Applications Open for NSIA Innovation Prize for Startups, Entrepreneurs & Innovators ($220,000 prizes to be won)

The NSIA Prize for Innovation (NPI) is sponsored by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) with the aim of promoting innovation in Nigeria’s digital ecosystem and supporting locally developed solutions that can contribute to socio-economic development.

The NPI is specifically designed to foster and assist creativity within the digital ecosystem, providing funding for early-stage solutions that have the potential to drive significant economic growth, enhance the nation’s productivity, and generate employment opportunities.

By identifying, nurturing, and harnessing the untapped potential of innovation and technology, the NPI seeks to accelerate economic growth, increase the nation’s productive capacity, create jobs, and promote sustainable resource management.

This initiative is intended to encourage and support indigenous ingenuity within the digital sector, providing financial backing for novel ideas that have the potential to deliver cost-effective, scalable, and transformative outcomes not only for Nigerians but also for communities worldwide.

The NSIA has made a long-term commitment to empower aspiring Nigerian innovators through this program, aiming to stimulate the growth of the digital economy. The program will consist of a four-stage competition, culminating in the selection of ten (10) finalists who will receive various prizes.

Application Requirements
One of the founders must be a Nigerian Citizen

Applicants must be 18 years or older

Applicants must be running Innovative tech-focused or tech-enabled startups

The startup should have operated for not less than six months and operating in or within Nigeria

The startup should be looking to raise a seed round

The startup should have developed a minimum viable product (MVP)

Applicants must be willing and able to commit to a 10-week fast-track accelerator programme

Only one application is permitted per applicant irrespective of the sector. Subsequent applications will be disqualified

Top 3 winners will have a pre-set valuation for their startups as indicated below

1st Place Winner – up to $3m
2nd Place Winner – up to $2m
3rd Place Winner – up to $1m
The startups of the top 10 finalists must be registered in Nigeria
Target Sectors:

The programme will focus on technology-enabled startups in the following sectors:

Financial Services
Logistics & E-mobility
E-commerce & Marketplaces

NSIA Prize for Innovation Evaluation riteria

The committee responsible for evaluating the entries will consist of five individuals, including industry experts and a representative from NSIA. To ensure transparency, an independent auditor will oversee the submission and review process. The evaluation will be based on the following criteria:

1. Novelty of Approach:
What sets your innovation apart from others? How does it bring something new, unprecedented, or progressive to the table?

2. Impact:
How does your innovation address real-world challenges, not only in Nigeria but also in communities worldwide? Which sectors does it cover? Consider factors such as revenue enhancement, cost reduction, time to payback, operational enhancement, membership and growth retention, digital engagement, and security enhancements. Providing metrics to support your claims is advantageous.

3. Product Design:
Evaluate the engineering, functionality, aesthetics, and overall design of your product. Consider how well it meets user needs and expectations.

4. Scalability:
Assess the potential for growth, expansion, and product-market fit. Can your innovation attract capital and talent? Does it have the potential to capture a significant market share?

5. Proposed Methodology, Approach, and Implementation Plan:
Examine the innovative approach proposed. Ensure a clear understanding of the problem being addressed and how your solution is cutting-edge. Evaluate how your innovation will advance new solutions in the selected sector.

6. Sustainability, Environmental Impact, and Risk Plan:
Consider the sustainability plan for your startup beyond winning the prize. Demonstrate how the prize money will be used as seed money to support the growth of your startup. Evaluate the strategy for managing environmental impact and mitigating risks.

7. Strategy:
Assess the clarity of your innovation goals and objectives. Ensure a clear connection between the identified issues and the proposed methods. Evaluate the proposed implementation plan using the SMART criteria: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timeframe-oriented.
Benefits for Finalists:

1. The top 10 finalists will have the exclusive opportunity to participate in a fully-funded, intensive 5-week training program at a prestigious US university located in Silicon Valley. This program will provide invaluable knowledge and skills to enhance their entrepreneurial journey.

2. Finalists will also have the chance to pitch their innovative ideas to angel investors, opening doors for potential funding and partnerships. This exposure to investors will greatly contribute to the growth and success of their ventures.

3. The finalists will receive nation-wide recognition and media attention through NSIA (National Startup Innovation Awards). This will significantly boost their credibility and visibility within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

4. Finalists will benefit from extensive promotion through various social media channels, reaching a wide audience and creating awareness about their innovative solutions.

5. Their achievements will be showcased on the NSIA/NPI website, further enhancing their reputation and providing a platform for networking and collaboration with other industry leaders.

6. Finalists will enjoy strategic advertisement in NSIA publications, including the highly regarded annual report and sustainability reports. These publications have a global circulation, ensuring widespread exposure for their ventures.

7. As a winner or runner-up of the NSIA Prize for Innovation Award, finalists will be honored with a prestigious 2024 NPI Recognition Plaque. This plaque serves as a symbol of their exceptional achievements and recognition within the innovation community.

8. Finalists will have the privilege of using the official Innovation Award logo on their product packaging and advertising materials for a period of one year. This logo will further enhance their brand image and credibility, attracting potential customers and investors.

These benefits collectively provide finalists with a unique platform to accelerate their entrepreneurial journey, gain global exposure, and establish themselves as leaders in their respective fields.

NSIA Prize for Innovation Programme Stages

Pre-selection Stage:
In this initial stage, innovators are required to submit their applications through the designated application portal. They are expected to provide comprehensive details about their digital products/services and business models.

Accelerator Stage:
Following the pre-selection stage, the top 100 finalists will embark on a one-month virtual training program. This will be followed by an intensive in-person bootcamp, specifically designed for the top 25 finalists. To identify the most promising candidates, a mini demo day will be organized, where the top 10 finalists will be selected.

Demo Day:
During the highly anticipated demo day, each of the 10 finalists will be given a specific timeslot to present their pitch to a panel of judges. These esteemed judges will carefully evaluate the submissions and rank the winners from 1st to 10th. The event will attract a diverse audience, consisting of both local and international technology industry experts and investors.

Post Demo Day:
After the demo day, the top 10 finalists will have the incredible opportunity to participate in a fully-funded, 5-week in-person training program at a prestigious US university located in Silicon Valley. Additionally, they will also have the chance to pitch their ideas to angel investors, aiming to secure additional funding and gain global exposure.

BONUS: An exclusive opportunity awaits the finalists to secure additional investment and global exposure by presenting their ideas to angel investors!

NSIA Prize for Innovation Prizes

There will be ten (10) winners who will be awarded different prizes. The top three (3) winners will be granted a combination of cash and equity to assist their startups. They will receive funds in a ratio of 75:25, consisting of equity and cash, in return for a share in their company. The exact stake will be determined after a valuation. Additionally, the top ten (10) finalists will have the chance to participate in a fully-funded, 5-week training program at a prestigious US university located in Silicon Valley. This program will provide them with valuable knowledge and skills. Furthermore, they will also have the opportunity to present their ideas to angel investors and gain international exposure.

The NSIA Prize for Innovation
The NSIA Prize for Innovation

How to Apply

For more details and to apply visit the official website
Deadline March 3rd, 2024

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