Heritage Bank Plc, a commercial bank licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, has launched the maiden edition of its innovation accelerator programme tagged, “HB LAB”, a 12-week programme, expected to provide technology startups with an enabling environment, resources and support required to innovate and accelerate impactful solutions.
HB LAB will give start-ups the potential to radically improve financial Inclusion/Intermediation, agriculture and other related problems affecting critical sectors of the economy.
The application portal which was launched on January 31, 2019 closed on the February 14, 2019. 154 applicants applied and 24 of them scored above 60, whilst the final selection would produce seven successful applicants, from which the winner would emerge.
The Managing Director of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo, who spoke on the initiative, explained that in Nigeria, technology start-ups still account for a relatively small share of all businesses, but they have an outsized impact on economic growth, because they provide better-paying, longer-lasting jobs than other start-ups, and they contribute more to innovation, productivity, and competitiveness.
Sekibo revealed that the team with the most compelling solution would be awarded a $25,000 grant alongside access to workspace and IT infrastructure for solution testing and development for a defined period.
He said the HB Innovation Lab Programme is open to product development teams and technology driven startups across Nigeria.