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Thursday 3rd December, 2020

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Innovation

Paylink Sponsors UI SME Fair, Provides Digital Empowerment

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Paylink, an e-commerce platform that empowers businesses to showcase their products and services online and get paid instantly, has partnered with the University of Ibadan (UI) to sponsor the premier institution’s Small and Medium-scale Enterprise Fair (UI SME Fair) which would hold at the International Conference Centre of the university on Thursday, November 12, 2020.

This disclosure was made recently when authorities of the university announced plans for the event which, among others, would foster a robust town-gown relationship between the university and the SME community.

The event also offers participating SMEs varied opportunities which include the discussion of specific business issues with SME coaches and mentors, interaction with business and product researchers as well as guidance on intellectual property protection.

The UI SME Fair, now in its second year, would further expose small and medium scale businesses to how they can better leverage digital platforms like Paylink to more easily expose their products to local and international markets, make it more convenient for customers to pay them through multiple channels, and help them better manage inventory, invoicing and revenue tracking.

“As an organisation committed to the development of the Nigerian economy, we are always ready to partner to help bring to fruition the dreams and aspirations of Nigerians, especially millions of SMEs spread across the country.

“This is evident in our previous partnerships with organisers of similar SME-focused initiatives like Lagos SME Bootcamp and the Social Media Week Lagos,” said David Okeme, Division Head, Vertical Markets and Payment Applications at SystemSpecs, providers of Paylink.

“It is, for this reason, we are glad to collaborate with the University of Ibadan on the hosting of the SME Fair especially at a time like this that the national economy needs to be rebuilt and accelerated following the slowdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Okeme added.

Themed “Co-create the Future”, the 2020 edition of the UI SME Fair follows the inaugural edition last year which featured hundreds of SME owners and managers, researchers, representatives of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, financial institutions, Industrial Trust Fund and government.

The event’s keynote will be delivered by the managing director of Nigeria’s Bank of Industry, Kayode Pitan.

In a statement signed by the university’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor responsible for research, innovation and strategic partnerships, Professor Olanike K. Adeyemo, the event would “showcase SMEs in order to inspire research direction/focus of the University Community” and also “establish a web-based platform (UISME-HUB) to moderate the collaborative network between the SMEs and the University of Ibadan.”

While participation is free, SMEs interested in attending and showcasing their product and service offerings at the fair can register via the website for the organisers, sme.ui.edu.ng.

The 2020 UI SME Fair would be streamed live on Paylink’s Instagram account, PaylinkNG, as part of SystemSpecs’ support for SME capacity development and digital empowerment.

 

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Innovation

Obaro Lists Ways Innovation Can Transform Businesses

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John Obaro, MD SystemSpecs

There have been increased calls for innovation in Nigeria in order to maximise the opportunities presented by digital transformation.

This is as the integration of digital technology in businesses continue to grow, and essentially changing how businesses operate and deliver value to their customers.

John Obaro, a renowned Nigerian ICT expert and Managing Director of foremost African technology company, SystemSpecs said digital transformation is the process of using technologies to create new or modify existing business processes, culture, and customers’ experiences to meet dynamic business and market needs.

Obaro, who spoke at the recent virtual retreat organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Information Technology (IT) department, said more businesses have identified digital technology as a potential driver for growth and sustenance, especially after the pandemic.

He added that innovation in digital transformation as reflected in the successful emergence of SystemSpecs, a 28-year old technology company, has helped the firm evolve from a 5-man software firm to an African technology giant with ground-breaking solutions including Remita, HumanManager, and Paylink.

“Our innovation is business-led as it remains at the core of our operations. This implies that we continually evolve by adopting and harnessing tailor-made technology solutions to solve problems.

“We also ensure that we hire the best talent with top-notch competence and skills that can be inculcated into the business for growth and sustenance,” Obaro added.

He charged Chief Information Technology Officers (CIOs) to up their games as they are expected to keep the organisation’s infrastructure running and support business processes in line with present-day technology.

“To facilitate a successful digital transformation, the CIO must have clear objections, as well as take the front seat in driving organisational change, and ensure that relevant stakeholders are involved to achieve such set goals,” he added.

On issues mitigating digital transformation, Obaro said employee pushback, lack of expertise, rigid organisational structure, and lack of a digitisation strategy can be tackled by regular sensitisation of staff, having an organisational structure that supports innovation, implementing changes in phases, and operating with a defined budget.

According to him, Nigeria’s large youthful population constitute a strength that must be maximised coupled with the adoption of emerging technologies – AI, robotics, machine learning – to achieve digital transformation.

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Innovation

Two Nigerian Tech Startups, 13 African Others Emerge Finalists For Space Tech Challenge

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Photo: Ventureburn

Fifteen African early-stage tech startups, including two from Nigeria, focusing on the African space industry have been selected to progress in the next step of the prestigious Space Tech Challenge

The two Nigerian Startups that made it to the nest stage of the Challenge are FieldDev and Agro Data.

FieldDev is an agribusiness-focused geographic information system (GIS) mapping provider that manages and maps data of smallholder farmers’ and transforms them into virtual geo-clusters through geospatial analysis.

Agro Data, on the other hand, optimises tropical farming through technologies.

Hosted by multiple partners including the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and ZA Space Ince, the Space-Tech Challenge aims to develop early-stage tech startups that are aimed at empowering Africa through space-tech innovation, according to a report in Ventureburn.

The challenge has defined space tech as a set of applications that use earth observation, gather information about the physical, chemical, and biological systems of the planet all via remote-sensing technologies.

As the African space-tech sector is a rapidly growing industry, the challenge’s objectives are to develop the selected participating startups into sustainable companies and develop the continent’s geospatial readiness.

This will in turn allow African businesses to service the continent’s demand for geospatial intelligence.

The finalists of this challenge will undergo a two-week business development support programme and pitch their innovations to a panel of expert and industry representatives judges.

Each participant will go head-to-head for a spot in the Top 10 winners.

The overall winner will be awarded a SecureWatch Premium 5GB valid for three months and to the value of $12 500.

Second and third place will be awarded SecureWatch Premium 2GB valued for three months and is valued at $5 000.

In addition, the winners will receive a four-month incubation and virtual mentorship along with access to a peer-to-peer network via the TechTribe.

Lastly, the selected winners will have the opportunity to pitch their unique idea to a MAXAR representative.

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Innovation

Plentywaka Expands Ride-Hailing Service Into Delta State, Launches WakaCab In Asaba

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Plentywaka team

Plentywaka, the first bus-hailing app in Nigeria, has announced the launch of WakaCab, a new car-hailing service with fully-trained drivers for commuters within Delta State starting with Asaba.

In an ambitious move to tackle Southern Nigeria’s limited transport links, the transport startup has broken into the hotly-contested taxi-hailing space to deliver a technology-based service for local commuters.

Building on the success of Plentywaka’s popular bus-hailing service, WakaCab can be booked for personal and shared rides on the company’s app, which is available on Google Playstore and the IOS App store.

The company said in a statement that for commuters in Asaba and later in Warri before Christmas, the new launch of WakaCab eradicates the need to locate a taxi at one of the major roads such as Okpanam or Nnebisi Road, making commuting in and around the city much easier.

Irrespective of their location, riders can select a driver within a one to a five-kilometre radius, be issued a QR code which is scanned upon entering the vehicle and make payments via cash or Plentywaka’s e-wallet system, Wakapurse.

Plentywaka’s President and Co-Founder, Johnny Enagwolor said “Expanding the Plentywaka brand into Delta State with a car-hailing service, after launching in 2019 is a testament to our success and the importance of staying true to the vision.

“But it also shows our commitment to solving the issues of transport in Nigeria, and that does not necessarily mean a one size fits all approach to each state.

“We recognised that there was a large shortfall in a private car and technology-driven services compared to the other states we operate in, therefore, the proposition had to be different for Asaba and Warri.”

As part of the company’s launch into Delta State, Plentywaka will also introduce its Plentywaka Vehicle Partnership (PVP) scheme to the city, which allows users to register their vehicles on the Plentywaka app and earn over N250,000 per month.

Similar to the Uber-style model, users also have the opportunity to earn an income as drivers on Plentywaka’s PVP scheme; providing they pass the company’s official training scheme and vehicle inspection.

DigitalTimesNG understands that alongside its move into Asaba, Plentywaka will also extend its car-hailing service to the state of Warri, marking the latest push in a spree of activity which has seen the company recently announce a partnership with Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) as well as attract over 45,000 customers to its platform, despite only launching in September 2019.

Throughout the course of 2020, the platform has diversified its business model to tackle the challenges of the global pandemic and its transition into the car-hailing space is another example of the company’s willingness to adapt to its surrounding environment.

Earlier this year, Plentywaka also introduced Logistics by Plentywaka and Staff Bus Solutions in direct response to the challenges of COVID-19, showcasing the company’s flexible approach to the movement restrictions caused by the pandemic.

 

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