The Delta State Innovation Hub (DS-IHUB), last week in Asaba, showcased over 56 energetic/creative young Nigerians with passion for technology innovation, who pitched their solutions at the Delta State open innovation hackathon competition tagged ‘Hacked within 36 Hours Nonstop Coding’ that focused on resolving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) challenges for Nigeria and Africa.
Those who pitched at the software competition, were able to disprove most Nigerians who think that software developed in Nigeria cannot compete in the global information technology (IT) innovation market arena to solve critical national problems.
There were convincing signals that products showcased have the resilience and capability to solve local challenges if properly harnessed and deployed.
Delta State Governor, Senator. Ifeanyi Okowa and the panel of judges, who were thrilled with
the innovative solutions that were showcased, encouraged the tech entrepreneurs to scale up their solutions to meet up with national and global market challenges.
The event was developed in response to the need to engage and build up tech-creative minds and young innovative software developers and start-ups in Nigeria
Before the pitch, the tech start-ups were camped in the DS-IHUB for 36 hours of tech-innovation design and coding in a 10 Megabit PS Domain with strong internet connection powered by MainOne.
For the judges, if the solutions on showcase which cut across health, e-Gov, Water, Shelter, environments, education, agriculture, employment, among others, could be scaled up to market application level.
At the end of the competition, Team Artisan, made up of two students from the University of Uyo, won the first position.
Okowa, who was thrilled with the innovations showcased by the participants, said they represented skilled workforce needed to accelerate the local content solutions deployment and take Nigeria to the next level.
While urging the participants to scale up their solution to the next level, the State Commissioner of Finance, David Edevbie who represented the governor, told the gathering that the hackathon would position the participants well for challenges of modern ICT-driven economy and should be done annually.
“Everybody is a winner. In today’s world, there is need to engage in a paradigm shift, which is focused on knowledge research and aggregate experimenting with new and innovative ways of achieving rapid economic development for the good and prosperity of Deltans,” Edevbie said.
The DS-IHUB is a public private partnership(PPP) initiative between Delta State government and Mobile Software Solutions, established as a platform to develop knowledge in information and communications technology (ICT). The state government believes that the expertise in the knowledge, practice and adoption of technology can be effectively harnessed through constructive innovation to curtail poverty and ignorance.
Director General, DS-IHUB, Mr. Chris Uwaje, said if the ideas on display are well crafted through knowledge mentoring and turned into concrete solutions, Nigeria could be free from digital slavery.
With their good ideas, concept and solutions, Uwaje noted that the main pillar of DS-IHUB is the Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia , who remains a source of inspiration to the technology hub and the Nigerian youths.
Uwaje said it was time for the government to establish innovation development fund and indeed an innovation development bank to provide seed funding and support for the startups. Uwaje also advocated for a true national open hackathon where 50,000 Nigerian youths would be assembled to shoot at creativity and innovation to select the best 1000.