The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) yesterday launched the maiden edition of its Prize for Innovation Programme (NIPP) aimed at stimulating innovation and technological developments in Nigeria.
In his speech, the Managing Director, NSIA, Mr. Aminu Umar-Sadiq, said the intention of the programme was to assist the Authority to establish direct access to the Nigerian technology sector.
He pointed out that for centuries, prizes in various fields of human endeavour have served both as a reward and tool of encouragement for ideas that solve critical challenges for the human race.
He noted that in modern times, such innovation programmes have helped to nurture novel ideas and ingenious innovation in science, technology, and many other fields.
He said the NPIP was the NSIA’s rationale for choosing to leverage innovation as a tool to stimulate developments in Nigeria’s fast-growing digital ecosystem.
The new NSIA CEO said, “Some may ask, ‘why an Innovation Prize?’ Our answer is simple. ‘Why not?’ We have over the past decade explored various strategies to deliver our vision, which has seen us play an ever-increasing role in promoting investments for Nigeria’s economic development.
“We see the innovation prize as another vertical under our strategy. We have explored the route of sponsor, co-developer, and financial investor on a number of projects.
“The prize approach is a different but equally potent path. With this, we aim to serve as not just a catalyst for the fast-growing domestic technology and innovation industry but also as a deliberate enabler across the various tiers of the ecosystem.
“Our Board is convinced that this approach will mobilise participants and capital, spread the burden of risk, set a problem-solving agenda, and serve as an effective accelerator for viable projects.”
Umar -Sadiq explained further that the Prize for Innovation programme was designed for national coverage.
He added that the NSIA was committed to working assiduously as it has always done to deliver a programme that is inclusive, transparent and outcome-driven, covering the entirety of Nigeria’s digital hubs.
Through this, he added that the Authority would identify and elevate early-stage projects with transformative economic potential.
“We will commence the programme by opening the innovation prize application portal in short order. Once opened, we expect to receive a flurry of high-quality entries reflective of Nigerian ingenuity.
“From these, eligible participants who qualify for the accelerator will gain access to knowledge and insights that will enable their ideas to scale.
“Beyond the selection of a winning entry, the programme is designed to inspire and challenge participating technopreneurs to build well-designed strategies that connect new ideas and concepts to the market.
“We see a future where Nigerian tech companies ascend to global relevance and dominance within the next decade. The Nigerian film and music industry are already tracking in this direction. It is time for our technology and innovation sector to deliver a similar trajectory.
“So today, we welcome you all to the beginning of a distinct approach for stimulating change in the domestic digital ecosystem.
“As we launch the NSIA Prize for Innovation, we eagerly look forward to seeing entries from disruptors, creators, and trailblazers driving a new vision for innovation in Nigeria,” he added.
The NSIA Prize for Invocation Programme was structured as a business enhancement programme to support early-stage, growth-driven ideas through education, mentorship, and financing.
The Programme is a strategy-based initiative of the NSIA Board which will run for at least three years.