The wife of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo has charged Nigerians to focus on using technology to drive change in the country.
Speaking at the Grand Finale of the Google Impact Challenge Nigeria held in Lagos, Mrs. Osinbajo, who is also the Patron of the Google Impact Challenge, noted that positive change could be derived if Nigerian entrepreneurs could harness the available opportunities inherent in the use of technology to drive the businesses.
She applauded Google for instituting the challenge and for going through the hard job of pruning the over 5000 applicants down to the last 12 finalists of the challenge. She further thanked the judges that comprised of entrepreneurs, including the Chairman of Zinox Group, Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, and owner of Channels Television, Mr. John Momoh, among others.
Google Impact Challenge Africa, a competition to find the most innovative African non-profits and social enterprises using technology to solve societal problems, opened in May and more than 5,000 (Five thousand) entries were received in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.
The Vice President Marketing for Google noted that Google has been working based on the very important commitment the President of Google made in Nigeria during his last visit to the country.
According to him, based on that commitment, Google has trained three million out of the 10 million Africans targeted and 40, 000 of the targeted 100, 000 developers in the continent. Google has also set up an accelerator hub in the country with the first set of graduates out.
He further explained that the Google Impact Challenge was made possible through the commitment of Google to set aside 1 percent of its annual profit for philanthropy. He encouraged the winners of the challenge to look beyond the prize money and seek ways of further establishing and expanding the projects for which they received the prizes.
Also speaking, Country Director for Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor said: “Many African innovators are doing great work with real impact and Google is keen to shine a light on their work, and also give a financial boost to their projects and ideas. We believe technology can help local and national organizations to better reach their goals and solve some of the continent’s most pressing challenges, and Google is eager to provide support to individuals and organizations using technology in new ways to make a positive difference.”
She further explained the process, pointing out that Judging to narrow down the 12 finalists was conducted by a team of Googlers and Google partners with expertise in the sector. Voting was then opened to the public from November 8 to 26, 2018. On the grand finale night, each of the 12 entrants pitched their enterprise to a judging panel, which voted on the winners. The results of the public vote determined the people’s choice winner.
36 winners emerged from the event which held simultaneously in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, bagging the $6 million prize money.
In Nigeria, the 12 non-profits and social enterprises were each awarded a share of $2m in grant funding. Three out of four winners were chosen by the judges, they were The Cece Yara Foundation, HelpMum and Project Enable Africa, while the final winner chosen by the general public was Vetsark. All four winners will receive $250 000 each, while the eight runners-up will each receive $125 000.
The funding will be allocated in tranches, to be assigned to each enterprise as they reach a set of predefined milestones specific to each venture. In addition to the funding, the winners and runners-up also receive support from Google to reach their goals and meet those milestones.
Also speaking at the event, one of the judges and Chairman of Zinox Group, Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, encouraged the winners to ensure they use the seed capital effectively. He implored them to utilize the opportunity well as entrepreneurs in past years did not have such privileges such as being aided with seed capital, yet they made the best of what they had.
Judges on the night included Chairman/CEO Channels Media Group, Mr. John Momoh; Chairman/CEO, Zinox Group, Chief Leo Stan Ekeh; Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mrs. Parminder Vir; Rapper/CEO of Chocolate City Music Group, M.I. Abaga; Philanthropist and Executive Director of Nigeria Network of NGOs, Oluseyi Oyebisi; Managing General Partner, EchoVC Partners, Eghosa Omoigui; Ace Footballer, Kanu Nwankwo and Google Nigeria’s Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor.