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JICA Supports 3 Nigerian Startups With $45,000 Seed Fund

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The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), had supported three Nigerian startups with the sum of $15,000 each to develop their innovative ideas towards becoming entrepreneurs and achieving the digital economy agenda.
The seed fund was given on Tuesday at the Demonstration Day of the first Cohort of the Idea Hatching (iHatch) Startup Incubation Programme.
It wasorganised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in collaboration with JICA in Abuja.
The iHatch programme was championed by Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI),a subsidiary of NITDA.
The Tide source reports that in March 2022, the first cohort, a five-month programme began with over 5,000 applications that were received, while eight were selected to pitch their ideas.
The winner of the demonstration was Betalife, a health tech startup company that offers 24/7 real-time blood donation tracking and blood requests.
The second position was won by Xolani Health Limited,an Artificial Intelligence-assisted tool that support clinical decision making for healthcare workers in low resource settings.
The third place winner was Every Farmer,a solution that focuses on accessing funds for agricultural value chain.
Ms Favour James, Founder, Betalife, who was happy said the seed fund would be channeled to marketing and creating awareness for solutions.
“We are going to utilise the money in engaging more professionals and in our marketing strategy, because blood donation is not a popular thing in Nigeria.
“We will also invest in building collaboration between hospitals and blood banks,”James said.
Mr Susumu Yuzurio,Chief Representative,JICA Nigeria, congratulated the startups, while acknowledging that all of them were winners in their respective manners.

Yuzurio encouraged them to sustain the knowledge they had acquired towards building a digital economy for the nation.
Mr Kashifu Inuwa,Director-General of NITDA,at the demonstration by the startups,said that the programme was targeted at refining business ideas of the innovators and developing the digital economy agenda.
“This partnership is in furtherance to the commitment of NITDA in sustaining the promotion and growth of digital innovation and entrepreneurship, promotion of indigenous content derived from of the seven pillars of our Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) 2021-2024.
“This is to increase the number of Innovation-Driven Enterprises (IDEs) viz- a- viz sustaining the growth of Nigeria’s digital economy.
“The partnership with JICA in the implementation of the iHatch programme is part of our initiatives to strengthen the tech and innovation ecosystem.
“This is for the creation of more IDEs that will invariably contribute to creation of jobs for our teeming youth and the prosperity of our country,” Inuwa said.
He added that programme took the startups through a series of coaching, lectures, and boot-camps to generate scalable and adaptable business models in the country.
Onuwa recalled the selection process assessed the startups’ ideas based on the criteria of profitability, scalability, social impact, idea technique, competitive advantage, experience, and a clearly defined future roadmap.
The DG said that the agency and JICA would be extending the third cohort across the six geo-political zones of the country by the end of the second Cohort that would also span to five months.
He said: “NITDA remains committed to working with relevant stakeholders and partners in implementing programmes and initiatives that will accelerate innovation.
“They will provide the much-needed jobs for our youths, while also nurturing their entrepreneurial spirit to catalyse the Nigerian digital economy to the next level.”
Mr Nao Fuwa, JICA expert, urged the startups to think of why they studied business and why they considered opening a business.
“Brushing up a business model is important, but brushing your passion will attract people to your business,” he said.
The other startups include eDokta, a Telehomecare solution for virtual consultation and home healthcare services,S-Med, a solution that enable patients access their medical records.
They also include Authentic Qrtech, a solution for authentication of fake products,adulteration and counterfeit goods.
Other startups that demonstrated their ideas were Tech and Identity Solution Lab,an automation identity for background check platform and Afrinet Powertech,a cleantech solution that enhances energy efficiency for affordable electricity access.
The Demo Day was the end of the first cohort that was launched in March and lasted for five months and it also held concurrently with the launch of the second cohort.(NAN)

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Firm Unveils Digital Solutions For Cooperatives

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A subsidiary outfit of First Registrars Firm, the Cle Digital Services Limited, has launched a digital solution for cooperative societies in the country.
Business Manager of Clé Digital Services Limited, Oladipupo Olabisi, at the launch in Lagos, revealed that the product, Clé Cooperative Management Solution, was a revolutionary digital platform, professionally designed to streamline cooperative management and enhance members’ engagement.
He said, “Today marks a significant milestone in our journey as we introduce a groundbreaking digital platform designed to transform the way cooperative organisations operate and engage with their members.
“The Clé Coop Solution represents the culmination of extensive research, development, and collaboration with cooperative communities around the world.
“From multipurpose societies to housing cooperatives and agricultural cooperatives, the Clé Coop Solution empowers cooperatives of all sizes to efficiently manage their operations, communicate with members, and foster collaboration”.
Highlighting the economic and environmental significance of cooperative societies, Olabisi explained that with significant investment committed to the development of the product, members of cooperative societies, particularly administrators and executives, would have robust experience.

The business Manager added, “We also understand the challenges that many cooperatives face in navigating complex operational tasks and effectively communicating with their members.

“To this end, Clé Coop Solution is a step ahead of other platforms, as it also offers more than just cooperative management services. Members of cooperative societies can have access to a number of value-added services, such as the CLE market hub, discounts on specific products and services and much more.

“Finally, I want to reiterate our firm belief in the power of cooperation and technology to drive positive changes in the world. With the Clé Cooperative Solution, we are not just launching a product; we are embarking on a journey to empower cooperatives and create a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future for all”.

A Director with the Lagos State Government Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Co-operatives, represented by the Surulere Cooperatives Area Coordinator, Mr Akin Adekunle, commended the launch of the software to address specific challenges of cooperative societies.

He charged the organisation not to limit the use of the cooperative solution to the elite cooperatives but to other categories, as society was replete with various types of cooperatives.

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AI, Key To Business Profitability – NAICOM

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The Commissioner for Insurance/CEO, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. Sunday Thomas, has said artificial intelligence (AI) is key to the future of insurance business in Nigeria.
He, therefore, urged insurance operators to increase adoption in this area, saying it gives better productivity and enhanced profitability, while ensuring quick service delivery and claims payment to insurance consumers.
Thomas stated this while delivering a keynote address at the 8th BusinessToday annual conference & exhibition with the theme, “The World of AI: How Insurance and Pension Sectors Can Explore Opportunities for Market Penetration”, in Lagos.
Thomas, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Lagos Office of NAICOM, Ajibola Olabisi Bankole, said Technology adoption is part of the 10-year roadmap of the insurance industry, and that NAICOM, as a regulator, will continue to evolve policies that will engender the growth of the industry, increase penetration and contribute to the nation’s GDP.
Earlier in his Goodwill message, Chairman of the conference, who is also the Chairman of NEM Insurance Plc, Mr. Tope Smart, noted the level of insurance penetration in Nigeria when benchmarked with the global penetration, saying that a lot of factors were responsible for the increase in penetration level.
He said lack of or low enforcement is affecting the adoption of compulsory insurances, adding that the industry is working assiduously to partner agencies responsible for enforcement to increase insurance adoption.
“It is quite saddening that out of a population of 200 million, only about  three million people are actually insured. Lack of enforcement is a challenge but the industry is working round the clock to increase enforcement through the regulatory and enforcement bodies.
“Consumers’ apathy due to bad experience they had in the past is affecting policy renewals, but I can assure Nigerians that there are various complaint avenues for people to lodge complaints.
“If your legitimate claims are not settled, you can approach Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) and NAICOM; if your complaints are genuine, they will be definitely resolved”, he assured.
The President, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Mr. Edwin Igbiti, said the growing insurance industry will require that the nation’s economy be derisked, while seeking partnership with government  and other stakeholders to deepen insurance penetration.
He stated that AI will increase insurance premium growth, enhance service delivery, and ensure that the insurance sector contributes more to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP).

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Bank Unveils Upgraded Mobile App

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The Stanbic IBTC Bank, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, has unveiled an enhanced version of its mobile app which was optimised specifically for businesses.
Head of Partnerships at Stanbic IBTC Bank, Omolara Osunsoko, in her opening remarks at the event in Lagos said the enhanced mobile app offers a range of new features designed to streamline and simplify digital banking for business owners.
She said, “The solutions added to the app will help business owners transact whilst on the go. This cutting-edge offering exemplifies our dedication to innovation, convenience and growth in our digital space. It underscores our promise to continually enhance our services”.
According to Osunsoko, the enhanced mobile app for businesses provides a comprehensive suite of tools to manage finances efficiently.
“With an intuitive interface, users can execute transactions seamlessly, transfer funds between accounts, check real-time balances, and manage beneficiaries. The app offers instant access to transaction statements, self-service options, and security features to safeguard business operations”, she added.
The Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Bank,  Wole Adeniyi, remarked, “We are thrilled to introduce the enhanced Stanbic IBTC Mobile App tailored specifically for our business clients.
“Our goal is to provide businesses with a seamless and efficient platform to conduct their banking activities, including transactions, statement requests, transfers, and more, all from the convenience of their mobile devices.
“This app enhancement is a significant step in our ongoing efforts to simplify our banking processes and enhance the customer experience through technology.
“With robust security measures and a user-friendly interface, our business clients can now manage their finances more efficiently and confidently”.

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