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Two Nigerian Startups win $300, 000 in Saudi Arabia

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Aminu Abdullahi

Two Nigerian start-ups have won $300,000 in Riyadh,  Saudi Arabia after participating in the second edition of the LEAP, Technology Exhibition. 

KANO FOCUS reports that the two Start-ups are RiceAfrika Technologies and Wicrypt Technologies. 

They emerged winners in different categories at the Rocket Fuel Pitch Competition, which was attended by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami.

A statement sent to KANO FOCUS by Uwa Suleiman Senior Special Assistant Media to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami said over 10,000 Startups submitted applications from different countries. After rigorous scrutiny, the applicants were down to 220, and only 90 startups were selected to pitch their business ideas in the semi-final. Eight Nigerian Startups participated at the semi-final, and three reached the final stage.

“It was a proud moment of excitement for the Nigerian delegation, led by Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), accompanied by Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communication Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbattaamd Managing Director, Nigerian Communication Satellite, Engr. Tukur Muhammad Funtua, that participated at the 2nd edition of the LEAP Technology Exhibition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as two Nigerian startups emerged winners in different categories at the Rocket Fuel Pitch Competition, and are coming home with a combined total prize of $300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand Dollars).

“RiceAfrika Technologies – is a tech-driven agric optimisation startup that deploys IoT-enabled harvester and its FARMEasy mobile app for smallholder farming communities in Africa. RiceAfrika believes Africa can feed itself and feed the world. It emerged as the global best in ‘The Tech for Humanity Award’ category and is coming home with 150,000 dollars. While Wicrypt – An innovative Tech startup decentralising internet globally. The startup has a custom OS and hardware that allows users to share data with people around them and charge an affordable rate also won 150,000 dollars after he was announced as the global best in the ‘The Into New World Award’ category.

Professor Pantami leader of Nigerian delegation expressed his delight while maintaining that Nigerian Startups have all it takes to compete with their peers in the global stage.

“I am so proud of our Startups who emerged as the global best in these categories. It is quite a long journey that followed rigorous process until the end; from over 10,000 applications to the final 12, in which three Nigerians took part and two emerged winners. We are delighted that our startups are not only amazing but went through a lot of nurturing and mentorship to be the best in the world,” he noted.

The Minister stated that Nigeria is on the right track in implementing its National Digital Economy Policy and Strategies to ensure that Nigerian Startups add value to the global tech ecosystem. We are building the ecosystem and making it more conducive for nurturing innovation-driven enterprises. Our startups are creating solutions for the local market that can easily scale to the global market.

“The journey started in 2019 shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for Digital Nigeria. Now we are reaping the positive benefits of our commitment. In the space of five months, we have Nigerians that are making us proud on the global stage.

“The eight entries from Nigeria competed with over 90 Startups in the semi-finals, showcasing their innovative ideas that will transform economies and solve pertinent issues around the world. Therefore, they emerged global best. They did not only pitch to win grants but also attended various knowledge-sharing sessions, conferences and investor meetings that have exposed them to numerous ways to accelerate their products for the best market fit. The startups intracted with the world’s best mentors, angel investors and venture capitalists.”

“It is also noteworthy that eight Startups we brought to this year’s LEAP, three made it the Grand Finale, two won, and are going back home to add value to our Digital Economy. On behalf of the Nigerian government, we sincerely appreciate the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) Headquarters, Riyadh, for sponsoring our innovative startups to participate and showcase their innovations to the world”, he added.

Prof. Pantami also said that the successes of Nigerian Startups in GITEX, Dubai, United Arab Emirates in October last year, and today in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is evident that the country’s innovators have accepted the challenge posed to them by the Federal Government to not stell as the African leaders but compute globally.

“The recent successes are the fruit of policies we put in place to ensure our Startups walk shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. Under President Muhammadu Buhari, the federal government appreciates the outstanding exploits of startups in the country, which are helping to create jobs, fast-track economic development, and also winning awards and grants amounting to millions of naira,” he concluded.

This year’s LEAP brought together breackthrough innovative ideas and emerging developments in technology under one roof. A landmark technology event that galvanised public and private organisations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Five startups were crowned as category winners, and the sixth, Plastus Biotech, ascended to victory and held the LEAP 2023 Award for the best overall startup. All of this took place in front of seasoned judges, angel investors, tech experts and government stakeholders from around the world!

The six awards divided the startup entrants by size, scale, impact on society, amount of funding, years in business, and a number of employees. Judges for the competition include Ghazal Alagh, Co-founder, of Mamaearth and Judge, Shark Tank India, Baroness Karren Brady CBE, Vice Chairman of West Ham United Football Club, James Caan CBE, entrepreneur, businessman, investor, and former Dragon on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, and Steven Bartlett, entrepreneur, investor, podcaster, and current Dragon on BBC’s Dragons’ Den.

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370 bag PhD, 180 first class as BUK holds 38th convocation

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

The Vice Chancellor of Bayero University Kano (BUK), Professor Sagir Adamu Abbas, has said that during the 38th convocation of the BUK commencing Tuesday over 11,284 students will graduate, while 180 students will be graduating with First Class Honours.

KANO FOCUS reports that 370 postgraduate students are graduating with PhDs and 3,770 are going out with Masters degrees.

This was just as the university would award honorary doctorate degrees to the Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, and the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adeshina, to complement their efforts in supporting their community and the nation at large.

Professor Abbas, disclosed this on Monday while briefing journalists on the preparations for the forthcoming convocation.

Management staff of Bayero University Kano

According to him,” This year the university is introducing a stager’s convocation, aimed at ensuring that every student feels the impact of his graduation.

He maintained that this year the university is graduating a total of 11,284 students, which would cut across different faculties and departments.

He, however, disclosed that the richest man in Africa, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, would deliver a lecture with the title ” The Role of the Private Sector in Building a Sustainable Economy in Nigeria.”

He further disclosed that “the convocation would commence with 6 faculties: Agriculture 307, Art and Islamic Studies, Education, Law, and Pharmaceutical Sciences and that this year’s convocation would be done with a pampered”.

Speaking further, Prof. Abbas hinted that the university currently has 379 professors teaching at BUK, with 18 faculties and 16 research centres.

BUK is now ranked 5th in Nigeria based on a ranking body based in the UK. It ranked fifth after Covenant University, the University of Ibadan, the University of Lagos, and Ekiti, all based in the South West. So, by this, BUK is leading in 5 other regions: South East, South-South, North West, North East and North Central

According to him, the BuK had a breakthrough in research on the sex of date seed, which has increased the farming capacity of the date in Jigawa State from 45 per cent to almost 80 per cent.

The BUK also recorded another giant stride in a breakthrough in the E-Motive at the Centre of Excellence, Africa Centre of Excellence—Population and Policies, ACE-PAP. It saved 60 per cent of maternal mortality.“

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NPFL: Kano Pillars beats Sunshine Stars 5-1

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

Kano Pillars Football Club on Sunday thrashed Sunshine Stars of Akure 5-1 in the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League match.

KANO FOCUS reports that the match day 21 which was played at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kofar-Mata, Kano, was watched by a large crowd.

Mustapha Ibrahim scored a brace with goals in the 48th and 52nd minutes, while Rabiu Ali, Auwalu Malam and Umar Shehu scored a goal each in the encounter.

The visitors scored a consolation goal in the 82nd through a penalty.

Speaking after the match, Chief Coach of Kano Pillars, Audu Maikaba, commended his players for what he described as an excellent performance.

“You know every match comes with its challenges, and we always take it as it comes. Today’s encounter was interesting and our boys played well and thank God we won the game,” said Mr Maikaba.

He assured that the team would perform better in its subsequent matches.

The coach explained that the team had put modalities on ground to win its upcoming away match against Katsina United.

On his part, Assistant Coach of Sunshine Stars, Ifeanyi Nwachukwu, said his team tried their best but lost to a good side.

“It is unfortunate that we lost the match but that’s football, you win some you lose some. We are going to work hard to cover up our lapses in our next encounter,” he said.

Kano Pillars now have 36 points from 21 matches, occupying third position on the table.

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EFCC arrests 11 suspects accused of selling new Naira notes in Kano

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

Operatives of the Kano Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have arrested 11 suspects for their alleged involvement in the sale of new naira notes for commercial purposes.

KANO FOCUS reports that the suspects were arrested on Monday, February 19, following fruitful intelligence that un-masked a syndicate of fraudsters operating along Lagos Street, adjacent to the Central Bank of Nigeria, Kano.

A statement published on EFCC Facebook said the syndicate allegedly specialized in selling naira notes.

It added that five members of the syndicate were arrested with new naira notes being sold to the public. Six bankers who were alleged to be selling the naira notes to the sellers on commission were also arrested.

The statement noted that the suspects will soon be arraigned in court upon conclusion of the investigation.

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