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Enugu SME Centre in spotlight as Hackathon Series uncovers innovative ideas

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Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

The Enugu SME Center has recorded a remarkable milestone with its ongoing Hackathon Series, a quarterly series in partnership with the private sector to bring the ideas of the teeming youth of Enugu State to the limelight.

So far, the healthy contest has brought together the best innovative minds with disruptive ideas and solutions to address the changes to ways of life and business as a result of Covid-19 and the institutional change it has created in the global ecosystem.

In its first edition, the quarterly series is targeted as both tech-inclined and non tech-inclined creative thinkers, to develop sustainable platforms, products and ventures to rebuild, recreate, and reinvent the future of business and innovation within Enugu State.

With focus on projects themes around agriculture, education, healthcare, small business tools and other use cases and services, the Hackathon Series has brought together over 300 teams in the first quarter, who tendered their ideas for consideration and consequent financial support.

While 25 out of the 300 ideas were considered disruptive, 10 have been marked marketable. They include; Areabuzz, Cosmos Automation, Creation Energy, Green Axis, Health Parameter Loop (Hepa Loop), Hovic, Igbo Scrabble (Egwuregwu Mkpuruedemede), Play, Learn and Win (PLW), Techsplen and Teen Coding Hub.

According to the Enugu SME Centre, the creator and organiser of the Hackathon Series, the judging criteria were built on the basis of progress, concept, and feasibility, which the top 10 ideas met.

Riding on their success so far, the top 10 marketable ideas would further engage in another round of contest for the final stage of the challenge on September 11, 2020 where Top 3 ideas with proven marketable, implementable concepts and funding-worth would be selected.

Moreover, the Top 3 ideas would receive cash prizes, with the winner getting a US$3,500 business support grant from the Enugu SME Center that would include; mentorship, business advisory, product development, technical support, media publicity, digital marketing support, and financial advisory services.

Speaking on the selection of the ideas, Enugu SME Centre, the organisers of the series, noted that the Hackathon was created to be a challenge, and not a competition of best ideas, and hence a contest of the best ‘marketable’ ideas.

However, the Hackathon Series is in line with the developmental and youth empowerment vision of Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, governor of Enugu State, who birthed a vision of the state becoming the economic epicenter of South-Eastern Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuany further stated that the economic epicenter vision of his administration is further boosted by the state’s enviable ranking as 2nd State in Ease of Starting Business and 3rd State in Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria in the 2018 World Bank Ease of Doing Business sub-national ranking, which has made corporates and businesses flocking the state to establish their presence.

Ugwuanyi is desirous of lifting families from poverty by creating many employment opportunities, is committed to supporting the Hackathon Series because of its avowed ability to harness the untapped potentials of the state’s teeming youth and Enugu people at large.

In furtherance of his commitment to the empowerment of Enugu youths and the people, the governor has relentlessly supported the Enugu SME Center, the organisers of the Hackathon Series.

Speaking on the rationale for the Hackathon Series, Hon. Arinze Chilo-Offiah, Special Adviser on SME Development & Investment Promotion/ Head, Enugu SME Center, noted that with the Covid-19 pandemic changing the way people live their lives and how they conduct business, people need solutions to address the changes, hence bringing innovative minds to offer solutions at the Enugu SME Hackathon Series.

On the expectations, which are being met by the quality projects and ideas harvested so far, Chilo-Offiah explained that, “We are looking for young individuals to come up with ideas, innovation, products or services that can make an impact in the society. We are looking for technology-based ideas, non technology-based ideas, tech founders and non-tech founders”.

The Enugu SME Center is the state developmental finance institution, which acts as a catalyst for job creation and facilitating easier access to finance and resources required by entrepreneurs and investors in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to achieve sustainable economic development in the state.


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