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Monday, January 17, 2011

Social Innovation camp provides home grown solution – Tijani

THE Managing Director, Co-Creation Hub Nigeria, the organizers of the Social Innovation Camp, Mr. Bosun Tijani, has called for home grown solution to the social problems confronting the nation.

Tijani, who was speaking at the weekend, in Lagos, during the first edition of the camp, lamented that most of the solutions imported from abroad do not meet the nation’s every need.

He said the Social Innovation Camp was created to groom local talents who have solutions that are web-based or via mobile on how to confront the social challenges of the people in all spheres of the nation.

“We want to empower Nigerians to find solutions to the day to day problems we face as a country. We tend to always depend on solutions coming from abroad and while some of them are good, they do not always meet all our need. We can think of ourselves as change agents, and the interesting thing is that there are a lot of Nigerians with great ideas on how to solve some of these problems but what we lack is the enabling environment,” he said.

He said 46 ideas were received out of which six were selected; from which three would emerge eventual winners.

“We invited people who have ideas which they think can be used to solve these social problems, but for now we limited that to ideas that can work on the internet, which is web or via mobile. It could be any idea, whether solving health or governance issues, education, and youth employment. We got 46 ideas, six were selected and out of the six three winners would emerge,” he said.

Highlighting on the process, Mr. Femi Longe, also of Co-Creation Hub, said 60 professionals from different walks of life would determine if the ideas can impact the people; if it is sustainable and viable as well as the entrepreneurial skills of the proponent.

“If you develop an idea that is social and cannot sustain itself, in a couple of months the company would die. These 60 experts are divided into six teams to work on the ideas,” he said.

He said apart from the prize money which is N500,000, N300,000 and N200,000 for the first, second and third positions respectively, they have invited venture capitalists who invest in businesses.

“For instance, we have someone here from Ireland who is here to scout and understand some of these businesses to see if they are worthy of investment and if they are they would be talking with the owner on how they can collaborate to take them forward,” he said.

On her part, the President and Founder, Growing Businesses Foundation, Dr. Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, lamented that with the alarming population of unemployed people in the country, budding entrepreneurs can take advantage of the project to become employers of labour.

Nnoli-Edozien who would also act as one of the judges, commended the organizers of the projects for targeting the youths essentially.

Also speaking, the Managing Director, Accion Microfinance Bank, Mrs. Bunmi Lawson, said access to technology should be a basic human right of the people.

“The camp provides the youths with the opportunity to be another Facebook and providing indigenous innovative solutions to the nation’s problems,” she said.

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