Four Nigerian tech startups at the weekend secured a total of N37 million to take their products to the next level at the grand finale of Wema Bank’s Hackaholics 4.0.

A health-tech startup that helps women manage breast cancer, IRETI, won the N15 million cash prize for the best-pitched business, while GRIP, a fintech startup won N10 million as the first runner-up and Trakka won N7 million as the second runner-up.

Also, Outsidee won N5 million for the Women Led Award, a prize instituted to support women in tech.

With the funding, the founder of IRETI, Jane Agbaohwo, said the startup would now be able to reach out to women in urban communities and also women in rural communities in partnership with NGOs to raise more awareness about cancer.

Three universities also won the Wema Bank Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics endowment fund. They are Babcock University N10 million; Afe Babalola University N7 million and Nile University won N5 million respectively.

Support for the tech ecosystem

Speaking at the grand finale of the Hackaholics, which was held alongside a Digital Summit on Friday, the MD/CEO of Wema Bank, Moruf Oseni, said a unique blend of traditional banking expertise, and technology embedded deeply in the bank’s system has afforded them the opportunity to support the growth of the tech ecosystem in Nigeria.

“We also recognize that any economy that is serious about sustainable economic and social development must pay serious attention to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Entertainment and sports have put Nigeria on the global landscape in a positive light, but they cannot help to predict technology and infrastructure deficits that will see Nigeria achieve its true potential,” Iseni said. 

Also speaking, the Executive Director of Retail and Digital Business at Wema Bank, Tunde Mabawonku, said that the digital summit transcends boundaries to unite digital innovators, visionaries, and industry leaders from across Nigeria.

According to him, the theme for this year’s Hackaholics, ‘Re-imagine: Disrupting the Ecosystem for Scale’, encapsulates the very essence of the bank’s innovation program.

“It’s all about harnessing the collective potential of startup founders to redefine the boundaries of what’s possible in the digital age”. “It embodies our sheer belief in a world where change is only constant. Our ability to reimagine and disrupt the status quo is what sets us apart,” Mabawonku said.

Opportunities for founders 

Presenting a keynote address at the event, the founder and CEO of Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola, said that events like Hackaholics 4.0 can provide valuable opportunities to founders who are leveraging technology to solve both local and global challenges.

He commended Wema Bank for creating structures to support innovation in the fintech ecosystem.

The ten finalists for the Hackaholics 4.0 are IRETI, GRIP, Trakka, Outsidee, Chao, Raptor, Pup Industries, University-X, Naijabox, and MumAlive.

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