As announced by smepeaks, the USPF Changemaker Challenge 2018 took place from 25th to 27th of January 2019 at Kanem Suites, Utako Abuja, where selected team members were to finally pitched tech-driven solutions they had been working on for 48 hours.
The challenge is a nationwide competition open to young innovators, software developers, User Experience (UX) designers, students and other ICT enthusiasts from all over Nigeria with the aim to empower youths by challenging their tenacity to create technology-driven solutions for the needs of their communities and the nation at large.
Officials say there were over 500 applications from across the country within the six weeks application window but only 14 teams made it to the national finals.
It is often said that the future of any economy depends on how many new businesses it can generate particularly within the small business and start-up segments. This is the idea behind the establishment of the USPF changemaker challenge, a unique hackathon designed to solve a number of issues confronting us as a Nation.
Real Media, a young consulting business co-founded by Nwosu Oluebube, a 19-year old undergraduate from the University of Lagos, pitched a new tech-based product his team has had in mind for less than a month called “Placesandservices”.
Thanks to the hackathon, the Real Media team was able to develop a prototype that won first place at the 2018 Changemaker Challenge, organised by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), an arm of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Placesandservices is an online marketplace for event-based solutions and low-cost housing. It’s primary focus are the low and middle income earners as well as small-scale brands, Oluebube tells smepeaks
During the 48-hour period, participants were encouraged to develop disruptive solutions in line with the theme ‘Disrupting Legacy Ecosystem’. Different teams swung into action by building fully working prototypes of their solutions through specific technical guidelines.
In the end, three teams emerged winners namely;
1st Prize Winner (₦1,000,000)
2nd Prize Winner (₦750,000)
Team Xavier clinched the second prize with their product Beza X. Team members were Ogunranti Adebayo and Samson Okubanjo.
3rd Prize Winner (₦500,000)
The third prize winner was team iNeeds. A product developed by Nwosu Isochukwu, Mfonobong Umondia David, Jideofor Ochiabutor Chuka and Peter Cynthia.
The final decisions were reached by a panel of seasoned judges comprising of Kolapo Solesi, Managing Partner, Abridge Consulting; Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr., Co-founder, GoDo.ng; Chioma Agwuegbo, Founder, TechHer; Adetunji Obakeye, IT Professional; Deji Olarinre, Co-founder, Hullnet, Aisha Amoka, Founder, Makifa Network and Moses Malan Faya, Technology Lawyer, all with diverse experiences that helped guide the various teams until the winners emerged.
Selection was made based on a number of criteria such as marketing viability, ease of implementation, go-to-market strategy, needs analysis as well as communication skills.
According to the Secretary of the Universal Service Provision Fund, (USPF), Ayuba Shuaibu, “the Innovative ICT Solutions and Entrepreneurship Development (IISED) project is one of the initiatives of the Universal Service Provision Fund which provides platform for ICT start-ups to create fully working prototypes of ICT solutions capable of deepening ICT penetration in Nigeria while creating employment for the young ICT entrepreneurs”.
Since inception in 2015, the USPF Changemaker Challenge 2018 seem to have been fulfilling its essence and paving the way for the birthing of more business ideas, which would hopefully add value to the economy.
Besides the funding, all winning teams will undergo incubation programme by NCC through the USPF.