To participate in the challenge, participants must submit a proposal in PDF format, including a short pitch (30 words maximum), a description (300 words description), concept images and/or sketches. Names of participants, their qualifications (level, experience and backgrounds); a web-link to an online portfolio or website is preferred)
The challenge is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Teams may have between 2-5 members. Teams/Participants are free to enlist professors, teachers, and professionals as advisors, but the work must be done by the students only. All team members must be students at the time of submission of the application.
A good submission will address a real-world problem in a creative way. Your proposal should help us understand the problem you are trying to solve and why it is important; What your ideas will do and how people will interact with it.
Submissions will commence on 18th of February till April 30th, on the conference website. Interested teams will complete the submission form. Applications will close at 11:59 PM on April 30th.
WHAT ARE THE ELIGIBILITY AND ACCEPTANCE REQUIREMENTS?
We are not only looking for novel ideas and concepts, we are also particular about advancing existing technological ideas and concepts. Projects for submission might be on or beyond the conceptual stage and have a team committed to the vision. The project must have a working capital around the prize money - N 1,000,000 for funding for your business so that we can have a true impact on helping you grow.
Applicants are selected based on their business idea, team member’s skills and background, and the team’s ability to execute. We also consider whether our partnering innovation hubs can have an impact on their success and growth as part of the selection process. Unlike prior year(s), you do not have to have a team member with a learning difference to qualify, but we certainly do think teams with diverse brain-types can build the greatest companies.
Applicants need to be based in Nigeria.
IF I DO NOT WIN THE PRIZE MONEY AT THE PITCH COMPETITION, DOES POIC INVEST IN PROJECTS/COMPANIES?
Aside from the prize money being offered, POIC does not directly invest in the companies that compete in the Pitch Competition. However, if your company requires funding to launch, by participating in our partner innovation hubs' incubator or accelerator we go through how to prepare a compelling pitch deck for investors..
I HAVE BEEN SELECTED FOR THE GRAND FINALE - DO I NEED TO TAKE A SPECIAL PREPARATION SESSION?
Not necessarily, but a mentor will be assigned to the finalists coming for the grand finale. The mentor will prepare their assigned team on how to go about their preparations which includes; Comportment and Pitch delivery.
That said, we have found that many people starting companies have gaps in their knowledge that they need to fill to become successful entrepreneurs. The mentorship sessions are designed to fill these gaps in a laser-focused way matched to your needs. They are not like business school classes that simply survey a topic. These sessions are tactical based upon the needs of the attendees.
DO I NEED TO GIVE UP EQUITY IF I WIN THE INVESTMENT?
Investment will take the form of a convertible note, SAFE, or another debt/equity instrument that matches the businesses needs. Depending upon your situation, there will be some form of ownership taken for the investment unless it is a pure debt instrument. This will be finalized after the awards ceremony.
Our mission is to be additive to any company for which we source investment. Our intent is to provide an attractive source of financing to help you achieve growth.
DOES MY BUSINESS NEED TO BASED IN NIGERIA?
For the first three years of this competition, all businesses must be based in Nigeria. This may change for future competitions so stay tuned and subscribe to our newsletter to stay abreast of any changes or opportunities.
ARE THERE ANY AGE RESTRICTIONS?
Our major restrictions are that; the ideas must be genuine and original, and we require all applicants to be at least 16 years of age!
WHAT KIND OF BUSINESSES WILL QUALIFY?
We accept any kind of business that will solve any scientific problems or improve technological innovations as application into our Challenge. The more progress and traction you have, the more likely you are to win the competition. But, if you think the idea can become a great business - go for it and apply!
DO I NEED TO BE ABLE TO ATTEND IN-PERSON?
For our grand finale, you and your team members are expected to be at the University of Lagos for the Pitch Competition. Any team that is absent for their presentation will automatically be disqualified.
CAN MY BUSINESS JUST BE A COOL IDEA I HAVE?
Yes it can be! That said, the more fleshed-out your idea is, the higher your chances of being selected. So if you have an idea, try to demonstrate some sort of validation for applying if you can. If not, apply anyway - what do you have to lose?
DO WE PARTNER WITH ANY INCUBATION OR ACCELERATOR PROGRAMME(S)?
POIC in its quest to fully actualize the potentials of innovators in the country partners with Incubation and Accelerator hubs majorly owned by both states and corporations. The incubation programmes start for Businesses in its ideation phase, while the accelerator programmes kick off for scalable businesses, and both run from January of the following year.
IS POIC A NON-PROFIT ENTITY?
Yes, Professor Ogundipe Innovative Challenge (POIC) is a registered Non-governmental organization. We consider ourselves a social enterprise. Any fees or donations made to the Lab are NOT tax deductible.