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369 Startups battle for NITDA sponsorship to compete at Gitex 2016 ‎

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Vincent Olatunji

Vincent Olatunji

About 369 technology startups are currently battling to have a chance to participate in the Gitex 2016 Startup Movement and pitch for the $100,000 prize at the technology trade show billed to hold in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in November.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), which has been a partner to Gitex, planned to sponsor 10 techpreneurs to the global startups event that will be attracting over 400 startups in addition to the over 150, 000 trade visitors from more than 150 countries expected to attend the five-day technology expo and conference.

To get startups to participate, the NITDA set up a Startup Sub-committee led by Bunmi Okunowo, who is the National Coordinator for the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE).

The Startup sub-committee is under Nigeria@Gitex 2016 Local Organising Committee (LOC) inaugurated recently by the acting Director- General of the NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji. The Startup sub-committee is mandated to select the winning entries that will benefit from the NITDA startup sponsorship initiative.

To get process going and engage the stakeholders, the Startup sub-committee launched an online application form for Nigerian tech-driven startups to indicate interest at http://goo.gl/forms/SPVkfzGcWf.

Application opened on May 7 and closed on May 19. An online advert was launched on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to the Nigerian tech startup ecosystem.

According to NITDA, in all, 180,000 online impressions were recorded and 709 link clicks resulting in 369 entries submitted by startups as at the end of application on May 19 from 32 states across the country and nine other countries (Ethiopia, Cameroon, Uganda, Chad, Botswana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Gambia, UK).

“Responses have been impressive, and we hope to get the best startups to represent Nigeria at this global startup hub,” said Okunowo

According to plan, 15 to 17 startups which must have unique tech-driven solutions/businesses that address the themes of Gitex are to be pre-selected. Thereafter, the final selection process for 10 will follow at a pre-selection meeting scheduled for this week.

“At this meeting, we will present the pitch deck/presentation of all the pre-selected startups; invite those in Abuja to come and pitch their solution before the committee. Six members of the sub-committee will score each of the startup and hand over the score sheets to Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE) to compile. For those startups that are outside Abuja or unable to come physically, OIIE will schedule a phone call to them, call them at scheduled interval and have them pitch over the phone on the same slide deck that they have submitted. They will pitch for four minutes, answer few questions for just two minutes and let go off the phone. At the end of the meeting, the six evaluators will score them and submit the score sheet to OIIE team for compilation,” said Okunowo.


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