• Director gives scorecard of first phase

By Gabriel Dike

As the Project Innovation to Market (I2M) railed out its scorecard for 2023, Research and Innovation Systems for Africa (RISA) would provide a $748,722 grant to boost innovation in 2024.

The Director of Innovation to Market, Dr. Abiodun Gbenga-Ilori disclosed this while giving the scorecard of year 1 of I2M activities, which got a $352,682 grant from RISA to promote innovation among UNILAG staff, staff and innovators.

Gbenga-Ilori explained that UNILAG has been a frontier institution in creating a framework that promotes innovation from both students and faculty.

According to her, the driver is evidence from the innovation structures that exist within UNILAG.

The I2M director disclosed that the office received a grant of $352,682 from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) RISA in 2023.

Gbenga-Ilori explained that the grant came at a time when the university management led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola began the thrust to make UNILAG the lighthouse of innovation to other universities.

She revealed that the grant application were to address three challenges, which include lack of training on how to innovate, support system for innovators and lack of a clear pathway from innovation market.

The director said that in March 2023, I2M called for innovations from innovators and research, who were to distill innovations from their research.

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Gbenga-Ilori further stated 702 applications were received from innovators while 524 of them were onboarded based on preset metrics to the iBank, which is a platform created by the project to enable end-to-end management of innovators and innovations.

“The onboard innovators were to participate in a self training on innovation and its nuances. 362 innovators from the 524 completed the training. Completing the training was a prerequisite to receiving further support from the project, she stated.

The director said in year 1 of the project, 62 innovators, received prototype funding, 67 intellectual property applications were filled, startups were incubated, 40 startup were filed at the CAC and 20 startup received seed grant of N850, 000 each.

She added that project I2M created partnerships leading to collaboration with 11 universities, partnered with Amazon Web service, payback partnered and incubation programme.

Gbenga-Ilori disclosed that for year 2, RISA extended the funding for project I2M from $352,682 to $748,722.

One of the beneficiaries of I2M, Yinka Ekundayo, a 500 level Civic Environmental Engineering of UNILAG, told Daily Sun that he was shortlisted and went for two months training and got N570, 000.

Ekundayo said he presented his Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which is on fashion and technology for the fashion market, adding, “I need more money to grow up the product. My final product is what requires money. The I2M project is helping young innovators like me to startup and build on our ideas.”

Chinelo Okeke, an Avivwallet member said she got over N500, 000 as prototype funding to bolster the developed app to scale increasing user demands.

She added: “we are about to hit the market. We didn’t require much training and I commend I2M for the funding.’’