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Riding on its achievements in setting the pace for technological innovation in Nigeria, through the establishment of the first university-based Science Park – Lion Science Park; the first university-based incubator hub, Roar Nigeria Hub, and the first university-based laptop assembly line, Lion Gadgets, the University of Nigeria has unveiled plans to host the National Innovation Summit and first-ever university-led competition for start-ups tagged “Venture Cup Nigeria”.
The summit, which is slated to hold in June this year at the Nsukka campus of the university, is being organised in collaboration with the Lion Science Park.
The start-up competition will guarantee seed funding of various amounts to be won as prizes at regional and national levels. Winner at the grand finale takes home an equity free funding of N1 million while the first runner-up and second runner-up will win N500,000 and N300,000 respectively. At the six geopolitical zonal levels, the winners, first runners-up and second runners-up will go home with N300,000, N150,000 and N100,000 respectively.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lion Science Park, Professor Benjamin Ozumba said the major goal of the Venture Cup Nigeria competition is to stimulate students of tertiary institutions to begin to think innovation and entrepreneurship as the way to go and to be competitive in the wake of the fourth industrial revolution. He added that the prizes were to support student-led innovative ideas to takeoff. “This will aid easy identification of promising startups for innovation across the tertiary institutions in Nigeria”, he further said.
The Manager of Lion Science Park, Chinwe Okoli announced that “the competition is open to innovative ideas from all sectors and for students from all higher institutions in Nigeria. However, the best ideas for this competition need to be technology-enabled. This is to encourage the use of technology in providing innovative solutions.”
Commenting on the Lion Science Park Marathon, Okoli stated that ‘Run to Innovate’ is a symbolic exercise to clear our heads and unleash the energy for big innovative ideas.”
The ‘Run to Innovate’ marathon also has prizes to be won, ranging from N50,000, N30,000 and N20,000 for the first, second and third positions respectively, with lots of consolation prizes as well.
The Director of Innovation, University of Nigeria, Dr. Jude Chukwu, revealed that the 2019 UNN-National Innovation Summit, would aim to inspire and facilitate dialogue on the smart, safe, sustainable and innovative ways of ensuring a paradigm shift to a knowledge-based, collaborative and entrepreneurial economy as the country prepares for the fourth industrial revolution.