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3 Nigerian Startups Win Top Prizes at Global Startup Awards Africa

Nigerian companies are cementing their image as some of the most inventive and dynamic players in the continent’s startup ecosystem, having won three top honors at the recent Global Startup honors (GSA) Africa Summit in Addis Abeba.

The Global Startup Awards Africa, in partnership with the Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG), the Ethiopian Ministry of Labour and Skills (MOLS), the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MInT), and the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) Ethiopia, announced the names of 16 overall African category winners.

Three Nigerian firms were among the winners at the stunning awards ceremony in Ethiopia’s capital.

The crucial endeavor of Emergency Response Africa to connect individuals experiencing a medical emergency to give care in minutes utilizing technology got it the top medal in the HealthTech category.

“Winning the health tech award is truly an honor for us at Emergency Response Africa,” said CEO and co-founder Olufolakemi Owodunni, who credited her team for the hard work and commitment that saw the company make a significant impact on the GSA Africa stage. It is a striking reminder that our vision of an Africa where everyone can get emergency treatment in under 10 minutes is a reality.

The exposure and investment opportunities provided by this award will have a huge impact, not only in saving lives but also in assisting us in leading the building up of a key industry.”

Awabah Nigeria, a digital technology business focused on wealth creation and financial sustainability for informal sector workers, was named Best Newcomer.

Awabah CEO, Tunji Andrews, reflected, “I was blown away by the organization of what is a truly Pan-African celebration of entrepreneurship. Innovation from all across the continent was on display and it was truly a pleasure to share and learn from every startup present. Also having an opportunity to interact with the GSA Africa and GIIG team was amazing because they not only understood our vision, but they also saw our future and I only hope we get to work together and make Africa an awesome place. This is our first international award and a testament to our growth as a business and the validity that great ideas can come to life.”

Nigerian startup Dataleum Limited, a tech training and consulting firm, took the Best Edtech category for the sterling work it has done training over 16,000 individuals on premium tech skills. “We take this as a call to do more – to triple our efforts in making more impact in the Tech Talent Ecosystem and to keep making our great nation proud,” said Bode Roberts, CEO and Co-Founder of Dataleum Limited.

Debbie Dosunmu, Group Head of Corporate Communications, stated, “I think this award is going to propel us to do better, push our business out there globally, and reach out to youth who need our services.”

This year’s three Nigerian champions competed against 1,780 Western African competitors and approximately 8,200 GSA Africa entrants overall.

The competition’s specific investment partner, the GIIG Africa Fund, will also meet with the winners exclusively. The organization’s GIIG Africa support and GIIG Africa Foundation aim to develop, support, and expand African solutions to globally significant concerns.

During the year-long tournament, participants competed at the national level initially before vying for a berth as a regional finalist. An impartial group of judges then determined the winners, providing a comprehensive assessment of the African IT landscape.

Jo Griffiths, Co-founder of the GSA Africa and GIIG, highlighted, “The Global Startup Awards Africa aims to raise the visibility of African innovation as a unifying mechanism that transcends borders, cultures, and nationalities as well as the diverse maturity levels of the various startup ecosystems. It provides a common language for us all, fostering understanding and connection, and providing a platform to implement a shared vision of scaled impact.”

Caitlin Nash, Co-founder of GSA Africa and GIIG added, “The GSA Africa Summit is an enabler of collaborative transformation – of Africa’s emerging startup nations, founders, and communities leveraging and amplifying Africa’s growing influence in the global community.

It is our mission to find and support these operators and innovators of Africa – these are the young leaders with the ideas, energy, local knowledge, commitment and experience that will build this continent. We have an always-on call out for organisations that share this vision to partner with us on our GIIG Fund and Foundation work that delivers this support especially ahead of the new programme starting in January 2024.”

Her Excellency Muferihat Kamil, Minister of Labour and Skills, shared, “Ethiopia has big ambitions. We believe it is our turn to shape tomorrow’s world. It is Africa’s turn to herald a new world, a more equitable, more humanity-centred, and more just world. It will be all of us standing tall, and Africa standing tall, Africa assuming its rightful place in the world, Africa ceasing to be a synonym for poverty, social malaise, and hopelessness, and Africa becoming the new frontier for innovation and economic vitality.” H.E. Kamil encouraged all startups, “As you go home, go home with Africa’s future on your shoulders, with Africa’s dream for salvation in your hearts.”

His Excellency Dr Belete Molla Getahun, Minister of Innovation and Technology, said, “If African countries are to truly reap the benefits of the demographic dividends from their sizeable young population, it is extremely necessary to support entrepreneurship and startups with a sense of urgency and purpose. Here, we must leverage this platform to learn from other countries’ experiences and to share yours as well as your country’s vision of going global by fostering a local innovation ecosystem.

This is the formation of a community of disruptors poised to leave their imprint on the global startup environment. From Lagos to Lilongwe, Cape Town to Cairo, the world will soon feel your impact. You are the fearless change agents. There will be light ahead with you at the helm, directing us forward.”

UNICEF Ethiopia, UNDP Ethiopia, Grant Thornton Ethiopia, The Mayor’s Office Addis Abeba, The Development Bank Ethiopia, First Consult, and Loudhailer Global were also significant partners at the GSA Africa event.

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