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COVID-19 Virtual Hackathon: NCC Shortlists 3 Digital Innovation Startups

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  • Set To Award N9m Research Grants To Winners

By Angeline Ngbele, Correspondent Abuja

Telecommunications  sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC),  has firmed  up arrangements to award research grants to the tune of N9 million(US$ 23,228.20) to three deserving Nigerian startups with proposals for adaptable digital solutions for containing the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

According to a statement from the Director of Public Affairs at the Commission, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, the selection of the three companies followed a careful and painstaking evaluation of 282 entries in the NCC COVID-19 Virtual Hackathon from digital innovation Startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by an evaluation committee set up by the Commission.

Dr. Adinde says that the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has since extended invitations to operators and other industry stakeholders to participate virtually in the Grant/Prize Award ceremony, which holds in the Conference Room of the Commission at 11:00 am prompt on Tuesday September 1, 2020.

The health and economic crisis triggered by the novel COVID-19 Pandemic had challenged the global ICT community to search for digital solutions to address and contain the spread of the virus. Such solutions would allow citizens and businesses to rein in the virus and continue their activities with limited disruptions.

As a response, according to Adinde,  NCC instituted a programme to award research grants to support Startups and Digital SME’s with adaptable innovative digital solutions that could address present and future impacts of pandemic and epidemic-prone diseases in Nigeria.

Under the programme, the DPA further explained, the Commission would award N9 Million research grants to three Nigerian startups with the most innovative digital solutions for containing pandemics and epidemics in the country in the thematic areas of health, community, productivity, economy and transportation. The highlights of the ceremony include pitching/demonstration of the top three solutions by the startups, announcement of the winners and presentation of research prizes.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, will give a keynote address and present prizes to the top three startups with the most promising solutions and will be supported by the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the NCC, Professor Adeolu Akande and the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Office, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta with other members of the Board of Commissioners of NCC.

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