Microsoft, Businesses Leaders, Innovators Connect at Forum


Emma Okonji

Microsoft and local businesses leaders will be exploring ways to build technology that best supports African creators, as well as how companies can start breeding a data culture for success at NexTech Africa 2017.

NexTech Africa is Microsoft’s new flagship Africa technology event taking place on 2nd and 3rd February 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. The event will connect technology and business leaders, Microsoft engineers, local developers and entrepreneurs, in an effort to listen, engage and collaborate on developing more locally relevant technology.

The Country Manager, Microsoft Kenya, Kunle Awosika, noted that African entrepreneurs seek to solve business and market related challenges, and developers play a critical role in developing locally relevant solutions across various sectors from healthcare to fintech.

“We believe in the power of the emerging technologies to connect people to key services and boost productivity, while utilizing unique and differentiated business models. Our goal with this event is to bring various players together and collaborate, so that we can equip our innovators with the right technology-based tools and infrastructure, helping them create and scale more of these solutions,” he said.

The Regional Director of Microsoft 4Afrika, Amrote Abdella stated that Microsoft, through initiatives like 4Afrika, has been doing a lot of work on the ground supporting and developing local innovation.

According to him, “Through this work, we’re seeing first-hand how mobile and cloud technology is accelerating growth for Africa, but also how our innovators are using these platforms to accelerate technology for the world. NexTech Africa is an opportunity to fast-track the application of products and services, tailored to meet our needs in Africa. Similarly, NexTech will also showcase world-class African solutions that are ready to go global.”

Search for Inventors Begins as New Edition of Cowbellpedia Kicks Off

The search for the best students in Mathematics amongst Secondary Schools in Nigeria has kicked off as the 2017 edition of Cowbellpedia Secondary School Mathematics TV Quiz show has opened with the promise that it would deepen the knowledge of Mathematics

Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos, Managing Director of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Mr. Olivier Thiry, explained to Journalists that though Cowbell has been involved in the improvement of standard of education in Nigeria especially Mathematics in the last two decades, the company however brought all its intervention under one umbrella; Cowbellpedia last year.

He added that for this year, the thrust is to provide a credible platform that will identify and reward excellence in the subject area of Mathematics among Junior and Senior Secondary School students in Nigeria.

Thiry noted that across the globe, investment in education has assumed an entirely new frontier that Governments and corporate organisations have come to realise that building capacity in STEM courses which Mathematics is a key component of, represents the driving force for development in the 21st century.

Like in the previous editions, the Cowbellpedia Secondary School Mathematics TV Quiz Show is open to students in JSS 3 and SSS2 from 10 – 18 years of age attending full time Secondary Education in both Public and Private Schools in Nigeria.

While entry into this competition is free, contestants are required to register online or pick up a registration form at the State Ministry of Education offices nationwide.
He also added that the competition is divided into two Stages; Stage 1 Qualifying Written Examination and Stage 2 TV Quiz Show.

“For the Stage 1, we are continuing with the initiative that we started in 2016 for Mixed Secondary Schools to nominate minimum two (2) girls for each category to represent such school. This is our own little way of encouraging the girl child to take interest in education especially the STEM courses,” he said.

The ultimate prize for this year’s edition is One Million Naira (=N=1,000,000) and an all-expense paid educational excursion outside the country while the 1st and 2nd runners up will go home with Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (=N=750,000) only and Five Hundred Thousand Naira (=N=500,000) only respectively.

The Teachers of the winners will be awarded N400, 000.00 while Teachers of 1st runner-up and 2nd runner-up will go home with N300, 000 and N200, 000 respectively.
Also speaking at the event, Director, Quality Assurance, National Examination Council, NECO, Dr. Ikechukwu Anyanwu, who represented the Registrar praised Promasidor for the initiative which he said has been of tremendous benefits to Mathematics education in Nigeria.

The 2016 winners, Miss Juliet Ekoko and Master Ayooluwa Oguntade also commended Promasidor for the opportunity given to them to horn their Mathematics skill through the Cowbellpedia Secondary School Mathematics TV Quiz Show.
For its Cowbellpedia initiative, Promasidor Nigeria Limited won the Best Company in Education in awards organised by SERA CSR Awards and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Lagos Chapter in 2016.

CMC Connect Emphasises Commitment to Equity Partnership

The managing director of CMC Connect, Mr.Yomi Badejo Okusanya has expressed the readiness of the company to seek investment to boost its operation as it continues its quest to offer differentiation in the industry. In an interview obtained from an online marketing portal, Marketing Edge, Okusanya stated that plans were in top gear by the public relation outfits to seek private placement in order to further boost its capacity in the area of digital and creativity.

According to him, barring any last minute changes, the company may be heading to the stock market to seek private placement. The agency’s boss, Okusanya said that the company was seriously in need of funds to drive some of its projects stating that the management would not hesitate to take steps that would further assist it in achieving the goal for 2017.

In recent time, CMC Connect has been investing in building new capacities, especially in the area of digital and creativity. But in 2017, the agency plans an even more robust investment as it seeks to drive differentiation and position itself as a thought leader in the industry.
Okusanya was quoted as saying that “it was time to pull resources together to drive growth
He said“If we really want to be truly ahead, it may be difficult for just one person to own an agency, we may have to bring a pool of resources together,” .

“We looked at our plans for this year and we realised that we need to recapitalize our business by a significant amount of money. So one of the things we are doing this years is we may be doing private placement.”

This is not the first time the agency has contemplated raising equity through private placement. A couple of years back, the company actually called for private placement, but had to pull the plug on the transaction due to the economic turbulence in the system then.

“We needed to step it down. Nobody knew where we were going. We were working for a loan in foreign exchange to invest in the company, and thank God that we didn’t get it. If we had taken that loan when the exchange rate for a dollar was N165, now we would have had to repay back at N500 exchange rate. We would have been sweating by now.” Badejo-Okusanya said.
Though complete calm is yet to return to the economy, Badejo-Okusanya is however confident that the time is right to make such move because the economy has bottomed out.