NOGTECH: 5 tech teams emerge winners of $50,000 grant

Five innovative teams were at the weekend picked as the winners of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Technology (NOGTECH) Hackathon sponsored by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

The teams are Fuel Intellisense, Homefort Energy, Gricd Mote, Kiakia Gas and Airsynq and their projects were picked as the most innovative and bankable by judges, after the 15 semi-finalists made presentations on their innovations. The three-day Hackathonstarted on Thursday withthe teams having detailed engagement with industry experts, mentors and entrepreneurs.

Each of the five winning teams was given a cheque of $10,000 equity-free grant and they will proceed to participate in a 3-month incubation programme during which they will get workspace, expert mentors, global partners and market access to the nation’s oil and gas industry, ensuring they become commercial and investor-ready.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote announced at the closing of the programme in Lagos that the Board will support the five firms in their product development phase, drawing from the $50 million Nigerian Content Research & Development Intervention Fund.

The Board’s support he said, will go into helping the companies get patents for their innovations and produce prototypes, supporting them to conduct field trials, business start-up as well as provide industry linkages.

He however confirmed that the Board’s funding would depend on the success of the product incubation phase, stressing that “the goal is to fund bankable businesses, not charities.”

He explained that thesponsorship of the NOGTECH Hackathon is within the Board’s mandate, hinting that section 70 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act empowers “the Board to engage in targeted capacity and capability development interventions and conduct studies, research, investigation, workshops and trainings aimed at advancing the development of Nigerian Content.”

Wabote counselled the five winning teams to be clear about their vision and strategy and retain their passion, stressing that their motivation should not be on making quick financial gains, rather on innovating solutions, making a difference and contributing to the society.

According to him, “All the greatest inventors, particularly in the technology space did not start by looking for money as the objective. They started because they wanted to make a difference and create a change. The prize money is not the key factor. It was meant to bring people together.”

“Once you have passion in anything that you do, you will be successful. But once you put money first, you will be chasing money and it will be running away.”

One of the winning teams is Fuel Intellisense, a project that will help fuel stations to get accurate data and avoid loss of revenue through syphoning underground fuel or stealing of fuel from different outlets.

The project proposes to install a system that can be viewed remotely from anywhere, showing how much fuel was dispensed per day and what is left. The system will be installed on existing pumps and tanks.

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