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UK-Nigeria Tech: 5 Female-Owned Startups Selected For 2020 Founders’ Programme

Some female founders at the event

The 2019-launched UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, a part of the International Tech Hub Network, on 11 December 2019, hosted a ‘pitch and judge’ event for female-owned digital businesses, and five of these businesses were picked to attend the Africa-UK: Female Tech Founders 2020 programme.

The UK-Nigeria Tech Hub is armed with a primary objective of stimulating local digital economy, supporting inclusive and sustainable economic growth and jobs, using digital skills and enterprise.

According to the British Deputy High Commissioner, Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, during the Keynote Speech, it was born out of the British Government’s recognition of the potential of Nigeria’s tech space.

She also shared that events such as this reveal where Nigeria is headed in the entrepreneur and tech space of the country and the Hub aims to ensure that Nigeria is at the front and centre of the mentorship and support which will be gotten at the Female Tech Founders 2020 Programme which will hold in January 2020.

L-r-Judges: Seasoned Serial Entrepreneur and CEO of FutureSoft Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho; CEO of the online consumer finance platform, OneFi and Carbon; British Deputy High Commissioner, Nigeria, Harriet Thompson; Chijioke Dozie; Partner of the pre-seed investment firm, Microtraction, Chidinma Iwueke and Country Director, UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, Honey Ogundeyi.

Harriet’s speech also revealed that there is little doubt that the tech sector in Nigeria is booming.

This fact was seen considering that, in 2018, while the oil and gas sector contributed about 9% of the country’s GDP, the ICT sector of the country was responsible for up to 11%, raking in about $300 million.

The Hub, therefore, creates an opportunity for the UK to partner with Nigeria in the tech sector, as it looks for a way to support a new generation of that challenges the old way of doing business and links them with training and mentoring opportunities.

The Hub also encourages collaboration and partnerships that will deliver for Nigeria and the UK.

Pitching and Judging

The event saw an interesting mix of ten female-owned, digital businesses with promising futures and four industry experts as judges.

The judges were:

  • The CEO of the online consumer finance platform, OneFi and Carbon, Chijioke Dozie.
  • The Seasoned Serial Entrepreneur and CEO, FutureSoft, Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho
  • The Partner of the pre-seed investment firm, Microtraction, Chidinma Iwueke
  • The Country Director, UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, Honey Ogundeyi

The ten business pitched were:

  • AGORITE, the premier digital agricultural platform working to tackle food insecurity by creating share value for smallholder farmers and investors/businesses.
  • EASYSHOP EASYCOOK, the online fresh grocery delivery company that uses technology to provide domestic support services to the working professionals since 2005.
  • LIMESTART, which includes unbanked small businesses in Africa’s sector by digitizing their sales records and helping them with digital payments.
  • MOBIHEALTH, Africa’s Uber of medicine which is changing the way people in Africa access quality healthcare using tech.
  • MUMSPRING, the HealthTech startup that is leveraging technology to transform maternal and neonatal health in Africa, starting with Nigeria.
British Deputy High Commissioner, Nigeria, Harriet Thompson speaking at the event
  • 9IJAKIDS, the EdTech company has developed a mobile app to help children improve academic performance.
  • ROVINGHEIGHTS, a social-minded book sales and distribution company with the focus of making books the new cool.
  • SCHOLARX, an EdFinTech company which operates at the intersection of education and finance by creating equitable access to quality education.
  • SHECLUDED, the credit inclusion company that provides women with access to credit, financial advisory, mentoring and community.
  • SHUTTLERS MOBILITY, which enables professionals and organisations to share rides in corporate buses to and from work.
Famous Five

The Africa-UK: Female Tech Founders 2020 Programme will bring 15 of Africa’s most ambitious development-focused women entrepreneurs to the UK in January. The 15 businesses will come from five countries in the continent, some of which South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

The five businesses chosen by the judges after the pitch would be the businesses to attend the programme.

The five businesses chosen from the pitched ten were:

  • Scholarx
  • Shecluded
  • Shuttlers Mobility
  • Mobihealth
  • Limestart
Gender Inclusion

The need for inclusion in the tech space is not hidden. However, the steps needed to achieve this feat differs, and these ten businesses attempt to play their part in different ways and measures.

Talking to Ifeoma Uddoh of Shecluded, one of the five winners, she shared that running a business focused on making loans available for working women and women in business, they continuously find ways to reach more women.

She also revealed that most of the loans disbursed are above N1 million, and so to reach more women, they are venturing into making small loans available so as to empower more women and also reach and relate with them as not just people who provide loans but also as financial partners.

Such a move will help in financial and gender inclusion and, considering that 45% of the labour force in Nigeria are women, it will no doubt boost the economy of the nation.

The five winners will leave for London, where the Female Founders Tech Programme will hold, come January 2020.

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Written by PH

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