted to make a difference and create a change. “The prize money is not the key factor. It was meant to bring people together,” he added.
NOGTECH is the first ever technology hackathon in the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry and it was organized by the NCDMB in partnership with Learners Support Consultancy Company. The Lead Partner, Francisca Chiedu and Associate Partner, Damilare Ogunleye at Learners support consult made sure the bootcamp was a successful event.