Mr Mimshach Obioha, the Executive Director of Ventures Platform Foundation made the remarks during a news conference in Abuja with relevant stakeholders including Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), U. S. Embassy, Bureau for Public Procurement, amongst others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that VPH is a leading source of capital, capacity building, support and advocacy for under-served entrepreneurs, communities and institutions, enabling them enhance the creation of wealth and development in Africa.
Obioha said that the foundation had launched a COVID-19 Innovation Challenge at the advent of the pandemic for entrepreneurs in the country.
“The innovation challenge was borne out of the need to support entrepreneurs who have found sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing problems in the continent.
“We believe that wide-scale job creation is key to unlocking economic prosperity in Africa.
“To create the jobs that Africa needs, we decided to back innovative entrepreneurs building scalable businesses that solve problems and create value for the world enabled start-up.
“So, the advent of the coronavirus pandemic was an opportunity for us to prove this concept and we decided to search and engage young entrepreneurs to find solutions and support the NCDC in the fight against COVID-19,” he said.
Obioha said the response the foundation got was amazing, adding that they received over 500 applications from across the country.
“We initially started out with the goal of giving out 1,000 dollars each to five companies to proffer five solutions.
“However, due to the overwhelming support we received from our various partners, we were able to expand the programme and gave out 6,000 dollars to seven companies as start-ups,” he said.
Miss Tracy Okoro, the Partnerships Manager, Ventures Platform Foundation said the COVID-19 Innovation Challenge was an opportunity for the foundation to support the NCDC in its efforts to curb and curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
“For us at Ventures Platform Foundation, we are creating inclusive and sustainable wealth in Africa by building the capacity of African Entrepreneurs and Innovators leveraging technology to create sustainable solutions to the most urgent problems on the continent.
“So, we saw the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to partner with relevant stakeholders to help the Nigerian populace that had been ravaged by the coronavirus.
“This we did by equipping entrepreneurs and innovators with relevant skills, mentoring and support they need to create lasting solutions which are workable to use during the pandemic,” she said.
Okoro expressed her gratitude to all the various stakeholders, partners and mentors for their support, adding that without them none of these would have been possible.
“We were able to implement this programme with the support of our various partners, including the U. S. Embassy, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), NCDC, the Lagos State Government to mention a few.
“Alot of these credible partners helped us to raise funds, mentorship support, coaching support and rallied around us to make sure this project was a huge success,” she said.
NAN also reports that among relevant stakeholders at the media parley were Lorraine Ujam, the Head of Information systems/ICT, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Mr Nwani Olinze, a CVE Grants Management Specialist with the U. S. Embassy.
Others were Aliyu Aliyu, Head Regulation and database, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and Ikharo Attah, Chairman, FCT Task force on COVID19 Enforcement. (NAN)