BusinessDay

Tech startups showcase innovations at 2022 Unicorn Group’s Investment fair

Over 10 technology startups are being housed at the Unicorn Incubation Hub, a six floored building located at Yaba, Lagos state also known as the tech city of Africa’s largest economy, to showcase their ideas in an artificial intelligence (AI) bootcamp, organisesd by the Unicorn Group to enable Africans for the future.

Unicorn Group is a pan-African, investment company targeting innovative ideas, startups, and early-stage companies in the technology and technology-enabled sectors across Africa that have the potential to emerge as unicorns.

“In 2017, when we had the idea of starting tech companies, we realized that there were various issues and challenges on a continent of over one billion people at the time. We then did a lot of research, and resolved that we know we have the talent in Africa, we have some of the world’s fastest people.

“However, we have real challenges, from power to food, to financial systems to healthcare, that have been solved by these entrepreneurs. So the question was, why then are they unable to scale? We don’t see unicorns, global companies appear out of Africa, focused on the tech space. So that was the basis, and this is what is driving us,” Akintoye Akindele, Chairman, Unicorn Group, said.

To solve these challenges, the group decided to focus on a few things including creating programmes to educate African entrepreneurs, sharing access to normal cables and global partners, providing physical infrastructure, and giving its startups access to the network on its footprints in other countries to enable scalability, and opportunity to interact with advisors and mentors.

Read also: Vbank empowers over 1,000 women with tech skills to build future-proof careers

Unicorn provides education, training, mentorship, infrastructure, and long-term capital to entrepreneurs, start-ups, and early stages in the technology and technology-enabled sector through its ecosystem strategy.

“We created this ecosystem approach to help address the challenges that we saw that entrepreneurs were facing on the continent. So, on top of that, we add a lot of value, we help them source talent, educate them, give them access to new markets. And as of today, we have a vision that in 10 years we will be able to impact a million entrepreneurs across the continents,” Akindele said.

Nvidia, the 13th most valuable company based on market share which is into robotics, AI, Agriculture, Media, gaming, entertainment, education and translation, among others and the group’s partner was unveiled. Renee Yao, Global Healthcare AI Startups Lead at Nvidia explained the technology behind the virtual services rendered by the company and its importance.

“We create virtual platforms and some of them work with Amazon warehouses to be able to stimulate how to build other factories. For us, virtual work is essential for the future of AI, no matter if you are creating a factory digitally, or training a digital human, or building a robotic gene, a lot of AI can be applied in a virtual world,” Yao said.

For Readland, a children-focused academy that creates children’s most addictive, happiest, and fun-filled learning experience and environment powered by technology, is training over 200 students from all over the world in less than five months in six master classes.

These include Coding, Poise Public Speaking and Etiquette, Graphics and Web, Forex for kids, Leadership, Conquering time masterclasses, Drawing and Illustration masterclass.

Mojoyinoluwa Adeshina, a 13 year old S.S.1 pupil of Readland shared her experience so far with BusinessDay. “Readland has classes like creative writing master classes, coding master classes, public speaking master classes, and the rest. So I learnt coding from scratch when I was around seven, then I moved to Python, which has helped me win a lot of awards.

“For example, at the Union Bank Huawei robotics award, I came second out of 5000 children, while at the Malaysia robotics award, Nigeria was second out of 24 countries. I also got the kids’ print buster award, the star kids poet award. I am a coder, an illustrator, and an author of a book titled ‘Tribes apart’.”

In a bid to sell the country to investors present, Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, said that Nigeria is a safe haven for investment in spite of the demarketing campaign being waged against the country.

He further said that lies were being promoted by those against the Muhammadu Buhari administration. “It is not true that Nigeria is a war zone or there is religious persecution in the country. We were elected on the three pillars of the economy, security, and anti-corruption, and we have not left any stone unturned to turn things around despite the numerous challenges.”