British Commission to Sponsor Entrepreneurs to UK-Africa Investment Summit


Emma Okonji

The five female entrepreneurs who emerged winners at the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub pitch, organised by the British High Commission in Nigeria, which held in Lagos recently, will get full sponsorship to attend the Africa-Uk Female Tech Founders 2020 Investment Summit in London, United Kingdom in January next year, courtesy of British High Commission in Nigeria.

The summit would expose the female entrepreneurs to technology world of possibilities that would enable them grow their businesses.

The pitch, which was open to 10 selected finalists among female entrepreneurs, produced five winners who have developed workable ideas into solutions that would address immediate challenges across different sectors of the economy.

The winners included Damilola Emuze, whose solution known as ScholarX,
creates equitable access to quality education through proper financing; Ifeoma Uddoh, whose solution known as Shecluded, offers loans to female business owners to scale their businesses; Damilola Olokesusi, whose solution, known as Shutters Mobility, enables professionals and organisations’ staff share rides in corporate buses to and from work place.

Other winners included Dr. Funmi Adewara, whose solution called MobiHealth, provides access to quality healthcare, using technology and Keturah Ovio, whose solution known as Limestart, helps Africa’s unbanked small businesses to digitize sales records.

Addressing all female participants after the pitch, the British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Harriet Thompson, said the pitch was meant to bring together, several personal passions for the support for women, whose empowerment remained vital for Nigeria’s future prosperity and stability; support for technology entrepreneurship, which is also key for future growth and jobs.

According to her, “The ICT sector accounted for over 11 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP in 2018, compared with 9 per cent from oil and gas and is the fastest growing part of Nigeria’s economy.
“In 2018, Nigeria’s technology companies attracted $300 million, which was over 167 per cent year-on-year in funding, mainly from foreign investors.

“The UK is trying to build and expand that eco-system in different ways. The UK now has its very own Tech Hub here in Nigeria, funded by our Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“The UK-Nigeria tech hub focuses on three key areas: skills and capability development, digital ecosystem building, and facilitating innovation collaborations between Nigerian and UK tech businesses.
“This will help to build skilled, entrepreneurial and networked populations which will create jobs and address digital inequality.”

Thompson further said: “The team behind the Tech Hub has already seen the successful launch of the continent wide Go Global, we have already supported companies such as Riby, Innovation Corner, Social Lender and Farmcrowdy to grow their businesses, build links with the UK’s thriving tech sector and work with UK expertise to take their companies to the next level.

“Nigeria has one of the most exciting technology sectors in Africa and the Tech hub will support the growth of this thriving digital eco-system and provide support to scale innovations and drive growth in tech investment.”

She said the UK would continue to build on its current support for fintech and other parts of the digital economy. “Through the UK- Nigeria Tech Hub, DFID/EFINA tech fund, and initiatives such as Go Global, our new Research and Innovation Hub and new programmes, such as DFID’s agritech programme, show our commitment to do more in 2020 and beyond,” Thompson added.