BY TOM JACKSON
Seven Nigerian startups have been selected to take part in the COVID-19 Innovation Challenge, aimed at developing solutions to mitigate the rapid spread of the virus.
Launched earlier this month by Ventures Platform and the Lagos State Science and Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC), the innovation challenge offers training and funding to startups with solutions with the potential to tackle the novel coronavirus.
More than 500 applications were received over a period of six days, with 33 projects selected to submit a video pitch. Fifteen then pitched virtually to a panel of seasoned judges, before the final seven were chosen.
The selected startups include Wellvis Health, which offers solutions that promote primary care; Prunedge, which develops innovative solutions to improve the efficiency of processes; Infodemics, which uses existing social hierarchies in a community to efficiently and effectively communicate health risks; and Wellahealth, a digital triage bot.
Completing the cohort are MyServiceAgent, an AI-powered intelligent IVR system; Innover Technologies, which has developed a project named COVID-19 Nigeria; and CmapIT Analytics, a GIS and data visualisation software that helps to analyse geospatial data and visualise it.
Each selected startup will receive a US$2,000 equity-free grant and the opportunity to access further funding, as well as access to virtual workspace and mentorship. They will take part in a five-day virtual bootcamp to help them finalise solutions and launch, while each startup will have access to three mentors. At the end of the programme the startups will present their solutions to the public.