The Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) has won the top prize in the maiden edition of Nigerian Content Science and Technology Innovation Challenge (STIC) sponsored by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
The team emerged the best among the six finalists at the grand finale held at the Nigerian Content Tower in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, taking home the star prize of N10 million.
The CRUTECH team known as Team DC worked on Solar Element Stove. The team which included Victoria Effiong and Paul Agbor produced a stove will ensure renewable, environmentally friendly, and cheaper fuel for cooking.
Apart from the prize money for the winning team, NCDMB will also award N20million investment towards the development of a research and development centre in their institution.
Team Quester of the University of Jos emerged as the first runner up, having designed a Hydroponic system of growing food indoors without soil and won N4million, while Team Ted of the Federal University, Makurdi came third with a noiseless, fuel-less electric generator to provide alternate power source, and went home with N1.5million.
Other finalists included teams from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Anchor University, Lagos and Tai Solarin University of Education, Ogun State.
In his keynote address, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote said the STIC was initiated to fill the missing gaps in research and development, innovation, and local manufacturing in the country.
He explained that the Board developed the programme with the aim of encouraging students of accredited Nigerian tertiary institutions to apply science, technology, and innovation to finding brilliant home-grown solutions to everyday problems across all sectors of the economy.
In his words, “This challenge is aimed at engaging, developing, showcasing, supporting, and awarding deserving students, lecturers and universities who excel and have bragging rights when it comes to technology development “.
Wabote pointed that the ENACTUS-STIC is one of the Board’s platforms to encourage talented Nigerian youths to showcase their resourcefulness and innovative abilities towards developing home-grown technologies and solutions to solve Nigeria’s challenges.
He noted that the Board will sponsor the six finalists to the the UNICORN Incubation Campus in Lagos to further refine their innovations into compelling business, hinting that innovation held the key to national development.
In his remarks, the country coordinator, ENACTUS Nigeria, Michael Ajayi described STIC as a strategic enterprise development programme designed to challenge undergraduates of all accredited Nigerian tertiary institutions to stretch their ingenuity, and apply science & technology to create home-grown, innovative, technology-driven, and smart/digitalized solutions that address critical problems facing our society, economy, and country at large.
As part of the competition, the participating teams demonstrated their functional prototypes, especially how their proposed innovation works to solve identified problems and how the innovation will continually create opportunities for job and wealth creation if accelerated and transformed into business ventures.
The dedicated online portal for the competition, www.stic.org.ng, was opened from November 19, 2020 until January 31, 2021. Five hundred and eleven entries were received from undergraduates in 129 tertiary institutions across the 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory.
To ensure ease of management, three zones were designated for the contest: Northern region, Eastern/Southern region and Western region.
After entries were submitted, a panel of 63 individuals from diverse fields, ranging from business development to information technology, business strategy and social enterprise development committed over 156 man-hours to select the best five teams for three major regions designated for the contest.
The five institutions that came tops from the Northern region included University of Ilorin, Kwara State; University of Jos, Plateau State; Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State; Federal University Dutse, Jigawa State and Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto State.
From the Eastern/Southern region are Cross River University of Technology, Cross River State; Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State; Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo State; Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State and Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State.
Also, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ogun State; University of Ibadan, Oyo State; Yaba College of Technology, Lagos; Anchor University, Lagos and Babcock University, Ogun State, were selected from the Western region.
Each of the 15 universities in the competition was represented by two undergraduates and a faculty guide. Each team received ₦500,000 to develop functional prototypes of their ideas. Subsequently, the 15 teams moved on to compete at the regional finals, which held at the University of Abuja for the Northern zone; NCDMB Towers, Yenagoa, for the Southern/Eastern and Covenant University, Ota, for the Western regional competitions.
During the in-person regional final competitions, the teams were challenged to demonstrate their functional prototypes to the panel of judges. Their task was to show how their proposed innovations would solve identified problems, create jobs and wealth, if supported and transformed into business ventures.
The six teams that participated in the final emerged from the 15 groups that competed at the regional finals. They had also undergone a four-week mentorship programme and one-week boot camp where seasoned business development, marketing and communication professionals worked with NCDMB and Enactus Nigeria to review and enhance the teams’ business plans and transform their ideas into sustainable business ventures.