HiiL Innovating Justice, a Dutch advisory and research board, has kicked off the 2016 edition of an Innovation Challenge to empower start-ups and small businesses across East and West Africa, including Nigeria.
HiiL Innovating Justice says that apart from the top prize of $40,000, the Challenge hopes to unlock the potentials of East and West African SMEs by funding and empowering the governance and justice innovation they truly need.
”We want to support the best innovations and address regulatory hurdles and bureaucratic red tape faced by youth-led start-ups in East and West Africa” Olufunbi Falayi, Regional Liaison Agent for West Africa at Hiil said Wednesday at a briefing that attracted developers at the iDEA Hub in Lagos.
Entries will opened later this month for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Empowerment Innovation Challenge, East and West Africa, he told the session explaining that all submitted innovation will be assessed for uniqueness, scalability, sustainability and impact.
HiiL Innovating Justice helps turn the most promising and disruptive ideas into effective innovations by bringing together the best legal experts, cutting-edge technology, and new types of funding, Falayi says. “We differ because we put the users of the justice system first.”
According to him, ”we constantly scan the latest available knowledge and work to help our clients understand people’s justice needs and develop effective strategies based on what works. We do not consult from the sides but co-create. We help to integrate new technologies for resolving conflict in time-honored legal procedures, linked to effective institutional structures.”
To drive the Challenge, Falayi said that the opening of entries will be followed by an online campaign and selection of the top three innovation entries. The winner smiles to the bank with the sum of $40,000, while the runner-up gets $20,000 and the third prize winner gets a $10,000 seed fund.
The Innovating Justice Awards is an annual award ceremony which takes place during the Innovating Justice Forum, an international event organised by HiiL to discuss and support innovative ways of approaching justice worldwide.
Last year, the inaugural SME Empowerment Challenge East and West Africa 2015 was organized that brought together the best justice solutions in Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.
DIYLaw from Nigeria, an online platform that offers effective, efficient and low-cost legal services to small businesses, emerged with the best innovation and won the $40,000 seed funding during
DIYLaw, is a legal technology company that uses technology to create access to legal services in Africa beginning with Nigeria.
DIYLaw is an all-female Nigerian start-up comprising Bola Olonisakin, Funkola Odeleye and Odunoluwa Longe.
Speaking at the event, Funkola Odeleye of DIYLaw say the service which is currently in its public beta stage allows users to purchase registration packages online.
Other products by DIYLaw includes a portal for legal documents, a resource platform and a directory/lead generation platform for lawyers.
According to her, the DIYLaw.ng seeks to be a one-stop hub for all things legal.
HiiL Innovating Justice says it works with courts, legal aid boards, NGOs, government Ministries responsible for justice and companies that are looking for fair and innovative solutions that can be sustainably-funded and can catalyses systemic change.