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FG Disburses N45m Grant to Inventors, Innovators

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The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) has disbursed a grant of N45 million to deserving inventors and innovators in Nigeria, Dr Mohammed Jubrin has said.

Jubrin, who is the Director-General, National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI), made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.

The director-general said that the N45 million was disbursed by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, to inventors and entrepreneurs in 2017.

He explained that this has assisted the development or the culture of entrepreneurship, which is technology based and after some time, we expect these companies to become key players in the economy.

Jubril said another N45million had been appropriated this year for disbursement to other inventors and entrepreneurs.

According to him, at the appropriate time an advertisement will be made so that inventors and innovators could apply and get the opportunity of being supported by the government.

“The NBTI has been part of the presidential standing committee on inventions and innovation, which identifies innovators, inventors and other technocrats for grants.

“A committee had been set up with the aim of using industries for the development of Nigeria by harnessing all researches and development results and other innovative efforts for commercialisation.

“The Chairman of NBTI Board in his wisdom constituted a committee that would address stakeholders’ linkages and collaborations and strategic membership will be articulated so that we would strengthen that aspect.

“This will spur inventors to have more opportunities in NBTI, fortunately NBTI has been part of the presidential standing committee on inventions and innovations.

“This a committee that identifies inventors, innovators and other technocrats for grants from the Federal Government.

Jubril said the board was committed to intensifying linkages and collaborations so that all inventors would have more opportunities in NBTI, saying that the board would lay more emphasis on commercialisation and community incubation.

“We have a strategic plan that we are following which is coming to an end this year.

Already, a committee has been set up to develop the second strategic plan that will take up to the end of my tenure in 2022.

“We will pay more attention to the real commercialisation of research and development results so that we can have new emerging companies that originate from literary works and from knowledge sources.

“We will pay attention to community incubation, a situation where you have people fighting in Benue and Taraba because they don’t have anything to do despite they have the abundant raw materials around them.

He said this called for concern because a state like Benue could feed Africa with food but they didn’t know “what is called food processing, packaging or preservation’’.

“We want a situation where products from local markets would start going straight to Shoprite and other super stores,” he said.

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Uber Extends Safety Toolkit Launch for Riders, Drivers to Nigeria

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Uber  to double down on safety and roll out Safety Toolkit for riders and drivers across 38 countries, including Nigeria; Features to include Safety Centre, Trusted Contacts, Share Trip, emergency assistance button and customisable speed alerts

This week Uber announced the new Safety Toolkit which, over the next few weeks, will be rolled out to the millions of riders, drivers and delivery-partners using the app across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The toolkit will introduce new innovative features which aim to raise the bar on safety, and increase transparency, accountability and peace of mind for all users.

Since launching the app, Uber has provided millions of people with technology that allows them to get a ride at the push of a button, track every trip with GPS technology and report any issues 24/7 with a dedicated safety team.

With the introduction of new safety features, the company aims to double down on safety and help make the Uber community safer.

Features that will be introduced as part of the new rider and driver safety toolkit, include:

Emergency button – With the push of a button in the app, riders, drivers and delivery-partners can connect directly to private emergency services and security response when needed through a third party private security supplier

Trusted Contacts – Riders can now easily designate five friends or family members as “trusted contacts” and, with a single tap, share their trip information which are easily customisable in their trip sharing preferences.

Safety Centre – A new app-housed safety information hub where users can find information on some of the key existing safety tools in the app, including our 24/7 team, information on the driver and the car, trip GPS-tracking and our rating and feedback system.

Speed alerts – A feature which reminds drivers and delivery partners to maintain a safe speed within the posted speed limits.

These new safety features will be a phased rollout, not all riders, drivers and delivery partners will have access to the features immediately.

“With more than 15 million trips on the Uber app every day, there is nothing more important than the safety of riders, drivers and couriers. Over the last year we’ve been working to develop innovative products that increase transparency, accountability and peace of mind for all users.

The rollout of our new Safety Toolkit features across Europe, Middle East and Africa is the next step in making sure that we’re helping everyone stay safe and connected, wherever you might be,” says Sachin Kansal, Uber’s Global Head of Safety Product.

Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made safety a top priority for 2018. Since joining the company, he has introduced a number of changes including Injury Protection cover for driver’s, delivery-partners and riders, driving hour limits and Driver Share my Trip.

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Okeremi Urges NIMC to Creating Additional Biometric Centres to Expedite NIN Registration

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Ronke Okeremi, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Arit of Africa, in addressing the inadequacy of centres, has urged NIMC to create more physical and mobile registration centres in order to speed up the enrolment of more Nigerians.

Okeremi while speaking on the need to hasten up the programme suggested that the creation of more centres across the country will solve the issue of slow pace of registration and boost the morale of Nigerians in the urban and rural areas to participate in the exercise.

The technology expert who is managing the oldest information and communication technology [ICT] in Nigeria reiterated that one of the logjams associated with the NIN programmes is the inadequate registration centres especially in some remote areas in the country.

She therefore called on NIMC to equally train its field officers in order for them to give their utmost in the discharge of their duties, in respect to the NIN registration exercise.

“Operators who are enrolling the citizens must be properly trained and biometric acquisition and authentication processes must be adequately defined.

“Mobile biometric enrolment kits can be used to provide biometric registration where it is required and it is especially useful for enrolment in outskirts and in the remote areas.

“A biometric system is made credible by ensuring that quality biometric acquisition devices are utilised and by installing software that ensures the quality of captured biometric and security of the biometric system”, she said.

Since the period the National Identity Management Commission [NIMC] was established to provide sustainable world-class identity management solution to affirm identity, enhance governance and service delivery in Nigeria, the government agency has experienced setbacks in enrolling Nigerians properly.

Among these challenges are ineffective and inefficient enrolment exercise, which include lack of adequate registration centres, extortion of enrollees before they could be enrolled, lack power supply and unavailable internet facility among others.

These challenges have rendered the enrolment exercise comatose, resulting in slow pace of work, which has further left many Nigerians frustrated, dejected and disinterested in the NIN exercise.

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Nigerian Startup Celebrates Female Heroes

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Social media in recent weeks has been agog with the celebration of iconic Nigerian women, by Nigerian female entrepreneurs from all walks of life, who have been commemorating their female heroes.

 

618Bees, a Nigerian tech start-up, began the ‘Naija Woman Hero’ contest where women are required to post a photo of their all-time iconic Nigerian woman on Instagram, using the hashtag #NaijaWomanHero, and tagging @618Bees.

 

Thousands of female entrepreneurs have nominated their iconic Nigerian women and the contest has started a resurgence of some sort since the competition began.

 

The competition has seen thousands of posts since the contest began on October 1st.

 

According to the BBC, Nigeria has the highest number of female entrepreneurs in the world and who often struggle to secure investment, with banks always requiring collaterals, like properties, which women often do not have.

 

Without access to capital, it is difficult for a lot of women to grow their businesses.

 

In a bid to make life easier for women, 618 Bees is offering hundreds of woman the opportunity to start their own businesses by registering the businesses for free.

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