James Emejo in Abuja
Jaiz Bank Plc has issued cheques valued at N125 million to four entrepreneurs and innovators who were adjudged winners of the bank’s COVID-19 Challenge Competition.
The challenge was part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility (CRS) aimed at spurring ideas and innovation on how to curb the effects of the pandemic.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, presented cash awards to the beneficiaries in Abuja, urging them to prudently utilise the funds to grow their businesses and challenge themselves to more innovations and superior ideas.
The minister said: “I congratulate all those that participated in the competition. This is not the end of it. You are just beginning. I urge you to be consistent, persevere and steadfast and I am sure that with consistency, we will get another Dangote from the winners of today.
“I commend Jaiz Bank for making this sacrifice by providing this huge money to support the growth of the winners’ concepts. The federal government is proud of you. I hope these innovators would use the money judiciously.”
Managing Director/Chief Executive, Jaiz Bank, Mr. Hassan Usman, urged the winners to judiciously utilise the funds and ensure that it translated into the fulfilment of their aspirations as social enterprises with optimum impact to the society.
He said the idea was part of the bank’s contribution to equip the country and encourage innovation.
He said: “We want to assure all that the social entrepreneurship innovation challenge shall be a continuous program by the bank.
“Our arms are open to entrepreneurs that genuinely want to grow their ideas as long as they have something that can add value to the society.
“The prize is a package of facility that would ensure we work with them based on our banking model of partnership.”
The bank’s open innovation challenge was aimed to spur scientists, engineers, developers, inventors and social entrepreneurs to ideate, experiment and build products/solutions to help address the Covid-19 crisis in the country.
At the end of the exercise, NDA Ventilators won N50 million; ShapShap won N40 million; Reeddi Technologies Nigeria Ltd won N20 million; and Data.tac Nigeria Limited N15 million.
The prizes were awarded in the form of equity, non-interest financing.