Seven Start-ups Receive $3,000 funding from Ventures Platform and Partners
Abuja, Nigeria. April 23rd, 2020: Following the #COVID19InnovationChallenge virtual Demo Day, held by Ventures Platform, MTN has joined Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and Lagos State Science and Research Innovation Council (LASRIC) in supporting the seven start-ups who are currently rolling out solutions and platforms to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The seven start-ups each received $3,000 equity-free grant funding from Ventures Platform and its partners – Loftyinc Allied Partners Ltd, Silverchip Fox Consulting, Bluechip Technologies, AGS Tribe, ACIOE, Lakunle Runsewe, Manasseh Egedegbe, Venture Garden Group, NESG, Sterling Bank and the Lagos State Science and Research Innovation Council (LASRIC), not $1,000 that was initially announced at the call for application.
The NCDC is working with the following startups:
– GLOEPID will be powering the NCDC’s official bot tool for self-assessment and contact tracing. The official mobile application will soon be available on app stores.
– Wellvis Health’s COVID Triage, to support NCDC in risk assessment. With their self-administered risk assessment tool, users will be able to assess their risk level for contacting COVID-19.
– INFODEMICS, a risk communications platform that helps disseminate health information in times of pandemic, will support NCDC to monitor and debunk fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic. Infodemics, in collaboration with the NCDC, is launching a web page that enables users to report fake news and get reliable information. They will also aid in disseminating information about the pandemic to local remote communities in local languages.
MTN will also be working with three of the winning startups- Wellvis Health’s COVID Triage,
GLOEPID and My Service Agent, providing funding and mentorship.
On Friday, 24th April 2020, the winning startups will also pitch their ideas to MTN staff serving as volunteer mentors and receive invaluable feedback on the required technical, business and functional skills to enhance their solutions before they are deployed in the fight to flatten the curve.
In the words of MTN Nigeria’s Chief Transformation Officer (CTRO), Olubayo Adekanmbi, “We consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to lend our expertise and capabilities to the development of impactful innovations which can make a difference in curbing the spread of infection. We must all remain dedicated to bringing hope to our communities, especially in these times. Because there is only one way through this. Working together, with everyone doing what they can.”
Commenting on the collaboration, the NCDC Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu expressed gratitude to Ventures Platform, MTN, and Lagos State Science and Research Innovation Council for supporting in mobilizing innovative tech solutions to strengthen the national response to COVID-19 while stating that a whole-of-society approach is required to flatten the curve and enable gradual re-opening of the economy. “These solutions would be integrated with existing technology deployed for surveillance, contact tracing, and risk communications activities”.
In addition, Kola Aina, Ventures Platform founder, says, “We would like to especially acknowledge all our partners, especially MTN who joined VP, LASRIC, NCDC, and many others, in supporting these solutions to tackle COVID-19 in Africa. This is the time for more work and as we say in Africa, it takes a village – I am so grateful to our village for making this happen and we continue to call on more corporates to support these startups.”
About Ventures Platform
Ventures Platform is a catalyst for innovation & entrepreneurship across Africa. It provides smart capital through its early-stage fund, Ventures Platform Fund, it provides infrastructure and nurtures communities of entrepreneurs and innovators through Ventures Park and it builds pipeline by providing capacity and ecosystem support through its not-for-profit – Ventures Platform Foundation. More information about Ventures Platform is available at www.venturesplatform.com.
About Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council
The Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council is Lagos State’s semi-autonomous Research and Innovation promotion and funding agency. Its primary mandate is to create and promote a culture of problem-solving through Research and Innovation. LASRIC manages a percentage of Lagos States capital budget for the purposes of resourcing cutting edge research and enabling the industries of tomorrow.
MTN Nigeria is Africa’s largest provider of communications services, connecting over 64.3million people in communities across the country with each other and the world. Guided by a vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world, MTN Nigeria’s leadership position in coverage, capacity, and innovation has remained constant, since its launch in 2001. MTN Nigeria is part of the MTN Group – a leading emerging market operator, connecting more than 200 million subscribers in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
About Nigeria Centre for Disease Control
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control [NCDC] is the country’s national public health institute, with the mandate to lead the preparedness, detection, and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies. The mission for the NCDC is ‘To protect the health of Nigerians through evidence-based prevention, integrated disease surveillance and response activities, using a one health approach, guided by research and led by a skilled workforce’.