TechFest (Credit: Qed)

Diamond Bank, in partnership with MTN, Deloitte, and Visa, put together TechFest with the aim of engaging the respective parts of the tech ecosystem and hopefully leverage on its collective reasoning to prescribe solutions to Nigeria’s local problems.

TechFest held at the Landmark Center in VI, Lagos on May 15 and 16 with a list of panels, a “Battle of the Hubs” competition, networking opportunities and a food area cheekily named “TechFeast”. Here’s what went down:

Panels

Day one of TechFest featured the first panel of the event: “The Tech Girl Rising: Women Shaking Up the Tech World”. Panelists included Titi Odunfa, founder CEO, Sankore; Oluwakemi Okunsanya, VP, VISA West Africa; Linda Quaynor, Partner & West Africa Strategy & Operations Leader, Deloitte & Touche; Lynda Saint Nwafor, Chief Enterprise Business Officer, MTN; Banke Alawaye, Program Manager, CodeLagos; and Ola Williams, Director, Solution Sales Microsoft Nigeria. Sharing ideas and posits anchored in their own experiences, the panelists discussed the challenges women in tech deal with, and the opportunities available in the ecosystem.

Second panel of day one, moderated by Chuka Mordi, CEO, CBO Capital, was called “Big data for small businesses”. Panelists were Diamond Bank CEO, Uzoma Dozie and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Co-Founder & MD, Flutterwave; and Wale Olokodana, Director Business Development, Microsoft. The session covered a range of topics from big data applications for small businesses to the role banks have to play in the march for financial innovation and inclusion through options easily accessible to small businesses.

The third panel of the day, “Attracting and working with angel investors”, was moderated by Onyi Sunday, producer/presenter – CNBC Africa; and featured Neku Atawodi-Ekun, Country Director, MEST Africa; Akintunde Oyebode, Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund; and Collins Onuegbu, Founder, Signal Alliance. The session covered the various intricacies involved in playing the angel investment game within the Nigerian tech ecosystem.

Day two started with the “Precision Farming” panel which had Yewande Kazeem, founder/MD, Wandieville Media; Lois Sankey, Head, AgricFinance Diamond Bank; Onyeka Akumah, Founder CEO, Farmcrowdy; Kola Masha, MD, Babban Gona; and Dami Runsewe, Senior Manager, Segment Enterprise Unit, MTN. The panelists discussed the agriculture supply chain, technology applications and the importance of educating farmers (who aren’t typically literate) on the benefits and long term implications of leveraging technology in their operations.

The second panel of day two was tagged “Digital Transformation In Healthcare” and moderated by Dr Adeyemi Johnson, Founder/MD, First Cardiology Consultants. Panelists were Dr Ola Brown, founder, Flying Doctors Nigeria; Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder, LifeBank; Dr Femi Kuti, Founder, Kangpe; and Deepankar-Rustagi, Founder, Vconnect. The session touched on advances in healthcare innovation and local solutions to Nigeria’s huge healthcare sector deficits.

“Communication, Content and Sharing in a Digital World” was the last panel session of TechFest and it featured Uzoma Dozie, CEO, Diamond Bank; Akin Alabi, founder, NairaBet; singer/entrepreneur, Dapo Oyebanjo (D’Banj); Celebrity photographer, Kelechi Amadi-Obi; Jason Njoku, CEO, IrokoTV; and Chris Ubosi, MD, The Beat 99.9 FM. Panelists shared experiential ideas on the fast-paced world of digital media and opportunities available to creators, investors and other players in a unique market like Nigeria.

Battle Of The Hubs

This startup competition involved pitches by startups from pre-selected hubs around Nigeria with a N5 million prize at the end of the tunnel. Over the two day of TechFest, startups pitched their ideas and fought the good fight but at the end of it all, Beat Drone, a startup that provides tech solutions using drones and data, was named winner to take home the N5 million prize.

Exhibitions

Several startups and industry players where at TechFest to interact with other stakeholders and attendees. From DIYLaw, FarmCrowdy, Paylater and CoLab to MTN, BeatFM and hosts Diamond Bank, the exhibition areas were abuzz with activity through the entire event.

It is important for an ecosystem to achieve its true potential by encouraging its respective parts to engage each other continually to catalyse the realisation of its potential and this is why we look forward to the next edition of TechFest.

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