The Federal Ministry of Communication Technology promotes and facilitates the development of the ICT industry in Nigeria. One visible evidence is a Technology Innovation Program called the Techlaunchpad in collaboration with the private sector in 2012 to assist Nigerian technology startups (with viable solutions) to grow and develop their products and business for commercial purposes.
This initiative which is a public private partnership is focused on carefully selected tech start-ups who will be provided a training and mentorship program through Heads of ICT and Executives of private sector. The mentors work with the tech startups and young entrepreneurs to provide inputs to their software development to ensure the solutions have socio-economic relevance within the targeted industry.
In addition to assisting the start-ups to build software that meets international standards, the programme is also to provide access to fund and market, which are some of the inhibiting factors to the growth of the local, young technology companies.
The First Edition of the programme which ran from July 2013 to March 2014 was targeted at the banks and oil and gas industries whereby eight (8) tech start-ups through rigorous processes of application, evaluation, shortlisting and selection conducted by the Ministry and its partners . They were incubated at the iDEA Centre in Lagos.
The program partners include Accenture, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Totalfina Elf, First Bank, Access Bank, Fate Foundation and others.
- Must be innovative and not infringe on any known copyright
- Application and solution documentation must be in English Language
- Solution should not yet have been introduced into the market; but should require short lead time to commercialization (18 months or below)
- Application must be within the stated areas of scope under the following industries:
- Agriculture and Logistics
- Building and Construction
Successful applicants/developers will be admitted into iDEA Incubation Centres in Lagos and Calabar to develop the full solutions within 8months. During this stage, the successful applicants will be provided office space, high speed internet access and other office logistics within the 8months duration of the program. The software developers will be mentored by Chief Information Officers of the partners and other identified Executives to fine tune the quality and industry relevance of their solution to ensure that the solutions comply with international quality and standards, as well as accelerate the launch of the product:
Other benefits to the developers during this program will include:
- Training: covering areas such as software standards, quality, testing methodology and so on
- Access to development tools and testing environment
- Business advisory services: business registration, intellectual property protection, contact agreement
- Funding operational expenses, providing investor access to start-up capital or venture capital
- Links to industry and strategic partners: Access to functional experts/industry, mentoring & networking
- Technology commercialization assistance: Providing access to the market to enhance fit and patronage
Existing, new and aspiring software developers (company or individuals).:
- Participants must be Nigerian citizens
- Participants must be of a minimum of 18 years
- Participants must be available in Nigeria throughout the duration of the programme
- Participants with business entities must be registered in Nigeria with a minimum of 51% local equity (i.e.. At least 51% of the company should be owned by Nigerians)The deadline for applications for the second edition is: 11:59:59pm (GMT + 1), June 8th 2014