Heritage Bank in collaboration with Innovation and Partnership has empowered technology-driven start-ups.
The support followed three months of mentorship programmes.
This was unveiled at the grand finale event of the maiden edition of the Heritage Bank Innovation Lab Accelerator programme (HB-LAB) tagged, ‘Demo Day’ that took place in Lagos recently.
The Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, who spoke during the demo presentation of the start-ups to a panel of judges, said the bank knew it was in the best interest of the country to pay attention to the development to the technology and industrial sector.
According to him, “the future of the country is in the hands of its youth, so we have to pay attention to developing their minds so that they would be able to solve problems the country is struggling with.” “We did not leave out the importance of financial seeds for every business which is why we have granted the winning start-up the sum of N10 million whilst the second place is granted N5 million,” he added.
Continuing, Sekibo said, “Newly starting up a business is part of the most difficult stage of the business, you would need to source for capital and manpower. Considering the fact that you are a new business those items are not so easy and cheap for you to acquire.
“However, the presentations we have seen today shows how gifted Nigeria is with human resources, our youths have demonstrated that the country still has a beautiful future.
“I am impressed with the start-ups, after six weeks of drilling and grooming they have been able to develop up to this point; everyone is a winner tonight as far as I am concerned.
“Based on the success of this maiden edition we are going to continue this initiative, we would go back to our laboratory and create something bigger for the upcoming editions.”
When asked what he felt about Artificial Intelligence being used in banks, he explained: “Technology has been playing a key role towards enhancing the banking sector. Thus, we saw the need to create an Artificial Intelligence product called Octopus, which has been piloted and its second edition is almost ready for launching.
“We see the upsides to making use of such innovation to provide better customer experiences which is why we went as far as getting a team to create the Artificial Intelligence Product we named Octopus.”
On his part, the Co-founder TREP Labs, Abdulwaheed Alayande, said, “Emerging as first place and winning the ten million naira is going to help the growth of our clinical solutions.
“Now we would be able to complete our clinical trials, optimise our products development and also provide enough healthcare solutions that are battling with the country.”
Earlier, the bank’s Divisional Head Innovation and Partnership, Ikenna Imo, explained: “Twelve weeks ago we welcomed seven talented and diverse start-ups, at that time our intentions were clear that we were ready to create distinctive propositions that solves issues facing the country currently.
“Today, I have no doubts that the start-ups we have assembled after a selective and competitive process have what it takes to accomplish that.
“As Landlord to these businesses, I can say they have been very good tenants.”