By Nwakaego Alajemba
Nigeria will be showcasing 20 established ICT companies and startups in its Country Pavilion at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) scheduled to hold this October in Dubai. The country will also be represented inside the pavilion by sister agencies that include the telecoms regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and the country’s investment driver, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).
The Nigerian Pavilion is being promoted by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) which is consolidating on the country’s successful appearance last year as the Official Country Partner to GITEX 2014. More than 145, 000 participants from about 120 countries attended last year’s GITEX expo.
To further enlighten local stakeholders on the benefits of the country’s participation, the NITDA held a GITEX Prep Forum recently in Abuja where the Director General of the NITDA, Mr. Peter Jack, said Nigeria would leverage on the theme of this year’s event ‘The Internet Future of Everything’, to promote some of its budding innovators who have created solutions with strong market or commercial values. The innovators cut across sectors across including the retail industry, agriculture, education, security, oil and gas, and health care.
“We want to ensure promotion of local start-ups, projection of the country’s vast and untapped Information Technology potential, organisation of Nigeria’s IT Investment Forum within the Nigerian Pavilion as well as distribution of IT intelligence material from Nigeria to the rest of the world at GITEX,” said Mr. Jack at the Prep Forum.
“Nigeria should be able to leverage on this platform not only to create awareness on ICT and its non-oil sectors but also to expand the level of international collaborations for its startups and already established companies,” said President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Lanre Ajayi.
“GITEX is not about you buying space or setting up as an exhibitor or trade visitor, the question is whether you think it’s time to take your business global. Business has to be both local and global, that is where GITEX can help you leverage on its global networks to build interest in your enterprise and also to endear foreign partners to your business,” said Commercial Director at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), Mr. Bilal Al Rais. The DWTC are the organisers of GITEX.
The NITDA first took Nigeria to GITEX in 2013 in collaboration with the DWTC’s partnering organisations: Pinnacle International Consulting LLC and Knowhow Media International (KMI). Last year as Official Country Partner, it successfully mobilized the support of the global stakeholders to its ICT Investment Forum leveraging on the support of the Nigerian Foreign Mission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.
The exhibiting companies include: the NITDA, Nigerian Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), a professional, non-profit, non-political umbrella organisation of all telecommunications companies of Nigeria.
Others are Nigeria’s first indigenous computer company, Data Sciences Nigeria Limited; indigenous software development company, Precise Financial Systems (PFS) Limited; system developers and system integrators, Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited; and Sasware, an investment subsidiary of Signal Alliance that provides seed fund for technology and technology-enabled start-ups and those in their growth phase. The list also include: Chams Plc, reputed as the first home-grown company to be listed in Guinness Book of World Records, for setting up the ChamsCity Mega Digital Mall and also the first Computer Technology Company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the Smartcity innovation Hub; Rlg Communications, an ICT company that started in Ghana but with strong presence in Nigeria, the Gambia, China, Dubai, Kenya, South Africa, Angola, and Rwanda; and multi-services communications company, SKtel Nigeria Limited.
The startups list features: Hutbay, a real estate solution developed to help consumers make smart real estate decisions throughout the full lifecycle of owning and living in a home. It is available on Windows and Android play stores for download. Hutbay is a listing platform that connects with local agents, movers, estate owners, customers and mortgage marketplace; Verge, a software service (SaaS) retail management solution for multi-store retailers. Verge helps clients identify critical cash leakages in the business as well as other operational inefficiencies and recommend steps to mitigate them by connecting and analysing critical business data across your outlets; and Medrep.ng, an e-Commerce and logistics solutions provider for pharmacies and hospitals. With Medrep hospitals and pharmacists can now procure drugs, medical equipment and consumables from multiple manufacturers and distributors at the best offered price.
Other startups on the Nigerian startup list for Gitex 2015 include: Blubird which was designed and developed with the sole aim of providing African business owners (small and medium enterprises) an affordable and easy to use retail management platform to effectively manage their inventory, sales, supplier and customers through an all-in-one platform (software + hardware) that is energy independent.Blubird is an all-in-one-platform that consists of an innovative retail management app running on a 10.1inch android tablet plus a mini thermal receipt printer and 2D barcode scanner. The entire platform is energy independent and once fully charged is able to run in the retail/wholesale outlet for 6-8 hours. The bluebird app runs on Windows and Android platforms.
The startup list also has Truppr, a social startup that provides a platform for a vibrant community of fitness enthusiasts to connect with events and people around them to help make regular exercise a lifestyle. It is a one-stop-shop for finding and booking sport venues in cities around the world. Truppr simplified process of organizing amateur sporting events and teammates. It is an easy way to find mates / fitness partners even while on a business trip or in a new city. Others are the cribpark.com marketplace an online platform which simplifies the experience of intending home owners so they can buy any housing product, from trusted sellers, at best prices, and free delivery; the Foodstantly, which is a Mobile-Web Marketplace for Food. It enables restaurants; fast-food, caterers, farmers and food vendors set up shop and sell online to Millions of Customers as well as facilitate delivery to customers.