COVID-19: Why NCC initiated Virtual Hackathon 2020 – Dr. Nkemadu

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The Director, Research and Development, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, on Tuesday emphasised that technology plays a key role in economic growth and sustainability of the modern world economy especially with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Nkemadu spoke at the occasion of the presentation of grants to winners of Digital Solutions Hackathon for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said the need to harness the potentials of technologies to address the societal challenges and meet the people’s unique needs has now become very important.

According to Dr. Nkemadu, it is also a national aspiration to spice some of these technologies with local content as a way of improving the availability of local manpower, and advancing ICT skills.

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“It is for this reason that the Commission initiated the NCC Virtual Hackathon 2020, in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, to challenge Nigerian Startups, Technology Hubs and Innovation Digital SMEs to come up with adaptable digital solutions for addressing the present and future impacts of Pandemic and Epidemic diseases in Nigeria.

“The Hackathon was designed to engage the Startups to compete in a healthy manner in such a way as to improve our innovativeness.

“Innovators should think laterally about challenges and identify resilient, fit-for-purpose and scalable solutions to real societal problems.

“Technology has provided solutions to the challenge of weak public systems by providing solutions to most of the challenges in education, health, financial, agric, sectors etc.

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“When we advertised and called for entries to the Hackathon, a total of 298 submissions were received from Startups.

“After the first and second level preliminary assessments based on the pre-established selection criteria, 56 of the Startups qualified for the final stage of the Evaluation Processes.

“A very competent team of Evaluators drawn from relevant Departments in the Commission worked assiduously to recognize excellence and select groundbreaking innovative solutions from Startups and Tech Hubs capable of mitigating the challenges posed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and beyond.

“Out of the fifty-six (56) Solutions from different Startups that participated in the Virtual Hackathon, three (3) winning solutions were identified through a painstaking evaluation process that threw up the overall first, second and third bests Startups with the most promising and adaptable solutions.

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“The winning Startups will today receive a cash prize but most importantly, the Commission through the Research and Development Department will continue to support flourishing innovations by creating the right regulatory interventions to help Startups and tech-hubs in Nigeria.

“Beyond prize-winning, we congratulate every Startup who participated in this competition. We have no doubt that the experience gained will provide all of us with the opportunity to retool and re-engineer our innovative skills for a better future for our businesses and our nation.

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