The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) says it has received 369 entries submitted by startups hoping to benefit from its planned sponsorship for the Gitex 2016 Startup Movement.
NITDA plans to sponsor 10 startups to the global startups event that will be attracting over 400 startups in addition to the over 150, 000 trade visitors from more than 150 countries expected to attend the 5-day technology expo and conference, the Nigerian IT implemeting agency says.
Participating in the Gitex 2016 startup event will give the sponsored startups opportunity to pitch for the one hundred thousand US dollar prize at the technology trade show billed to hold in Dubai in November.
To get startups to participate, NITDA set up a Startup Sub-committee led by Mr. Bunmi Okunowo. The Startup sub-committee according to the Agency is under Nigeria@Gitex 2016 Local Organising Committee (LOC) inaugurated recently by the acting Director General of the NITDA, Dr Vincent Olatunji and mandated to select the winning entries to enjoy the NITDA startup sponsorship.
Following this, the Startup sub-committee launching an online application form for Nigerian tech-driven startups to indicate interest.
According to NITDA, the application form opened on Saturday, May 7 and closed on the midnight of May 19, 2016. An online advert was equally launched on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to the Nigerian tech startup ecosystem.
The Agency reported that in all, 180,000 online impressions were recorded, and 709 link clicks resulting in 369 entries submitted by startups as at the end of application on May 19 from 32 states across the country and 9 other countries (Ethiopia, Cameroon, Uganda, Chad, Botswana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Gambia, UK).
The responses have been impressive, and we hope to get the best startups to represent Nigeria at this global startup hub, says Okunowo, head of the Startup sub-committee.
According to Okunowo, 15 to 17 startups which must have unique tech-driven solutions/businesses that address the themes of Gitex are to be pre-selected. Thereafter, the final selection process for 10 will follow at a preselection meeting holding this week.
“At this meeting, we will present the pitch deck / presentation of all the pre-selected 20 startups; invite those in Abuja to come and pitch their solution before the committee. 6 members of the sub-committee will score each of the startup and hand over the score sheets to Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE) to compile”, he says.
According to him, “for those startups that are outside Abuja or unable to come physically, OIIE will schedule a phone call to them, call them at scheduled interval and have them pitch over the phone on the same slide deck that they have submitted.
“They will pitch for 4 minutes, answer few questions for just 2 minutes and let go off the phone. At the end of the meeting, the six evaluators will score them and submit the score sheet to OIIE team for compilation, Okunowo, who is also the National Coordinator for the OIIE, says.