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Heritage Bank offers tech start-ups over $40,000 grants


Team members of TREP Labs, winners of Heritage Bank Innovation Lab Accelerator programme (HB-LAB), Taofeek Olalekan (right); and Alayande Abiola; Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo; team members of and first runner-up, Chigozie Orunta; Benjamin Omebuchi; and Sebastin Chinedu, during the maiden edition of the programme tagged: “Demo Day,” in Lagos.

Heritage Bank Plc has doled out more than $40,000 grants to winners of the maiden edition of its HB Innovation Lab Accelerator programme (HB-LAB), as part of its efforts to support Nigeria’s aspiration and roadmap to becoming a leading Information Communication Technology (ICT) Hub in Africa.

The maiden edition, tagged, ‘Demo Day,’ was a 12-week programme, expected to provide technology start-ups seeking additional investments to progress and accelerate market adoption of their solutions with co-working, internet resources and seed funding.

But the bank said its commitment was to create enabling environment, resources and support required to innovate and accelerate impactful solutions with the potential to improve financial inclusion/intermediation, health, automobile, agriculture, and other related problems affecting critical sectors of the economy.

At the grand finale of the programme, of the seven groups, Trep Labs-Real Drip emerged the winner with the most compelling solution and won N10 million, while, got N5million prize, as the first runner-up, which is a value in excess of $40,000.

The Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Ifie Sekibo, said the bank knew it was in the best interest of the country to pay attention to the development to the technology and industrial sector.“The future of the country lies in the hands of its youth. Our youths are talented, and Heritage Bank is committed to harnessing this talent to grow the economy,” he said.
He noted that although in Nigeria, technology start-ups still account for relatively small share of all businesses, they have an outsized impact on economic growth, because they provide better-paying, longer-lasting jobs than other start-ups, and they contribute more to innovation, productivity and competitiveness.
“Starting up a business newly is one of the most difficult stage of the business. You would need to source capital and manpower. Considering the fact that you are a new business, those items are not so easy and cheap for to acquire. “However, the presentations we have seen today shows how gifted Nigeria is with human resources. Our youths have demonstrated that the country still has a beautiful future.

“I am impressed with the start-ups, after six weeks of drilling and grooming they have been able to develop up to this point; everyone is a winner tonight as far as I am concerned.“Based on the success of this maiden edition we are going to continue this initiative, we would go back to our laboratory and create something bigger for the upcoming editions,” he added.


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