Development Bank shortlists Tech innovators for final Pitch 



Tony Okpanachi, Managing Director of the Development Bank of Nigeria

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The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has held a pre-selection session to shortlist tech innovators who will be participating in the final pitch during the Bank’s annual flagship tech event, DBN Techpreneur Summit, holding on July 10, 2024, in Lagos.

The Techpreneur Summit 2024 seeks to promote and showcase investor-ready technology innovations within Nigeria’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, while providing access to a pipeline of investors and subsequently funding to qualified techprenuers.

The theme for the DBN Techpreneur Summit 2024 is, ‘Catalyzing Tech Innovation: Empowering Entrepreneurs for Regenerative Growth.’

There were over 100 tech companies on the longlist of entries received for the pitch at the expiration of the timeline for submission of ideas.

Over the weekend, (Saturday, June 29, 2024), a panel of evaluators consisting of respected industry leaders held the pre-selection session to assess each submitted entry in line with the criteria and guidelines set for the participating innovators.

At the end of the pre-screening, a total of 20 tech innovators drawn from across fintech, health tech, transport, IOT and other segments scaled the hurdles to the final pitch stage.

Commenting on the significance of the pre-selection process, Managing Director/CEO, Development Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Tony Okpanachi, said it was a very important stage to narrow the space for the best among equals to be determined, adding that it was also a cost and time-saving mechanism for both the innovators and evaluators.

He said pre-selection is an opportunity for innovators to enhance their chances of success in the pitch competition.

Dr. Okpanachi stated further: “Pre-selection of innovators provides feedback on the viability and potential of the innovation, and enhances the innovator’s pitch and overall chances. It boosts confidence for the competing teams. Streamlining the selection process also reduces stress and anxiety for innovators that make the shortlist, thereby helping them to focus on the best ways to achieve success at the pitch and in their presentation.’’

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The DBN chief affirmed that by supporting MSMEs and tech innovators to grow and scale up, the Development Bank of Nigeria plays a pivotal role in unlocking the potential of micro and medium enterprises, as well as the tech industry in Nigeria and empowering them to contribute significantly to the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

The Bank, he noted, also contributes significantly by driving inclusive economic growth and improved quality of lives for Nigerians.

Affirming the importance of the screening session, Managing Director of Addium Capital, Mrs. Comfort Aruosa-Osemwegie, stated that it was aimed at making the tech founders ready for potential investors, who will also be attending this year’s Techpreneur Summit.

She disclosed that through a partnership between DBN and Addium, a private equity and venture capital firm, an exclusive Deal Room will hold within the summit and it will serve as a platform for techpreneurs to meet with potential investors directly.

“On the 10th of July, tech founders will have access to at least 50 curated investors during the summit. We are curating the summit in unique ways whereby the tech startups can sit with prospective investors that are coming to the event. This was the reason we had the pre-screening on 29th of June.

“We had hundreds of startup founders pre-screened. The idea is, we wanted to ensure they are investors-ready; so, when we bring them to investors on the 10th of July, we are bringing in deals. We call them deals or startups that actually are ready for investment. We took the proposals through screening to ensure we pick or get to find the best fit for the investors we are bringing in,’’ Aruosa-Osemwegie said.

Aruosa-Osemwegie added that the partnership with Development Bank of Nigeria was also designed to position Techpreneur Summit as the “go-to’’ event for investor engagement and closing deals.

She enthused: “We want to see a situation when you think fundraising and meeting with investors, cutting the time of deal sourcing, origination and closure, Techpreneur Summit is the place to go, both for Nigerian investors and foreign investors, as well as techpreneurs across Africa. I am seeing a situation where it becomes like a tourist attraction, the main deals arena for techpreneurs. When you want to meet with investors in Africa, come to DBN Techpreneur Summit.’’

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