Boko Haram: Firm launches Start Up North East Program To Manage Relief Efforts
TECH DIGEST – Ventures Platform Foundation, has launched an incubation platform where technology startups can apply to get the necessary funding, mentoring and support to design robust tech solutions which can solve the current inefficiencies around aid distribution and data management in relief efforts across the North East region of Nigeria.
The incubation programme, which is supported by the United State Embassy in Nigeria is met for early-stage companies building innovative tech solutions for communities hit by the crisis in North-East Nigeria.
The entire programme will be conducted virtually with six successful startups recieving exclusive support for four months as they build, deploy and drive strong traction for solutions which mitigate the operational risks faced by development agencies in North East Nigeria.
“Since 2009, we have witnessed vulnerable communities ravaged by malnutrition, a lack of hygiene and sanitation, and poor healthcare in one of Nigeria’s deadliest crises since the new millenium. We cannot allow this to slip off our radar – even in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Mimshach Obioha, Executive Director at Ventures Platform Foundation at the launch of the program.
Mimshach believes that entrepreneurs will play a critical role in building Africa’s future. That is why Ventures Platform through Start-Up North East is equipping them with the tools to address some of the most pressing problems that people face today. “We want mission-driven founders who are ready to improve the livelihoods of underrepresented communities such as those in the North East. We know the talent is there and we are ready to back founders stepping up to make a difference,” he added.
According to estimates from the United Nations, more than two million people have been displaced from their homes due to conflict in the region and more than seven million depend entirely on humanitarian aid to survive since 2009.
Recent efforts around aid distribution have encountered major obstacles. With a limited number of organisations delivering aid outside the capital cities of the North Eastern states, a lack of trained personnel and poor identification of households that require relief services, vulnerable communities have been heavily neglected. Equally, the absence of a unified government database that is accessible to development organizations and the prevalence of paper-based methods for data collection has led to inadequate planning and coordination.
But the launch of Start-Up North East marks the latest initiative from Ventures Platform Foundation which addresses critical issues on the continent. The foundation recently awarded $6,000 to seven different start-ups developing tech solutions to assist the fight against the coronavirus as part of its COVID-19 Innovation Challenge.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy has said the innovative thinking behind the creation of Start-Up North East will bring the determination of young leaders in the North with proven international business methodologies.
“The U.S. Embassy to Nigeria works in concert with the government of Nigeria, the international community and many civil society organizations to address the multi-faceted dimensions of the conflict in the North. We are proud to support this incubator program through our Annual Grants Program,” said Public Affairs Counselor at the U.S. Embassy, Aruna Amirthnagayam.
Additional details on the Start-Up North East program can be found at startupne.venturesplatform.com and applications close on December 2nd, 2020.