Heritage Bank Plc has launched its innovation accelerator programme tagged, “HB LAB” 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/Intermediation, agriculture and other related problems affecting critical sectors of the economy.
The application portal hblabs.com.ng which was launched on the 31st January 2019 closed on the 14th February 2019.
About 154 applicants who applied were reviewed and 24 of them scored above 60, whilst the final selection will produce seven successful applicants, from which the winner will emerge.
Managing director and chief executive of the bank, Ifie Sekibo, speaking on the HB LAB explained that in Nigeria, technology startups still account for a relatively small share of all businesses, but they have an outsized impact on economic growth, because they provide better-paying, longer-lasting jobs than other startups, and they contribute more to innovation, productivity, and competitiveness.
He disclosed that the team with the most compelling solution will be awarded a $25,000 grant alongside access to workspace and IT 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 are Fintech, agriculture, education, digital, security and power, whilst noting that the application requirements include names, age, gender, contact number, home and email addresses of the participants.
Meanwhile, for participants who have previously enlisted to participate in any entrepreneurial/innovation programme with a current website or demo reference point, were expected to discuss idea/solution not more than 140-character limit.
Also, such participant discussed problem statement (not more than 140-character limit), ideation/solution stage (not more than 140 characters), target market (Max 150 words), any challenge(s) faced requiring professional intervention (Max. 150 words), introduced its team (Max 150 words) and upload business plan