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Lagos Empowers Tech Start-ups, Innovators with N100m Innovation Grant 

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The Lagos State Government has awarded grants to start-ups and science research initiatives from various universities within the state.

The total grant of N100 million is part of the six pillars of the development agenda of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration which includes fuelling technology-driven innovations to transform Lagos into a 21st century digital economy and Smart City.

During the maiden edition of Art of Technology (AOT Lagos 1.0) on 5th December 2019, Mr. Governor announced a N250 million grant for science and technology-related ideas and initiatives; today, it is a reality.

The beneficiaries of LASRIC Grant are innovating and solving problems in the area of food security, manufacturing, health management and COVID-19 alleviation, and they are the first set to be picked to benefit from the N250 million seed fund earmarked, last year, as Research and Innovation Fund by the state government.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. BabajideSanwo-Olu (3rd right); Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat (2nd left); Special Adviser to the Governor on SDG & Lagos Global, Mrs. Solape Hammond (left); Honorable Commissioner, Ministry of Science and Technology, Hakeem Fahm (2nd right) and Special Adviser to the Governor on Innovation and Technology, Olatubosun Alake (right) at the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) Grant Award Ceremony held recently

 

The fund is under the care of the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC), an agency established with the mandate to facilitate and encourage the development of innovative solutions to solve local problems, using cutting-edge technology. The fund is specifically set up to resource innovation, science and technology ecosystem.

Congratulating the recipients of the grant, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State said the initiative aligns with his administration’s vision in turning the state into a technology hub and therefore urged the recipients to use the grant judiciously.

“In December 2019seven months into the tenure of this administration, we inaugurated the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) with a seed fund of 250 million naira, in demonstration of our commitment to develop Lagos into a 21st century digital economy and Smart City.

“You are all aware of the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda of our administration, which sets out the vision for the work that this administration has been elected to do on behalf of the people of Lagos State. The first ‘E’, and the ‘M’ represent ‘Education and Technology’, and ‘Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy’, the twin elements that underpin the work of the Lagos State Research and Innovation Council,” he stated.

He added that science and technology remain key enablers to transform the socio-economic and his administration is on course to delivering good governance and bettering live of Lagosians.

“Here in Lagos State, we are on the journey of properly identifying, resourcing, enabling and building the great human potential of Lagos State. Flagship projects such as the Metro fibre and the Smart City initiative are key enablers for achieving this. We are also working to transforming our Civil Service by encouraging innovative thinking and deploying technology tools and processes.  LASRIC, and all of you its beneficiaries, are positioned to be a vital part of this important journey,” he pointed.

Meanwhile, he urged unsuccessful applicants not to lose hope, charging them to re-apply for the grant in the next round of selection. He said the state government would be increasing the grant to accommodate more innovators in the subsequent application.

Explaining how transparent the judging process was, Olatunbosun Alake, Special Adviser to the Governor on Innovation and Technology said it was highly competitive and out of hundreds of applications, 23 were selected to advance the cause of innovation and science research. Some of the notable innovation beneficiaries were “PricePally” a food aggregating platform, “DoCi-HealthCare”, “GiVo”, a circular economy company that offers recycling solutions on IOT devices. Research initiatives included; “Bioprospecting for anti COVID-19 remedies from indigenous medicinal plants” led by Abimbola Sowemimo at The African Centreof Excellence for Drug Research;“Development of Hydrogen Peroxide Biosensors for Detecting Post Harvest Deterioration and Preparation of Chitosan-Derived Materials for Cassava Shelf-life Elongation” led by Wesley Okiel at the University of Lagos and “The Production of Fortified Municipal Solid Waste Derived Compost (MSW-C) for Amending Soil to Improve Nutrient Release and Plant Growth” led by Akeem Abayomi at UNILAG. (Full list of beneficiaries available at lasric.lagosstate.gov.ng)

“These recipients today represent key research initiatives and innovative start-ups ready and qualified to be resourced for the development of Lagos, and indeed the world. Let us have no doubt that this event today is the first in many of this administration’s support and development of the science and technology ecosystem. In understanding and harnessing our environment, in solving our problems, in lifting people out of poverty, in advancing in knowledge, let us understand that today marks another milestone in the journey of a thousand miles. This here is tangible development,” he explained.

Similarly, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, chairman, LASRIC noted that the event is a testimony of Mr. Governor’s commitment to the development of innovative thinking to solve our everyday problems. He added that the event also shows that there is ingenuity among Lagosians when provided the opportunity.

The high point of the event was the presentation of cheques to the awardees by the governor. The beneficiaries could not hide their joy, as they were full of praises to the government.

Cross section of guests and grant beneficiaries at the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) Grant Award Ceremony held recently.

Aisha Raheem, co-founder, Farmz2U, a farm management platform, who received 5 million naira grant said “The process was rigorous, insightful. We went through interview process with Mrs. Solape, Mr. Tomi Davies and other mentors.

“It is great to have emerged a winner. It just gives me hope that there is more that can be achieved in Lagos State. I do hope that this is something that exponents across the country because truly innovation is how countries speed-track their developments. And I am confident that Lagos State is on track to achieve that.”

In the same vein, Luther Lawoyin, Founder/CEO at Pricepally.com; a digital food corporative platform who also received 5million naira grant said “It feels good to be part of this process.

“It is a fund for us to continue what we are doing. Importantly, it speaks to the fact that the state government recognizes the place of technology in tackling the numerous challenges in the society. Encouraging people in the technology circle means a lot and I hope they do more because funding is a big deal in this ecosystem. This kind of gesture from the government will have ripple effects.”

 

 


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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Verve Rewards 600 Customers in Good Life Promo

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Africa’s leading payment technology and card brand, Verve International, has rewarded 600 customers so far after the third weekly draws in the ongoing Verve ‘Good Life’ Promo.

Verve rewarded the lucky cardholders at prize presentation ceremonies held in various locations across the country recently.

Amongst the 300 lucky cardholders that emerged winners of the N10,000 cash prize in the weekly raffle draws that have held three times were: Adeleke Moshood, a student from Oyo State; Adeogun Shakiru, an automobile specialist and Rashidat Abolaji, a businesswoman, both from Lagos State.

Another set of 300 Verve cardholders emerged winners of airtime worth N5,000, bringing the total amount won so far to N4.5 million Naira.

Speaking during the draws, Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Interswitch Group, expressed her delight about the number of cardholders that have been rewarded lately.

Eromosele reiterated Verve’s resolve to continue to provide secure, convenient and reliable payment solutions for its cardholders.

She said: “Because our cardholders are of priority to us at Verve, beyond providing them brilliant payment solutions, we are rewarding them for their loyalty with the expectation that the reward helps them achieve the good life, whatever the good life means to them”.

Verve recently launched a nationwide promo tagged The Verve ‘Good Life’ Promo which kicked off on September 1, 2020 and will run till November 29, 2020.

The promo seeks to enable Verve’s loyal cardholders to live the good life, whatever the ‘good life’ means to them.

The promo is targeted at rewarding over 2,500 Verve cardholders nationwide, with over N27million Naira in cash and airtime, during the course of 12 weeks duration of the promo.

With three weeks concluded out of the twelve weeks of the promo, Verve cardholders have eight more weeks to keep transacting with their cards and standing the chance to win.

Other Nigerians presently without Verve cards but have the desire to enjoy the good life, can take advantage of this eight-week window to ask their respective banks for a Verve card in order to start transacting, to qualify to win from an array of exciting prizes.

The prizes have been categorized into four segments, with their respective qualification requirements as follows:

Weekly Prize category 1 – N10,000 cash for 100 winners weekly, requires at least 3 transactions weekly. Weekly Prize category 2 – N5,000 for 100 airtime every week, requires at least 3 transactions weekly.

Monthly Prize category – N50,000 cash for 50 winners every month, requires at least 12 times monthly Grand Prize category – N1,000,000 cash for 2 winners, requires at least 36 transactions from now till the end of the promo.

Prospective winners of the Verve ‘Good Life’ promo should consistently use their Verve cards within the next eight weeks, across payment channels such as Point of Sale (POS) terminals, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Web and agent banking centers.


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World Cleanup Day: Coca-Cola Partners NGOs, Recovers Over 900kg of Plastic Waste

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World Cleanup Day, celebrated globally on September 19, 2020, saw diverse people come together to combat the solid waste problem through numerous community cleanup activities.

 

To mark this day, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited partnered with two local NGOs – African Cleanup Initiative and Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC), on cleanup activities across Lagos and Ibadan.

African Cleanup Initiative held cleanup activities across numerous locations in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states. This outreach saw more than 200 volunteers gather to collect over 1,500kg of solid waste materials and about 300kg of recyclable waste materials.

 

At the Lagos event, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Mrs Belinda Aderonke Odeneye, applauded the programme.

 

She expressed the Lagos State Government’s delight at being part of the cleanup activity. Odeneye, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Sanitation Services Department of the Ministry, Mrs Toyin Oguntola, went further to encourage citizens to be environmentally responsible.

She stated, “The government can only perform excellently with law-abiding citizens. We all have a role to play in waste management and ignoring those responsibilities will make all the efforts of the government futile”. 

 

Similarly, the International Coastal Cleanup held at Bonny Camp Coastline by Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC) also produced outstanding results with about 600kg of marine plastic waste materials recovered and over 250kg of marine debris sent to the landfill. The outreach saw participation from over 100 volunteers.

 

These activities are in line with Coca-Cola’s vision for a World Without Waste and the company’s commitment to doing business sustainably.

 

Speaking on its World Without Waste initiatives, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, explained, “We all have a responsibility to keep our environment clean and Coca-Cola is not left out as we remain committed to promoting a sustainable environment through our plastic recycling and recovery activities, as well as other environmental initiatives”. 

With the award of grants of over $800,000 by The Coca-Cola Foundation to multiple local NGOs, several recycling and women empowerment programs are being implemented to help address the issue of environmental protection while simultaneously empowering women who remain significant pillars of the environment.

 


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TETFund Seeks Increased Annual Research Funding of $1bn

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The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Thursday, urged the federal to increase its yearly funding for Research and Development (R&D) to $1 billion. This was as it hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent increase of the research grant from N5 billion to N7.5 billion.

Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, executive secretary of TETFund, speaking at the inauguration of TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee in Abuja, said massive investment in research would bring about the much-needed development in the country.

Bogoro also said it was time for the promulgation of a law that will bring into full place what he referred to as the “National R&D Foundation (NRDF)” to deepen research in the country.

Hear him:”To galvanize our vision towards making R&D the ace and game changer in our national development agenda, the need for an appropriate law to support the establishment of a National R&D Foundation (NRDF) cannot be overstated.

“We need a robust institutional framework and arrangement for the NRDF. I am recommending a minimum annual budgetary threshold of 1billion dollars as the funding portfolio for this Foundation.

“When we consider the inevitable benefits of R&D and the inevitable benefits of R&D and the socio-economic challenges in Nigeria, this amount begins to look like a drop of water in the ocean-population of 200 million people in 2020 and projected to become double in 10 years for now.”

Prof. Bogoro, who said the TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee is expected to come up with its own recommendation on the required amount that is suitable for efficient research activities in the country, called for a robust collaboration between researchers and the private sector to bring about all-round development in the country.

“It is envisaged that the private sector of the economy should pick the gauntlet to steamroll the lofty initiative by taking ownership of it,” he said.

Prof. Bogoro lauded the recent performance of Nigerian universities in the world’s ranking, saying TETFund intervention projects have continued to encourage such feats.

On his side, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while inaugurating the committee, called on members to put their best to the work he described as ‘national assignment.’

Represented by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, Adamu said that continued investment in research would herald a rebirth of Nigeria.

“Nigeria voted us into power predicated on our being able to transform our national aspirations and make them a national achievement.

“It is in recognition of this direction that the Executive Secretary, TETFund, presented his vision of a research-driven nation and how to finance that ambition through the Board of Trustees (BOT).

“To a large extent, Nigeria’s future depends on you. You have been summoned to a national service that is not available to the rest of the 200 million population. It is a national calling that requires almost all of you,” he said.

On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Hon. Aminu Suleiman said the work of the committee would open the windows of opportunities to tackle various developmental challenges confronting the country.

Suleiman, represented by Hon. Ikenna Elezieanya, lamented the way Nigeria has shown less concern to research, saying that many developed countries invested in research and development and thus helped to improve on their economy.

He said, “Research is the gateway of innovation. It is said that while countries like the USA, Korea, and the like have been investing in research and development, we seem to show less concern.”

He encouraged beneficiaries to take good advantage of the initiative to solve problems for the betterment of the country.

Responding, the Chairman of the over 160-member TETFund’s R & D Committee, Prof. Njidda M. Gadzama, said the epoch-making event will transform the socio-economic sector by ensuring the robust promotion of cutting-edge innovations.

“We promise to carry out our assignment with commitment and diligence and this will result in the R & D Culture and R&D Foundation to drive industrialization of the country,” he said.

The standing committee whose membership is drawn from the academic, industry, and private sector, has the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Mansur Ahmed, as one of the three Vice Presidents.


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