The Nigerian agricultural sector, achieved yet another milestone as tech giant, Microsoft, in collaboration with Sterling Bank, NITDA and TedPrime Hub has announced three agro-digital solutions as winners at the just concluded Microsoft Agro-Tech Hackathon.
The grand finale, which was held at the Microsoft Office, Lagos Nigeria featured 10 solutions by 27 Nigerian youths from Abuja FCT, Benue, Enugu, Jos Kaduna, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo and Sokoto.
The winning digital solutions: Sell Harvest, Farmsquare and Farmers’ Market were announced as first (with N2.5M), second with (N1.5M) and third position with (1 Million Naira) respectively by Sterling Bank after rigorous pitch rounds and product testing reviews by season experts and independent jury drawn from Agriculture, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Research and Development sectors.
The National Hackathon which commenced on March 2022 with the ultimate goal of designing digital solutions that bolster value chain in agriculture and connect thousands of farmers to end-product users together for the next decade was designed by Microsoft in partnership with Sterling Bank and NITDA.
Speaking at the opening session, the Microsoft Country Manager Nigeria and Ghana; Olatomiwa Williams in her Keynote reiterated the position of Microsoft in harnessing the potentials of African youths to support the continent by raising thousands of home-grown Start-ups in critical sectors as envisioned by Microsoft.
“Microsoft will support 10K startups in Africa with an aim to develop 200 Unicorn / Sunicon is the next 5years,” Olatomiwa said.
The Group Head, Agric & Solid Minerals Finance of Sterling Bank PLC, Mr. Olushola Obikanye in his presentation, expressed his delight on the new milestone in the Nigeria’s agricultural sector through a robust digital transformation framework as one of the five pillars of Sterling Bank’s approach to National Development outside its core banking services.
In his remarks, Mr. Ahmad Bature who represented the Director-General, NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE noted that sustainable innovation and creativity among the young people of Nigeria remains the heartbeat of the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency.
“The Director-General has approved the sum of N3,150,000 to support the remaining top 7 finalists with exclusive access to NITDA-Deployed IT Hubs across the country including the National Center for AI and Robotics, Abuja and NITDA-coordinated programs for Start- Ups post Hackathon ”Mr. Bature announced.
While the winning team, Software Chasers, expressed their delight on their winning and product development experience, “Muhammad Mukhtar, Albany Muhammad, Sa’adu Abubakar said,“ It has been an interesting journey with wide experience from varying degrees of virtual sessions, engagements. and supports from TedPrime Hub to all teams that participated. We see this as a milestone for Sell Harvest app in our next phase of the journey post Hackathon.
Giving a detailed account of the event, the Director of Administration and Global Partnerships of TedPrime Hub (Microsoft Partner), Odeogbola Ayodele, affirmed that the 3-month hybrid Hackathon has been a rewarding one for over two thousand youths selected from the pool across Nigeria. through innovative virtual Skill-up sessions on Technology and Microsoft Cloud Services, emerging issues on Agricultural value and supply chain processes, Start-up ecosystem and idea scaling, product testing and now to the final round.
Microsoft Agro-Tech Hackathon is an innovative competition that engages Nigerian youths from different backgrounds across Nigeria as agric experts, software developers and entrepreneurs to collaborate and curate digital solutions that transform the agricultural sector at scale as well as platforms connecting farmers to end product users.