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Five Nigerians shortlisted for Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

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FIVE Nigerians are among 16 talented entrepreneurs selected from nine African countries for the 2021/2022 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.

The Nigerians are: Adekoyejo Kuye, inventor of an off-grid cold storage solution for farmers to store and sell fresh produce without relying on the electrical grid; Virtue Oboro, who created foldable photo-therapy cribs that treat jaundice in newborns; and Mariam Eluma, founder of an online free-cycle platform where users can upload unwanted or unused items in exchange for virtual currency with which to purchase other goods.

Others are: Oluwatobi Oyinlola, maker of an outdoor workstation—a solar-powered space where students can connect to WiFi and off-grid electricity; and Femi Taiwo, creator of an online platform that connects users to freelancers, so small business owners can find and safely outsource key skills such as coding and accounting.

“Once again we have received an inspiring calibre of applications for the Africa Prize. This year’s shortlist demonstrates how technology can be used to drive development from a grassroots level, and we look forward to supporting these innovators in expanding their impact across Africa,” said John Lazar CBE, FREng, Africa Prize judge.

Now in its eighth year, the Africa Prize is run by UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering. It awards crucial commercialisation support to African innovators who are tackling local challenges with scalable engineering solutions aimed at improving quality of life and economic development.

For the first time, half of the 16-strong shortlist are women, including the first woman from Ethiopia to be shortlisted for the prize. Other countries represented on the list are: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, The Republic of the Congo, Togo and Uganda.

This year’s programme will be offered as a digital experience, with intensive support provided through one-on-one and group sessions. Where possible, sessions may also be held in person following which four finalists will be selected and invited to pitch their improved innovation and business plan to the judges and a live audience.

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A winner will be selected to receive £25,000, and three runners up will receive £10,000 each. An additional One-to-Watch award of £5,000 will go to the most promising innovator, as selected by the live audience.

The prize has a track record of identifying engineering entrepreneurs with significant potential, many of whom have gone on to achieve greater commercial success and social impact.

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