Money Africa Financial Services has emerged as the winner of the 2023 Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Prize for Innovation programme.

The company won the award after a rigorous pitching session involving 10 companies and tech entrepreneurs.

The pitching session, tagged Demo Day, was held in Lagos on Saturday. The inaugural 2023 NPI programme was witnessed by top officials and organization in the technology and financial services eco-system, including the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Inuwa Abdullahi; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NSIA, Aminu Umar-Sadiq; and Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman.

While Money Africa was named the overall winner of NSIA Prize for Innovation with $25,000 cash award, Extension Africa came second with $17,500 cash award. LegitCar won the third place with $12,500 cash award. Seven other  tech firms that came fourth position won a cash prize of $5,000 each.

The seven winners are: Capsa, Yalo Technologies, CreditChek, truQ, Vella Finance, Apace Technology Solution and Kobopay Technologies.

Shortly after receiving the award, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Money Africa, Oluwatosin Olaseinde, appreciated the management of NSIA for coming up with the initiative, saying the scheme would enhance innovation, boost business and economic growth.

Commenting, NSIA managing director, Umar-Sadid said technology represents a key sector for the growth and aspirations of the agency given its capacity to solve real-life problems, unlock a significant amount of borderless opportunities, create jobs, and support the overall growth of an economy.

He said over 2,000 firms and individuals had submitted entries for the programme.

According to him, the objective of the programme is to identify, build, and finance early-stage innovative solutions that have the potential to catalyse economic growth, advance solutions to social issues, and create jobs.

He said, “Since we announced the NSIA Prize for Innovation, we have received many entries, each of which attests to the limitless spirit of innovation that abound in every nook and cranny of Nigeria. The entries are as niche and as multifaceted as can be.

“Although this programme rewards winners with a sum of $255,000, the real impact extends beyond the cash awards or event. Our core strategy of attracting third-party capital will result in many of these innovators securing funding from financiers far and wide. NSIA has demonstrated its ability to crowd-in incremental capital from global funding partners to address infrastructure needs across sectors.”

The NITD DG, Inuwa, while lauding NSIA management for the laudable idea, urges the tech entrepreneurs be courageous and passionate about their projects.

NSIA partnered Deloite Nigeria, V8 Capital and others in the project.  The panel of judges include the CEO of Future Africa, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji; the Director, Google, Juliet Ehimuan; CEO, Outsource Global, Amal Hassan, Founder of Moniepoint, Tosin Eniolorunda; and CEO, Co-Creation Hub, Bosun TIjani.

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