On Friday, August 2nd, 2013, barely 16 weeks after Information Technology Developers Entrepreneurship Accelerator (iDEA) launched its first pilot Incubation Centre in Lagos, the second Pilot Centre in the programme was launched at the Tinapa Knowledge City in Calabar, Cross River state.
The event kicked off with a a 42-hour app building hackathon in 27 contestants, who came from different parts of the country, were grouped into 10 teams to build a software application of their choice. The hackathon was facilitated by the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON).
The team that emerged as winners developed a software called Le-Media, an app that allows you to combine learning with entertainment. They were presented with N450,000 cash prize and three Nokia Lumia phones during the launch of the centre.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman Governing Board of iDEA, Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman said, “Our goal is to catalyse the ICT industry by helping Nigerian ICT entrepreneurs create successful businesses; support the interactions between software entrepreneur and their partners; and act as hubs of innovation that support the development and maturity of a local software economy. We are setting up the first venture capital fund in conjunction with private equity investors to be solely focused on ICT businesses.”
While addressing attendants at the event, the Executive Governor of Cross River state, Senator Liyel Mokel, reiterated the state’s commitment to the development of ICT by fully supporting the iDEA initiative. He pointed out that some of the richest people in the world are the techies, citing Bill Gates, Steve Job and Mark Zuckerberg as examples.
Dignitaries at the launch event included the Executive Governor of Cross River state, Senator Liyel Imoke; his deputy, Mr. Efiok Essien Cobham; the Honourable Minister of Communications Technology who was represented by the Acting Director-General of NITDA, Dr. Asiru Daura, Hon. Nkoyo Toyo, a member of the Information Technology Committee of the House of Representatives, the iDEA Chairman, Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman, the Post-Master General of the Federation, Ibrahim Mori Baba; Managing Director of High-Tech Data Systems (iDEA Implementation Consultants), Engr. Chinedu Okoli; iDEA Programme Manager, Mrs Helen Anatogu as well as the President-General of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Dr. Chris Uwaje.
In his address, Dr. Daura observed that the centre in Tinapa was a convergence of three visions – the Ministry of Communications Technology, the State Government and NITDA. He observed that as the implementing agency, NITDA is committed to the success of the centre and has backed up that commitment through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with iDEA.
iDEA is an acronym for Information Technology Developers Entrepreneurship Accelerator. Its purpose is to help Nigerian entrepreneurs create successful businesses. It provides essential support to entrepreneurs to build software skills. iDEA is the brainchild of the Minister of Communications technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson and is being implemented by the National Information Technology Agency, NITDA through its consultants, High-Tech Data Systems Ltd. More at iDEA.ng