In what appears to be a yet another milestone in the Nigerian Agricultural sector, the tech giant, Microsoft, in collaboration with Sterling Bank, NITDA and TedPrime Hub has announced three agro-digital solutions as winners at the just concluded Microsoft Agro-Tech Hackathon.
The grand finale, which was held at Microsoft Africa Transformation Office, Lagos Nigeria featured 10 solutions by the Nigerian youths from Abuja FCT, Benue, Enugu, Jos, Kaduna, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo and Sokoto.
The winning digital solutions: Sell Harvest, Farmsquare and Farmers’ Market were announced as first (with N2.5M), second with (N1.5M) and third position with (1 Million Naira) respectively by Sterling Bank after rigorous pitch rounds and product testing reviews by season experts and independent jury drawn from Agriculture, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Research and Development sectors.
The National Hackathon which commenced on March 2022 with the ultimate goal of designing digital solutions that bolster value chain in agriculture and connect thousands of farmers to end-product users together for the next decade was designed by Microsoft in partnership with Sterling Bank and NITDA.
Speaking at the opening session, the Microsoft Country Manager Nigeria and Ghana; Olatomiwa Williams in her Keynote reiterated the position of Microsoft in harnessing the potentials of African youths to support the continent by raising over 40,000 home grown Start-ups in critical sectors as envisioned by Microsoft Africa Transformation Office. “It is Microsoft’s pleasure to onboard these creative youths as finalists at this occasion into the exclusive Microsoft Global Entrepreneurship Program.
The Group Head, Agric & Solid Minerals Finance of Sterling Bank PLC, Dr. Olushola Obikanye in his presentation expressed his delight on the new milestone in the Nigeria’s agricultural sector through a robust digital transformation framework as one of the five pillars of Sterling Bank’s approach to National Development outside its core banking services.
In his remarks, Mr. Ahmad Bature while representing the Director-General, NITDA noted that sustainable innovation and creativity among the young people of Nigeria remain the heartbeat of the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency.
“The Director-General has approved the sum of N3,150,000 to support the remaining top 7 finalists with exclusive access to NITDA-Deployed IT Hubs across the country including the National Centre for AI and Robotics, Abuja and NITDA-coordinated programmes for Start-Ups post Hackathon” Mr. Bature announced.
While the winning team, Software Chasers, expressed their delight on their winning and product development experience, “Muhammad Mukhtar, Albany Muhammad, Sa’adu Abubakar said, “It has been an interesting journey with wide experience from varying degrees of virtual sessions, engagements and supports from TedPrime Hub to all teams that participated. We see this as a milestone for Sell Harvest app in our next phase of the journey post Hackathon.
Giving a detailed account of the event, the Director of Administration and Global Partnerships of TedPrime Hub (Microsoft Partner), Odeogbola Ayodele, affirmed that the 3-month hybrid Hackathon has been a rewarding one for over two thousand youths selected from the pool across Nigeria through innovative virtual Skill-up sessions on Technology and Cloud Services, emerging issues on Agricultural value chain process, Start-up ecosystem and idea scaling, product testing and now to the final round.
“Beyond this great milestone, TedPrime Hub would continue to pride itself on infusion of education, technology and skills development to transform every critical sectors of the economy of Africa for the next decade. A great appreciation goes to Microsoft, Sterling Bank and NITDA for keying into this direction through a robust partnership drive and vision as we set out to nurture these tech creators in agricultural sector and also proceed to transforming other sectors beyond this historic event. We therefore call on other organizations to join us in this movement”. Mr. Odeogbola further added.
Microsoft Agro-Tech Hackathon is an innovative competition that engages Nigerian youths from different backgrounds across Nigeria as agric experts, software developers and entrepreneurs to collaborate and curate digital solutions that transform the agricultural sector at scale.