As part of activities to mark its 100th anniversary this year, Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s most-respected financial institutions, has announced a partnership with Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) to launch its Centenary Innovation Challenge. The launch was announced at a press conference held at the bank’s Head Office on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.
Building on the Bank’s 100th anniversary theme to ‘Celebrate, Impact and Lead’, the Centenary Innovation Challenge is an initiative that will impact Nigeria by unearthing and supporting innovative ideas for addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in entrepreneurial ways.
The objective is to discover innovative, technology-driven ideas that will address critical social and business challenges in Nigeria. Proposals are therefore welcomed from university students, software developers, academics and entrepreneurs from across the six geopolitical zones and interested participants should visit the Challenge website - unionbank100.com/challenge – for details.
Speaking at the launch, the Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa, stated that one of the core values of the bank is innovation; and just as innovation has been a key driver in enhancing customer experience for the bank, it is also relevant in solving social challenges.
“We are committed to being at the leading edge of innovation, with emphasis on enhancing customer experience and driving social innovation. As we lead our institution into the next century, we will reinforce who we are; corporate citizens that drive true impact in our communities in the course of doing business.”
“We believe that if private institutions and individuals can come together to tackle social problems in a sustainable way, there will be a great economic upside for everyone involved. One of the ways we are doing this is by launching the Centenary Innovation Challenge in partnership with Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB), Nigeria’s leading innovation hub” he concluded.
Speaking with the press during the launch, Lola Cardoso, Head of Group Corporate Strategy, Union Bank, emphasized on the Bank’s focus on sustainable citizenship and it’s aspiration to be recognized as a socially driven and responsible bank.
“Our approach to corporate citizenship helps us leverage on our heritage as a strong financial institution to support local efforts aimed at achieving sustainable development and driving social change. For the past two years, our approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has focused on three strategic pillars – financial inclusion, agriculture and talent development.”
“This competition, our Centenary Innovation Challenge, focuses on addressing the SDGs while also aligned with the three strategic pillars we have identified as a bank. Specifically we are focusing on agriculture, education and financial inclusion for the Challenge – these are areas we are committed to creating significant impact and establishing our leadership” she said.
In his key note address, CEO and Co-founder of the Co-Creation Hub, Bosun Tijani spoke positively about the Hub’s partnership with the Bank. He said “Based on our work over the past 7 years, we have seen that there are very few credible platforms to leverage on to build sustainable businesses in Nigeria. This partnership with Union Bank for the Centenary Innovation Challenge is important to us, especially in implementing platforms that can help us provide solutions for our communities and the country as a whole”.
“Over 98 per cent of the support we get as a Hub is derived from outside Nigeria and this relationship with Union Bank is our first with a Nigerian financial institution. Clearly, this is a commitment we appreciate and we want other reputable institutions to emulate,” he concluded.
Reverse. Brain. Drain.
The value of remittances in supporting the broad economic development of a nation is of great significance, and it’s said to be the most tangible and least controversial link between migration and development.
However, the effectiveness of remittances has been argued, in that it does not compensate for the loss of human capital. The brain drain conundrum has puzzled many countries for decades, but there has since been a shift in discussion from seeing the diaspora as a loss, but as an opportunity, not just for inbound remittances, but also trade, investment projects and new knowledge; thus reversing brain drain.
Reversing brain drain doesn’t necessarily require emigrants to physically return to their country of heritage, but rather to harness their intellect and leverage their network in order to be a significant source of impact. Scientific and technological innovations are important sources of new solutions in health, environmental and developmental challenges. The CcHUB Diaspora challenge aims to engage scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators from the diaspora community in the UK to source scalable business solutions to social challenges in Africa, thus not only providing financial remittance but also social remittance.
This exciting new project will be launched on Saturday 6th May 2017 at Facebook, 10 Brock Street, Kings cross London, NW1 3FG, and will have in attendance high profile professionals from various industry sectors. We are delighted to also announce a special guest performance from Bez. The closing date for submissions is Friday June 30th.
Spaces at the launch event are limited so make sure you register for an invitation here and join the conversation using #CcHUBdiaspora #ReverseBrainDrain
Delivery Science co-founder, Chuka Ofili is hosting a two-day masterclass for developers from March 24 – 25, 2017, at the Co-Creation Hub, 294 Herbert Macaulay way, Yaba, Lagos.
DevOps with Chuka will teach participants how to build and deploy highly scalable fault-tolerant applications based on a micro-service architecture. Some of the modules that will be covered at the masterclass include:
- Brief overview of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
- Using Git and Git workflow
- Setting up a development environment, with Google tools (Minikube, Kubernetes, Docker)
- Continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI & CD)
- Setting up a production environment, with Google tools (GKE, Kubernetes, Docker)
- Implementing Deployment pipelines (Jenkins, Circle CI)
- Centralised logging and monitoring
- Service discovery
Who should attend this?
- Technical team leads
- Senior technical staff
- Serious backend developers.
Chuka Ofili is currently the Co-Founder & Chief Enterprise Architect of supply chain technology startup, Delivery Science with a career in software development that spans 14 years, starting in 2003 when he occupied the role of CEO/Software Architect at Microsmart Solutions Ltd.
This is an opportunity to tap into Chuka’s numerous years of experience as he expounds on how to setup a production grade toolchain. Google Developer Ecosystem Program Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Aniedi Udo-Obong will also be around to speak about Google Products.
DevOps, with Chuka is supported by CcHUB, TechCabal, Paystack, INITS, BudgIT, Hotels.ng, Delivery Science and Google. The masterclass is totally free, but there are only 30 slots available. So if you’d like to be a part of this, quick! Apply here.
From today, an innovative new way for audiences to interact with BBC News is available to try with the African-designed pilot: “BBC Newschatta“.
BBC Newschatta is a chatbot developed by Nigerian technology company Codulab
This chatbot is a service for mobile phones which generates news stories based on the users’ input, using keywords and topics to send relevant news stories to them via the WeChat Messenger app.
This pilot was developed following an open submission process by BBC Connected Studio and the BBC World Service at an event in Lagos in February 2016. Similar events have previously taken place in Kenya and South Africa, from which ideas have been developed into live products.
A second pilot idea from the Lagos brief was also selected to go into development – named “Timerail”. The idea is to curate big news stories using multiple sources, which can then be presented to users with a compelling mix of content navigable by time and relevance. Nigerian company, Isoventurian, designed the user experience for this pilot, and user research has led to more targeted clustering of tagged content. A working prototype is expected later this year.
Dmitry Shishkin, BBC Digital Editor, World Service Languages, says: “BBC World Service continues to harnesses local tech expertise in Africa that allows us to keep innovating with new formats, platforms and content distribution models, specifically targeted at young audiences through mobile. Before coming to Nigeria we successfully collaborated with tech hubs and start-ups in Kenya and South Africa, bringing live products from both locations, and I am thrilled that the trend continues in Lagos. Given the massive editorial investments that the BBC is making in Africa, it’s important that digital innovation is a crucial part in that process.”
Stanley Ojadovwa, Product Developer at Codulab, adds: “Newschatta is a chatbot that provides news content in a more personalised manner to young people across Africa. The aim is to deliver the latest news contents to users in a timely and interesting way that fits into the users’ current daily digital routines. Newschatta is targeted at young people in Africa aged between 16 and 34, living in urban areas. This audience has a high mobile use, not just for calls and social networking purposes, but for other aspects of their life such as emailing, banking, playing games and reading news.”
These collaborations form part of the BBC’s objective of increasing its global audience to 500 million by 2020. Similar briefs have been launched across Africa and Asia, with new services and tools having been launched and others currently in development. Recent BBC chatbot activity included a Newsbot from Spanish-language service BBC Mundo, which allows users to find and share BBC news content in an easy to use and appealing way.
How does it look?
What does it look like?
Users select topics or keywords via the WeChat Messenger App and will then see curated news stories based on these choices for them to read and share.
What is the best thing about Newschatta?
This tailored content and app make for a cost-effective way for users to be served global news, sport and entertainment content. The target audience are young Africans, and the bot makes use of the existing platforms they are used to.
Newschatta can be accessed around the world. As well as being accessed through WeChat, the app collects news content from across the BBC. The aggregation and tagging is made possible using BBC Juicer – a tool created by BBC News Labs, which takes in news sources from across the globe and automatically tags specific topics.
Over the years, technology in Africa has spanned beyond what it used to be and the interest in the technology scene in the continent has grown tremendously, with Lagos at the center of attraction for some of the most renowned international investors. From the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to Google Ventures, Seedstars World and YCombinator, there’s been a magnetic pull towards the exploration of the local tech scene in Nigeria.
Now we are set to welcome 500 Startups’ Geeks on a Plane – an exclusive group of startups, investors, tech junkies and executives touring the world to learn about evolving technology demands worldwide. They will be touring Africa in March and will be in Lagos, Nigeria from March 19th 2017 to March 23rd 2017. 500 Startups would be bringing a number of tech insiders to Lagos, Nigeria through the GOAP (Geeks on a Plane) initiative.
Silicon Yaba – home to some of Nigeria’s newest, biggest and fastest growing tech companies and popularly known to be the Nigeria’s version of Silicon Valley, is organizing a three-way conversation between itself, Silicon Valley, and the wider ecosystem. Silicon Yaba Veterans will sit with Silicon Valley Insiders to discuss challenges, and share war-stories in overcoming these issues.
This would be in a unique town hall-style setting and the agenda would be to take a critical look at two of the most important areas, essential to local ecosystem-building – Infrastructure and Talent Growth.
The event is set to explore the possibility of building a functional infrastructural framework that can ensure rapid improved access (connectivity, mobility, services) for teeming Nigerians everywhere in order to preserve the early successes of the tech ecosystem. It is also aimed at confronting the problem of growing a pool of talent that can snowball the local tech ecosystem while exploring other existing opportunities to develop this talent pool.
The event, set to be attended by top startup reps and tech veterans in Nigeria as well as some of Silicon Valley’s finest is aimed at building an important bridge to foster key learning’s exchange for both ecosystems, from which stronger bonds of understanding can be built.
Event Date: Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Venue: Co-Creation HUB, 6th Floor, 294 Herbert Macaulay Road, Yaba, Lagos.
Time: 11:45 am – 02:00 pm
NB: There are only 10 Open Eventbrite Community spaces (hand-picked from reservations). For more information on how to register, visit https://siliconyabatownhall.eventbrite.com