Nigerians Top DEMO Africa 2014 List
(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) From over 400 entries, shortlisted to 242 ventures and then 40 finalists, 14 Nigerian entrepreneurs have qualified to launch at this year's DEMO Africa Conference next September holding in Lagos.
Kenya (5), Ghana (4) and Egypt (4) followed, with Rwanda (2), Tanzania (2), South Africa (2) and Ethiopia (2) and Tunisia (1), Benin (1), Cameroon (1), Uganda (1) and Zimbabwe (1) make up the rest.
There were 12 categories of enterprises which addressed subjects varying from Banking & Finance, Education, Manufacturing, Retail, Media & Entertainment, Transport & Logistics, Agriculture, Communication, Energy, Health, Water & Sanitation, and Waste Management & Recycling.
Communication received the highest entry totalling 76, with 14 of the 40 finalists in this category. There were eight finalists of the 18 entries under Finance & Banking as Retail, Health and Education. Water & Sanitation, Waste Management and Recycling as these categories had zero entries.
According to DEMO Africa Executive Producer Harry Hare, "We had really amazing entries this year, but unfortunately the DEMO Africa team can only accommodate 40 for now. The high number of entries is inspiring. It only shows that entrepreneurs have risen above the fear of venturing into new waters to create new products. This in itself shows that confidence levels in Africa-made solutions are steadily rising. I am confident that we will get to levels where we can generate solutions that can be applied globally," said Hare.
While acknowledging the efforts by all the participating start-ups, he called upon investors to support the work of the young entrepreneurs.
Some of the winning creations include Connect Finance, a software written from the ground up to serve the needs of the business market allowing companies to track their finances, create invoices, quotations, sales orders, way bills, payments etc. It also helps companies track their inventory levels in all their locations with flexibility to integrate seamlessly with other financial software like SAGE and Microsoft Dynamics.
Titi Obala's Cube enables anyone (whether individual or business entity) to accept card payments in person with their existing phone (even a basic phone), anywhere, anytime, real-time without the internet (and can also work with Internet, if preferred).
Other Nigerian finalists are Cribpark, Feedback Plus, FoodInstantly, Hutbay, InstaCare, Integrated Medics, Irofit, Nerve, Prepclass, SpacePointe and Spell Africa Initiative.
One of the finalists, Elvis Austins, developer of the 'SpellAfrica Initiative' said, "When I entered for the competition, I was expecting to go through to the finals which is where I am now. It wasn't a difficult process competing because I have entered for similar awards across the world and have been successful."
He added: "I'm looking forward to the September exhibition in Lagos where I will be able to showcase to the world my creation and tell them how I plan on helping Nigerians and Africans at large speak better English through mobile app gaming."
Tunde Aguda, an alumnus from DEMO Africa 2013, for his Residents Association Management Portal (RAMP) app, described the line-up of finalists as impressive. "From the stand-point of being Nigerian, it's commendable that Nigeria has the highest number of selections and will host the event this year.
"I know a lot more categories were created this year to cater for more innovations. I however do not really know the core criteria that the judges considered in selecting the final 40 for this year's edition. Obviously, there are a lot financial and mobile payment solution-based start-ups coming from West Africa rather than East Africa as in previous editions, which is really impressive," he said.
Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson enthused, "This presents another opportunity for African tech start-ups. Africa may have missed out on the Industrial Revolution, but we surely will not in the ICT Revolution. Through innovation, we will put Nigeria and Africa in general on the ICT map.
"Realising the huge potential of the software industry, we have put in place a set of initiatives that will assist the tech start-ups to create successful businesses, which will directly create jobs and wealth."
The finalists who went through three stages of intense screening exercises were vetted and adjudicated by a pan-African panel of judges comprised of entrepreneurs and academicians. They included Dele Akinsade, Bob Mbori, Victor Okigbo, Lukonga Lidunda, Martin Butler, Rebecca Enonchong, Stephen Gugu, Ali Hussein, Muchiri Nyaga, Toby Shapshak, Moses Sitati and Richard Tanksley.
The tech fiesta, which is a must-attend for investors, entrepreneurs, tech media and others looking for Africa's 'next big thing', will launch 40 of Africa's most innovative start-ups, as well as highlight some of the best new technology innovations from across the continent.
Copyright Daily Trust. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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