Heritage Bank Plc says it has adopted a focused approach that removes barriers and spurs the critical sector of the economy to grow with the introduction of its innovation accelerator programme tagged, ‘HB LAB’.
In a statement, it said the maiden edition of HB LAB was a 12-week programme, expected to provide technology startups with enabling environment, resources and support required to innovate and accelerate impactful solutions with the potential to radically improve financial inclusion, agriculture and other related problems affecting critical sectors of the economy.
The application portal, which was launched at the end of January 2019, closed recently, it stated.
The bank said about 154 applicants who applied were reviewed and 24 of them scored above 60, while the final selection would produce seven successful applicants and the winner would emerge.
Speaking on the HB LAB, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Ifie Sekibo, observed that in Nigeria, technology startups still accounted for a relatively small share of all businesses, but had an outsized impact on economic growth because they provided better-paying, longer-lasting jobs than other start-ups, and they contributed more to innovation, productivity, and competitiveness.
He disclosed that the team with the most compelling solution would be awarded a $25,000 grant alongside access to workspace and Information Technology infrastructure for solution testing and development for a defined period.
According to him, the HB Innovation Lab Programme is open to product development teams and technology-driven startups across Nigeria.
Sekibo stated that the critical areas of focus were financial technology, agriculture, education, digital, security and power.
He noted that the application requirements comprised names, ages, genders, contact numbers, home and email addresses of the participants.
Participants who had previously enlisted to participate in any entrepreneurial/innovation programme with a current website or demo reference point, were expected to discuss idea/solutions not more than 140-character limit.
It added that such participants discussed problem statement (not more than 140-character limit), ideation/solution stage (not more than 140 characters), target market (maximum of 150 words), any challenge(s) faced requiring professional intervention (maximum of 150 words), introduced its team (maximum of 150 words) and upload business plan.