By Emmanuel Addeh
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Mr. Simbi Wabote, has said to remain relevant in the comity of nations, Nigeria must be prepared to actively take part in the what he described as the fourth industrial revolution.
Speaking at the launch of the Nigerian Content Science and Technology Innovation Challenge (STIC), in Lagos, Wabote argued that a vivid sign of the revolution is the current situation whereby many tech firms are now worth more than some companies that have existed for decades.
Noting that the world was already in the era of cloud computing, internet of things, robotics and big data, where technology and innovation have revolutionised the business environment, Wabote challenged Nigerians to position themselves for the technological changes.
“We need to prepare and position our young minds and talents for the 4th industrial revolution that is about to take place. The competition is open to Nigerian undergraduates from any of the accredited universities and polytechnics in the country.”
“We believe that tapping from the ingenuity of our young talents, we will enhance the delivery of the various strategic initiatives enunciated in our 10-year strategic roadmap,” he stated.
He emphasised that with about 170 public and private universities in Nigeria producing more than half a million graduates every year, there are huge opportunities to extract brilliant ideas from Nigeria’s agile and very creative youths to solve current and future challenges.
Wabote hinted that NCDMB had always targeted most of its initiatives towards the youth, in line with its mandate and in recognition of the pivotal role that youths play as the workforce of the nation.
He added that over the period of 10 years the board had existed, about 10 million training man hours had been utilised to train youths under project-based training and direct-training programs.
During the competition, N66 million will be won by the best undergraduate teams, academic guides and higher institutions and done in partnership with Enactus Nigeria.
The competition seeks to motivate and challenge Nigerian undergraduates to imbibe the culture of research and development and apply science, technology and innovation to create home-grown business solutions to everyday problems in the oil and gas industry and different sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The best student team will win N10,000,000 and business incubation, while their academic guide will get a cash prize of N1,750,000 and laptop. Their university will get a winner’s trophy and research development centre.
The first runner up group will get N4,000,000 and business incubation, while their faculty guide will get N500,000. Similarly, the third placed team will win N1,500,000 while their faculty guide will get N200,000.
Also speaking, the Country Director, Enactus Nigeria, Mr. Michael Ajayi described STIC as a timely initiative that will positively engage the Nigerian youths and enable them create wealth, job opportunities and innovative solutions for everyday problems.
Ajayi indicated that the STIC is scheduled to run for a seven-month period, from submission of applications online, to regional competitions and then to the grand finale.
He reiterated that winners of the STIC will gain access to funding, business incubation, mentorship, and training that will accelerate the journey from business ideation to the market.