By Abdulrahman Aliagan, Abuja
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) held its highly anticipated NCC 2023 Talent Hunt Research through Hackathon recently, showcasing the incredible talent and innovation within the country’s tech industry. The event, was held at the Nigerian Communications Commission Head Office, Plot 423 Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja, drew participants from various sectors and resulted in an inspiring display of cutting-edge technological advancements.
The talent hunt research, organized by the NCC, aimed to uncover and reward the brightest minds in the tech industry. With 81 entries received, the competition was fierce, showcasing the immense potential and creativity of Nigerian innovators. After careful evaluation, 12 entries were shortlisted for the tech innovation contest, setting the stage for an exciting display of groundbreaking ideas.
The event was graced by the presence of esteemed guests, including Engr. Ubale Maska, the Executive Commissioner Technical Services, who delivered a thought-provoking keynote address. His remarks emphasized the crucial role that technology plays in shaping the future and the importance of nurturing and supporting the innovative spirit within Nigeria.
According to him, “In a world where innovation is paramount, we often witness the remarkable potential of Hackathons to showcase, fresh perspectives on existing challenges. These events serve as instrumental tools in sustaining innovation and mobilizing the collective intelligence of the innovators to tackle pressing real-world issues, both in the business realm and within our social fabric.
“Throughout the years, the Commission has actively promoted hackathon competitions, each with a thematic focus aimed at addressing significant challenges within our industries and society as a whole. Some noteworthy examples include hackathons that yielded innovative solutions for issues such as kidnapping and banditry, E-waste management, and strategies to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He added that, “This year’s event focuses on three pivotal thematic areas, those that not only pertain to our great nation but also resonate with global concerns.
“These themes are: Blockchain-enabled Data Protection Solutions for Enhancing Regulatory Compliance, Assistive Technology Solutions for the Elderly and People with Disabilities and Technology Solutions for Renewable Energy in Rural Areas
“Consequently, I am happy to announce that this Talent Hunt Research through Hackathon is just the inception of the Commission’s unwavering commitment to nurturing innovation and nascent ideas. The culmination of this competition is not confined to the grand prize of Ten Million Naira (N10,000,000.00) awarded to each winner from these three thematic areas for the development of their solutions, but goes beyond this, as the Commission takes a holistic approach to support these promising innovations. We closely monitor the progress of these solutions as they evolve into full-fledged prototypes.”
In his welcome address, the Director Research and Development Department, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Alh Ismail Adedigba at the closing ceremony of the 2023 NCC Talent Hunt Research through Hackathon, congratulated the young innovators who have been selected to participate in this highly competitive project, the Hackathon. According to him, “We have every confidence that you have brought forth a plethora of creative solutions, and we eagerly anticipate the outstanding commercializable prototypes that will emerge from your endeavours.”
He added, “We find ourselves in an era marked by rapid change, driven incessantly by innovation and technology. I am deeply convinced that events like this innovative Hackathon, if held regularly, offers us invaluable opportunities to unearth and adapt to new technologies. These adaptations will equip us to effectively navigate the ever-evolving landscape and surmount the current and future challenges facing not only our industries but also our broader societal spheres.
“It is imperative to acknowledge that our young innovators have a pivotal role to play in addressing existing industrial challenges and formulating technology-driven solutions that yield tangible social impact.
“Innovation in Communication Technologies stands as the driving force behind the very essence of the Telecommunication industry today. Technology has emerged as the catalyst that unleashes unprecedented potential in ways we could scarcely fathom. Consequently, the advancement of the Telecommunication sector, and doing so in a manner that is sustainable and ethical, should be a collective concern for all of us. The rate of growth experienced by the Telecom sector, thanks to innovative research, is nothing short of enviable. It is essential that the vision of the Commission for this Competition resonates profoundly with all stakeholders in general and accelerating our collective prosperity through technical efficiency agenda of the Honorable Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy.”
Among the notable winners of the event were three exceptional startups, each showcasing their groundbreaking solutions to pressing societal challenges. In the Blockchain Solution category, Know-Now Limited emerged victorious, taking home the impressive N10 million Prize. Their innovative use of blockchain technology promises to revolutionize various industries, offering unparalleled security and transparency.
In the Renewable Energy Solutions category, Solaris GreenTech Hub stole the spotlight, securing the N10 million prize. Their sustainable energy solutions hold the potential to significantly impact Nigeria’s energy landscape, offering cleaner and more efficient alternatives.
Lastly, in the Assistive Technology Solutions category, Spex Care Limited emerged as a winner, earning the esteemed N10 million prize. Their groundbreaking assistive technology promises to enhance the lives of individuals with special needs and disabilities, providing them with greater independence and inclusivity.
While these three startups celebrated their well-deserved victories, the NCC recognized the immense talent among the remaining nine innovators. These finalists were awarded a consolation prize of N500,000 each, along with certificates of commendation. The NCC commended their exceptional work and encouraged them to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation.
The event served as a testament to the vibrant and thriving tech ecosystem in Nigeria. The NCC’s Talent Hunt Research through Hackathon not only provided a platform for showcasing groundbreaking inventions but also highlighted the country’s commitment to fostering technological development and providing support to budding entrepreneurs.
As Nigeria looks towards a future driven by technology, initiatives like the NCC 2023 Talent Hunt Research through Hackathon play a crucial role in driving innovation and propelling the nation to the forefront of the global tech industry. With the support and encouragement from organizations like the NCC, Nigeria’s tech scene is set to flourish and make a lasting impact on both the local and international stage.