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An innovation program, “Tech Launch Pad” was launched recently to cater for technology entrepreneurs.

Courtesy of the Nigerian Government through its Ministry of Communications Technology, the program is focused on addressing 4 key challenges i.e. skills, quality, relevance and funding, facing software companies. Interventions which the innovation programme will provide within each of the identified areas include:

 •Skills building of software developers i.e. ◦Technical skills

 ◦Business Skills

◦Management Skills
 
•Quality solution and relevance to the industry through mentoring by CIOs and identified Executives. Ability of the solutions to meet the needs of the market and comply with international quality standards will be fostered by identified local technology companies

 •Improve funding by providing access to Government innovation fund, private sponsorship and Private Equity/Venture Capital funds
 
Who Can Apply?
 
The programme will focus on new technology entrepreneurs and emerging businesses with solutions in beta form. Eligibility for participating in the programme will include:

 •Nationality ◦Participants must be Nigerian citizens

 ◦Participants must be of a minimum of 18 years

 ◦Participants must be available in Nigeria throughout the duration of the programme

 ◦Participants with business entities must be registered in Nigeria with a minimum of 51% local equity (i.e.. At least 51% of the company should be owned by Nigerians)
 
•Application ◦Solution must be innovative and not infringe on any known copyright

 ◦Application and solution documentation must be in English Language

 ◦Solution should not yet have been introduced into the market; but should require short lead time to commercialization (18 months or below)
 
•Scope ◦Application must be within the stated areas of scope under the following industries: ◦Financial Services
 ◦Oil & Gas

Key interest areas include:

 •Financial ◦Analytics(BI)

 ◦Mobility (Payment/Collection)

 ◦CRM (Social Media Aggregator)

 ◦Digital Media (Marketing, Webcast, Subscription)

 ◦Fraud Management
 
•Oil&Gas ◦Real Time Monitoring ◦Repair and Maintenance

 ◦Decision Assistance
 
◦Mobility
 

Recipients of the program will gain from the interventionist role played by the ICT ministry and support organisations. The aim is to address those factors mitigating against growth of locally developed solutions in Nigerian such as poor solution fit due to adequate research, lack scalability of solutions with low quality and shelf life, cchallenges in accessing capital for growth, developers weak business acumen and inadequate institutional support and an absence of bodies of interest and groupings that can serve as protective shield and guardian angel for developers.

 •Key Benefits ◦Capacity Building: Growing Local content / Deepening of technology skills

 ◦Access to the right technology development tools and global standards

 ◦Links to industry and strategic partners:Access to functional experts/industry, mentoring & networking

 ◦Cultivating the right ecosystem to foster growth, idea generation and improve solution fit

 ◦Technology commercialization assistance: Providing access to the market to enhance fit and patronage

 ◦Funding: Providing investors access to start-up capital or venture capital

 ◦Intellectual Property Management to safeguard investments
 

How to Apply
 
Eligible individuals and companies are encouraged to apply
 
The deadline for applications for the first round is FEB 24th 2013 Late applications will not be accepted
 
To Apply, complete the online application form here. For more information, visit www.techlaunchpad.com.ng or watch a video about the program by the Minister for Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson below.


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