The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has concluded arrangements to award research grants to the tune of N9 million to three deserving Nigerian startups with proposals for adaptable digital solutions for containing the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The selection of the three companies followed a careful and painstaking evaluation of 282 entries in the NCC COVID-19 Virtual Hackathon from digital innovation startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by an evaluation committee set up by the commission.
Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman of NCC, has since extended invitations to operators and other industry stakeholders to participate virtually in the Grant/Prize Award ceremony, slated for 11:00 am on Tuesday September 1, 2020.
In a statement signed today by Ikechukwu Adinde, the commission’s director of public affairs, the commission acknowledged that the health and economic crisis triggered by the novel pandemic had challenged the global ICT community to search for digital solutions to address and contain the spread of the virus.
Such solutions, he said, would allow citizens and businesses to rein in the virus and continue their activities with limited disruptions.
“As a response, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) instituted a programme to award research grants to support Startups and Digital SME’s with adaptable innovative digital solutions that could address present and future impacts of pandemic and epidemic-prone diseases in Nigeria.
“Under the programme, the commission will award N9 million research grants to three Nigerian startups with the most innovative digital solutions for containing pandemics and epidemics in the country in the thematic areas of health, community, productivity, economy and transportation.
“The highlights of the ceremony include pitching or demonstration of the top three solutions by the startups, announcement of the winners and presentation of research prizes,” he said.
The statement further revealed that Isa Pantami, the honourable minister of communications and digital economy, will give a keynote address and present prizes to the top three startups with the most promising solutions.
“He will be supported by the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the NCC, Professor Adeolu Akande and the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Office, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta with other members of the Board of Commissioners of NCC in attendance,’ the statement read.