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Itanna Hosts Demo Day

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Lagos-based accelerator and investment vehicle Itanna, backed by leading Nigerian corporate the Honeywell Group, today held its inaugural Demo Day, marking the end of its four-month innovation programme for tech-enabled, for-profit African startups.

Held at Itanna’s Enterprise Factory, Demo Day saw the pilot Cohort pitch to Honeywell Group’s extensive network of high net-worth investors, as they, the cohorts, vied to secure investment, corporate backing and strategic partnerships, for their companies.

A step in the journey of Honeywell Group’s reinvention through its new innovation strategy, Itanna’s Demo Day also hosted a panel of leading players in the Nigerian tech and business ecosystems, who discussed the role of corporate Nigeria in achieving win-win collaborations with tech start-ups.

Panellists included Deji Oguntonade, Head Fintech & Innovation, Guaranty Trust Bank, Lola Ekugo, Head Digital Innovation Lab, First Bank, Obi Emetatom, Managing Director, Appzone and Seun Faluyi, Managing Director, Uraga Power Solutions.

Launched in August 2018, Itanna’s four founding Cohort companies were chosen from over 200 applications from across Africa. They included: Accounteer -providers of online accounting services for SMEs across Africa,

KoloPay – a cashless target savings mobile and web application

Tradebuza – an online platform for managing and brokering commodities sourcing and outgrower scheme

PowerCube – providers of affordable power supply using renewable energy.

Along with up to USD $25,000 each in investment from Honeywell Group, startups received training and mentorship from leading industry experts in the form of UI/UX Sessions, legal and HR workshops, classes on technology, business and marketing, reviews of revenue/pricing model and operational metrics, mentorship sessions and guest lectures from some of Nigeria’s most renowned entrepreneurs and business icons.

Obafemi Otudeko Honeywell Group’s Executive Director, says, “Our vision for Itanna was to see an accelerator that merged the best of corporate and entrepreneurial spirit in order to fulfil our mission of using enterprise to make our world better. Itanna has exceeded our expectations as we look to cement our position as a facilitator and impactor of growth in key sectors, including tech within Nigeria and across Africa”.

With plans underway for a second cohort intake in 2019, Itanna will also invest in more developed tech startups looking for growth capital with its direct investment arm, which will support investee companies in scaling, by leveraging Honeywell Group’s extensive network and industry expertise.

Tomi Otudeko, Head of Sustainability at Honeywell Group and Director of Itanna says, “Itanna is uniquely placed, as our goal continues to be bridging the gap between our tech startup ecosystem and corporate Nigeria.

Over the last four months, the entire team at Itanna, along with our strategic partners and the Honeywell Group, have committed to creating a professional environment where businesses can learn from experts in their field and build innovative and dynamic businesses of the future.”

Tony Idugboe, Vice President, Head of Investments at Itanna concludes, “Our Cohort have shown true enthusiasm and entrepreneurism – which investors search for. In preparing to secure investment, they have learned to plan, be patient and show flexibility and of course, showcase phenomenal pitching skills, Demo Day has given them the confidence to embark on the next stage of their entrepreneurial journey. We wish them all the very best”.

Operating from the brand new Enterprise Factory located in Iganmu, Itanna is at the heart of industrial Lagos where businesses are built. The state of the art 627 square metre collaborative space boasts work spaces, offices, meeting rooms and a conference space.

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Ericsson to Showcase Music Connect at Mawazine Festival 2019

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Ericsson has announced its participation in the 18th edition of the Mawazine Festival, one of the world’s largest music events, taking place in Rabat, Morocco from June 21-29, 2019. Through a showcase of the future technology, Ericsson played Music Connect to exhibit how the future will look like with new innovations that are developed to create immersive experiences for audiences of such big events.

Music Connect enables musicians in different locations playing together in real time with harmony. It will enable more people to enjoy immersive performances than ever before.

The higher throughput connection and ultra-low latency enables musicians to practice and perform in real time and perfect synchronization, even when they are geographically apart. It will also allow musicians with disabilities to participate in musical events and receive or provide training without physically being present – transforming limitations into possibilities.

Music Connect highlights how connectivity can transform our interaction with arts, and the ways that 5G technology will revolutionize this industry – by providing a much more enhanced, enriching experience through connectivity across the globe.

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Titans of Tech Focuses on Local Content, Infrastructure Protection for Socio-Economic Growth

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Isa Pantanmi, NITDA DG
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THE 2019 edition of prestigious Titans of Tech Award will hold in Lagos, Friday, July 19, 2019 at the Oriental Hotels Victoria Island with a special Roundtable on the growing importance of digital infrastructure protection in the quest to further Socio-economic Growth.

 

Don Pedro Aganbi, managing consultant, Technology Africa, who made this known to newsmen in Lagos revealed that the theme of the Leadership Roundtable is “Cyber security, Local Content Development, Big Data & Infrastructure Protection – Catalyst for Economic Growth And National Development.”

 

According to Aganbi, “An industry data claimed that Nigeria might have ceded about 70 per cent of the country’s technology market to brands due to apathy for locally made products”. Local content according to him is defined as the amount of incremental value added or created in Nigeria through the utilisation of Nigerian human and material resources for the provision of goods and services in the ICT industry within acceptable quality and standards, to stimulate the development of indigenous capabilities.

 

Speaking further he said that the widespread deployment of digital and other communication infrastructure is creating an unprecedented increase in the volume of data. It is this deluge of digital data that is now popularly called ‘big data.”

 

He stated that “data is the lifeblood and an essential ingredient for accountability in the digital economy.”

 

Aganbi noted that as the economy got more connected the need to safeguard data, secure transactions and protect digital infrastructure grew exponentially.

 

He explained that more and more people agree that the connected economy is precipitated by the Internet and is rapidly changing the way we work, socialize, create and share information. Indeed, it is continuously changing the way we organize the flow of people, ideas, and things around the globe.

 

The infrastructure, he said, that makes this possible undoubtedly is a strategic economic growth driver; and a catalyst for socio economic development.

 

So naturally the protection of such infrastructure, particularly of rapidly growing digital infrastructure, is akin to ensuring the survival of the emerging digital society and sustaining economic growth, he revealed.

 

Aganbi made it known that several seasoned industry experts and leaders are expected to attend and participate in the seminal leadership round table session.

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AfDB Hosts Masterclass on Women’s Skills in Business Development

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The fourth Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA)/Entreprenarium masterclass began Monday in Pretoria, South Africa, aimed at improving women’s skills in business development and financial management.

40 business women, who came through an online application process, will attend the two-day masterclass, which will cover financial planning, lean start-up methodology and business model canvassing.

A mentoring and coaching session will help participants to broaden their skills. The masterclasses are jointly conducted by the African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) and Entreprenarium, a pan-African foundation that invests philanthropic capital in the training and financing of women and young entrepreneurs.

Speaking at the opening, African Development Bank Regional Director General, Kapil Kapoor, queried development agendas that discriminate 50% of the population on regulation, skills development, access to information. “We would like to put gender at forefront of our development agenda to cause a transformation that is inclusive. This is a forum where the Bank can do differently to bring about this transformation,” he said.

The training forms part of the Bank’s goal to support over a thousand women entrepreneurs in six African countries. Training has already occurred in the Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon and Kenya, and is under way in Tunisia. From the first three countries, applications for financing are being reviewed with a view to support the most promising projects.

Despite South Africa being the second largest economy in Africa, the nation has very high levels of unemployment (59% youth, 29.5% women), huge disparities in income and too many unskilled youth and women. Many youth and women face numerous challenges that include unaffordable bank fees for those on low incomes, a lack of trust in financial institutions, and informal borrowings.

Access to finance in South Africa remains a challenge, especially to black African women. Some of the major obstacles include inadequate financial literacy; the banking sector’s fear of their perceived risks of lending to women; economic empowerment targets that exclude women’s enterprises; and inadequate or inappropriate bank products.

Entreprenarium has been working with women entrepreneurs throughout Africa since 2004 and has trained over 2,000 entrepreneurs.

Speaking for Entreprenarium, Frédéric Ngirabacu, Chief Operating Officer said, “We developed this programme to support and empower resilient and innovative women entrepreneurs all across the African continent, because they have a right to the same opportunities as men to build their financial autonomy in a sustainable way.”

AFAWA is a powerful and creative new initiative that intends to mobilise over $3 billion of financing for women-empowered businesses in Africa to reduce women’s business vulnerability and liberate unused human potential for sustainable and equitable growth.

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