Two Nigerians shortlisted for Africa engineering innovation prize

TWO enterprising Nigerians, Aisha Raheem and Victor Boyle-Komolafe, have been shortlisted for the 2020 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.

Awarded by the United Kingdom (UK)’s Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation rewards bold African innovators growing scalable engineering options to local challenges.

Currently in its sixth year, the Africa prize for Engineering Innovation aims to stimulate, celebrate and reward innovative engineers from across the continent.

Aisha Raheem, a strategy consultant, created the Farmz2U software, which helps farmers and families prevent food waste and enhance nutrition by using tech solutions.

Victor Boyle-Komolafe, a chartered accountant, developed Garbage In Value Out (GIVO), which automates and digitises the collection, processing and sale of recyclable materials.

Ms Raheem and Mr Komolafe were among the 16 engineers and entrepreneurs shortlisted for the prize from across six countries in Africa.

According to the academy, the 16 innovators will benefit from a unique package of support over the next eight months to help them accelerate their businesses.

This includes comprehensive and tailored business training, funding, mentoring and access to the academy’s network of high-profile, experienced engineers and business experts in the UK and across Africa.

After the eight months of support, four finalists will be selected to pitch their improved innovation and business plan to a group of judges and before a live audience.

The winner of the pitch will be awarded £25,000, while the runners-up will each be awarded £10,000.

This year’s shortlist includes innovations disrupting essential industries for economic development, such as energy and agriculture. They range from a containerised system that uses burning biomass to preserve crops, a quick and accurate probe to measure humidity in grains, a set of apps that help prevent food waste, a heat storage system that allows rural schools to cook food quickly and easily without firewood, facial recognition software to prevent financial fraud, and an anti-bacterial soap that makes use of discarded crop waste.

There are also a number of innovations to improve energy access, such as a solar grid management system that helps users manage energy use remotely.

The list also includes a water filtration process that uses waste like bones and coconut shells to provide safe drinking water without expensive equipment, and a set of digital and hardware tools to control the collection, sale and shredding of recyclable plastics.

Alumni of the prize are projected to impact over three million lives in the next five years and have already created over 1,500 jobs and raised more than $14 million in grants and equity.

The other selected innovators are Jack Oyugi, Aquaprotein (Kenya); Charlette N’Guessan, Bace API (Ghana); Catherine Tasankha Chaima, Cathel (Malawi); Adrian Padt, DryMac (South Africa); Timothy Kayondo, Eco Water Purifier (Uganda); Bernice Dapaah, EcoRide (Ghana).

And Isaac Sesi, GrainMate (Ghana); Josephine Godwyll, Lab and Library on Wheels (Ghana); William Wasswa, PapsAI (Uganda); David Tusubira, Remot (Uganda); Samuel Rigu, Safi Organics (Kenya); Justine Abuga, Solar Jiko (Kenya); Tracy Kimathi, Tree_Sea.mals Mini-Grid (Kenya).

“For six years we have been humbled to work with African entrepreneurs who use engineering to shift how we think about problems, developing disruptive technologies for everything from energy and agriculture to housing, transport and finance,” said Rebecca Enonchong, Africa Prize judge and Cameroonian entrepreneur.

“These are the local entrepreneurs who are transforming Africa, and we are once again honoured to guide and learn from the brightest minds chosen for the Africa Prize shortlist.”

Boyle-Komolafe’s Garbage In, Worth Out (GIVO) app automates and digitises the assortment, processing and sale of recyclable supplies.

GIVO is utilized by communities, governments or waste administration entrepreneurs who wish to host a waste assortmet centre in a selected space. As soon as registered as a GIVO assortment level, waste collectors carry the plastic they’ve collected to that centre. The GIVO app tracks how much waste is collected and determines its value.

The GIVO platform, among other things, tracks every stage of the recycling process. Consumers can also see, in real time, a lot inventory at every waste assortment centre in the nation; drivers can log the variety of luggage they’re transporting, and payments can be made and tracked.

Raheem’s Farmz2U calculates what number of seedlings the farmer ought to get, what fertiliser and pesticides to make use of; and offers coaching guides and video clips for crops. Farmers can also discover places where there may be demand for their products, observe orders and invoices, and discover storage places.

Farmz2U also offers customers information on financing, insurance coverage, and climate.

The judges and mentors include Malcolm Brinded, president of Engineering UK; Rebecca Enonchong, AppsTech founder and CEO; Mariéme Jamme, founder SpotOne Global Solutions and co-founder Africa Gathering and John Lazar, investor and tech startup mentor.

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