Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider charged applicants of HB Lab start-ups to support Nigeria’s aspiration and roadmap to become a leading Information Communication Technology (ICT) Hub in Africa. Executive Director of the bank, Jude Monye disclosed this at the launch of the maiden edition of the new innovation-driven concept, HB LAB yesterday, in Lagos. Monye commended the 10 teams of contestants who made it to the LAB, whilst charging them to replicate the Rwand’s ICT digital tech system feats. He, however, canvassed for indigenous production of advanced technological systems, as against leaving the core job in the hands of foreigners. Addressing the applicants, Monye said, as usual, the financial powerhouse is known for supporting and sponsoring investment ideas that have the potency of challenging the status quo with the motive of impacting positively on the critical sectors of the nation’s economy.
According to him, the management of Heritage Bank is always seeking viable business ideas that could compliment the fiscal policies of the government with the ultimate aim of growing and developing the aggregate economy. At Heritage Bank, we help aspiring entrepreneurs to create, preserve and transfer wealth. What we are gathered here for today, is another moment of innovation-driven concept that is expected to provide startup enterprises with enabling environment, resources and support required to innovate and accelerate impactful solutions for the economic development drives, he said.
For this maiden edition, Monye explained that Heritage Bank has ceded the professional handling of the 12-week competition to a consultancy firm. According to him, this was done to allow for professionalism, fair-play and objectivity. He further stated that his management was not really particular about any sector of the economy, as the winner could emerge from any industry as long as his proposal is strong enough to impact positively on the various sectors. His words: We are not zeroing in on any particular idea or industry; we are more interested in the result achievable in different sectors.
The application portal https://www.hblabs.com.ng/ which was launched on the 31st January 2019 closed on the 14th February 2019. About 154 applicants who applied were reviewed 30 who made above average score and grouped into 10 Teams, whilst at the end of the 12 weeks programme will produce the best Tech start-up as a Team.
Similarly, Ike Williams, Directorate Head, Service Bank/Chief Information Officer, Heritage Bank congratulated the participants in attendance. He said for them to scale the first hurdle, it shows that the quality of their proposals was higher than that of their counterparts who were screened out. He stated that the management of Heritage Bank and the consultants would be looking out for innovation, commitment, sincerity of purpose among other variables before any contestant could be picked as winner. Meanwhile, Williams assured them that even if they do not win, the experience they would have gained while they are on the programme will be useful for them in growing their enterprises.
Among the participants at the launch are: Mile12Food; 365weddingedit; and TREP Labs. Others are: Simbibot, BBOX, Nesterpod, LadipoMarket.com, Fashion Map and Iden2five.