Budgetier Emerges Winner at Startup Friday Uyo; Unicorn.ng and Touchabl Pictures Follow Closely

Budgetier, an app that generates estimated budgets for events and projects pitched by Damilola Omoyiwola won the pitch challenge tagged “Facing the Squirrel” with a prize of N300,000, at the just concluded Startup Friday event, held on March 9, at the Emerald Event Center, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. 

DG/CEO NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami presenting award certificate to Budgetier founder, Damilola Omoyiwola.

Unicorn.ng, an online Bitcoin trading platform by Precious Chukundah got the second prize of N200,000 and Touchabl Pictures, a picture identifying AI based mobile app by Gabriel Eze came third with a prize of N100,000.

DG/CEO NITDA Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami presenting the certificate of award to Unicorn.ng
DG/CEO NITDA Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami presenting the certificate of award to Touchable Pictures

While presenting certificates to the winners, the DG of National Information Technology Development Agency NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami congratulated the winners and advised startups to be resilient and be ready to embrace setbacks and failure with an open mind and determination to succeed against all odds.

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami DG NITDA

He shared the vision of Startup Friday and its aim to mentor and support young people to create innovative solutions and startups. “At the StartUP Friday, Akwa-Ibom, the aim is to spark up the entire spirit of the youth”. He said.

He disclosed the agency’s plan to set up a Digital Job Creation Centre in Government Secondary School, Afaha, Eket Local Government Area, and encouraged the young people in the state to take advantage of the opportunities provided by ICT.

In his addresses, the Governor of Akwa-Ibom State His Excellency, Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel who was represented by the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Prof Nse Udo Essien, thanked NITDA and OIIE for bringing Startup Friday to Uyo and emphasized the commitment of the state to ICT development “As a state we want ICT to lead in all aspects of governance” he said.

Prof Nse Udo Essien Akwa-Ibom State Commissioner for Science and Technology

Also speaking, the National Coordinator, Office of ICT, Innovation and Entrepreneurship OIIE, Dr Amina Sambo-Magaji, said by hosting Startup Friday “we hope startups would be able to engage investors and sign agreements with them” she said.

Dr Amina Sambo-Magaji National Coordinator OIIE

There were two fireside chat sessions – “Your journey as a techpreneur” and “Creating a thriving regional tech ecosystem” both moderated by Hanson Johnson, CEO of Start Innovation Hub.

Fireside chat: Your journey as a techpreneur
Fireside chat: Creating a thriving regional tech ecosystem

Ten startups pitched at the ‘Face the Squirell’ session. They include:

Budgetier – an app that generates estimated budgets for events and projects.

Unicorn.ng, an online Bitcoin trading platform.

Touchabl Pictures – a picture identifying AI based mobile app.

Electronic Esusu – a fintech startup that plans to reach the 59% of unbanked adult Nigerians.

iPharm.ng – an online pharmacy that provides 24 hour drug information and dispensing as well as home delivery.

Afroage – an online marketplace to buy, sell and publish list African books, arts and crafts.

Packado.net – an online outsourcing startup.

AlkebulanCash – a continental cryptocurrency platform for Africa.

Nroute.ng – an online booking platform that allows users choose their preferred means of transportation.

Talentbox – an online platform for talent discovery.

Panel of judges for the pitch challenge

Startup Friday is organised by NITDA, through its subsidiary organisation OIIE to bridge the gap by enriching the development processes of innovative technology driven businesses.

This was the ninth edition, and the first held in the South-South region of Nigeria.
It was attended by startup founders, tech talents, delegates from the federal and state government and startup enthusiasts. Previous editions have held in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna and Gombe State.

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami with Prof Nse Udo Essien
(Front row) Some of the pitchers
Cross section of participants
Dr. Amina Sambo-Magaji (CN, OIIE) with Akelachi Kejeh (Managing Editor, Techative)
Uwa Suleman
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Akelachi Kejeh

I'm interested in telling the story of African tech and startups. I also host a tech and startup radio show titled Rivers of Unicorns