Joseph Ojighoro, the founder of OJ Technologies Limited, a health tech business, emerged as the winner of the maiden Innovation Makers Challenge (IMC) organised by the Telecommunications and Technology Sustainability Working Group (TTSWG), receiving a cash prize of N2,000,000. The winner was selected after the top five contestants from across Nigeria vied for the grand award prize at the IMC 2023 Conference and Exhibition, which was held on Thursday, 9th November, at the Eko Convention Center, Lagos.
The IMC is a youth-centric initiative designed to accelerate the growth of innovative, sustainable, technology-driven ideas and products. The event had IHS Towers as the principal sponsor, with Quomodo Systems Africa and Arnergy as co-sponsors. Valentine Nnamani, founder of OneGrid Energies and Elijah Moses, founder of Kugatel, were awarded the first runner-up and second runner-up positions, respectively, receiving cash prizes of N1,000,000 and N500,000.
Following a three-day boot camp, the top five finalists emerged after a pre-pitch from the initial 20 applicants selected from the 1,716 registered participants in the challenge. The finalists presented innovative ideas across different technology fields, including fintech, health tech, assistive tech, and energy tech. The boot camp provided training on business management and was conducted by industry leaders and tech specialists from NCIC, official partners of the event
Speaking on the importance of nurturing the next generation for sustainable economic and societal development, the Vice Chair of the TTSWG Board, Dr Wunmi Hassan, stated, “I feel excited to observe the quality of thinking, problem-solving mentality, and skills that we have seen displayed so far. I look forward to great things in the future as we innovate and change Nigeria.”
Joseph Ojighoro, the winner of the challenge, pitched a business idea centred around utilising virtual reality to enhance clinical training and competency in Africa. Reflecting on his victory, he expressed, “Gratitude overwhelms me, and I am short of words to stand as the winner today. In a world where medical errors claim 2.6 million lives annually, making them the third leading cause of death in the world, my team’s journey to enhance clinical training and competency through the metaverse using virtual reality technology has taken another leap. Thank you to TTSWG for this initiative, and to the judges, I am short of words.”
Bekeme Olowola, Lead Consultant for TTSWG Secretariat and Chief Executive, CSR-in-Action, whilst delivering the opening remark, also posited that Nigeria is a country not just of endless potential but also of remarkable achievement, “Every byte and bit of advancement in technology is the steppingstone towards our collective progress. In Nigeria, technology isn’t just an industry, it’s a heartbeat pacing steadily to the rhythm of innovation that promises to elevate our national development to unprecedented heights.”
“As we applaud all the great progress recorded today, we must ponder deeply at the ethical tapestry of our creations. It’s not just about what technology can do but also what it should do. Let’s answer the call to wield technology with a conscience. It’s here to enhance humanity, not eclipse it.” Bekeme concludes.
The Innovation Makers Challenge (IMC) is a youth-centric initiative designed to offer a platform to celebrate and accelerate the growth of innovative individuals and startup founders with sustainable technology-driven ideas and products.
Pioneered in 2023 by the Telecommunication and Technology Sustainability Working Group (TTSWG), a collective of corporate organisations dedicated to advancing sustainability in the telecoms and technology sector in Nigeria, the IMC is specifically designed to pinpoint young innovators and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with forward-thinking concepts within the realms of technology and telecommunications. They are subsequently provided with crucial assistance in the form of finance, technical training, commercial counsel, and business advisory services, enabling them to elevate their inventive concepts to unprecedented levels of success.
The Telecommunication and Technology Sustainability Working Group (TTSWG) is a collaborative network comprising various corporate entities committed to advancing the telecoms and technology sectors by promoting global best practises, innovation, and thought leadership in business sustainability. Its establishment was driven by a proactive intent to assist the corporate sector in mitigating its potential adverse impact on sustainable development within the information, communication, and technology sectors.