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How Helgg Scooters, Interna, and Enactcare won PAADC’s 4.5 Million Naira Equity-Free Funding

The Professor Ayodele Awojobi Design Competition (PAADC), an annual innovation and technology competition that provides Nigerian students in tertiary institutions the opportunity and platform to validate and showcase their ingenious ideas, held the grand finale of its 6th edition on the 22nd of October 2022. at the main auditorium of the University of Lagos. The competition had many applicants out of which 5 finalists were selected to compete physically at the grand finale for the top 3 positions that came with cash prizes.

The PAADC is more than a mere competition but a community of Nigerian youth that promotes mind-blowing and creative solutions created by students. It is a non-profit organization and it was founded in 2017 by students of the University of Lagos Engineering Society (U.L.E.S.) to promote ingenuity and creativity amongst undergraduates across the country. The organization was named after the late and iconic Professor Ayodele Awojobi, (renowned for inventing the AUTONOV I ) who was a Professor at the University of Lagos and an inventor who pushed beyond the boundaries of innovation and technology in Nigeria and the world.

This year, the competition had some notable mentions at the grand finale such as Mrs. Adia Sowho, the Chief Marketing Officer of MTN Nigeria who was the Keynote Speaker of the event.

Out of the competing teams, Interna, Helgg scooters, and Enactcare emerged in the first, second, and third positions going home with 2 million Naira, 1.5 million Naira, and 1 million Naira respectively.

1st place — Interna

Interna, emerged as the winner of the competition, taking home a sum of 2 million Naira. Interna is a platform that aims to bridge the work experience gap that causes the unemployment of students and graduates in Nigeria by providing access to internship opportunities and professional and networking tools to students.

The current number of students in Nigerian tertiary institutions, according to Statista is about 1.8 million people and Interna plans to capture 1% of this market in the nearest future. Findings from the surveys conducted by the Interna team include the fact that more than half of Nigerian students do not feel adequately prepared for internships and even more students find it hard to get internship opportunities.

The Interna platform (still under development), will launch in Q1 2023, and it will use a freemium model to offer educative and internship opportunities to students. The business plans to generate income from ads, premium subscriptions, and sponsorship. Services to be offered on the platform include a listing of internship opportunities, a CV generator, interview prep questions, mock interviews, specialized mentorship programs, and access to exclusive or remote internship opportunities.

From their pitch, the Interna team plans to use the prize money to fund the completion of the platform’s technical development, conduct additional research, sales, and marketing, and cover operational costs.

2nd Place — HELGG Scooters

Helgg Scooters, the ride-sharing platform for electric vehicles, emerged as the first runner-up of the PAADC. Helgg scooters solve the first and last-mile problems of commuters and the adoption of its electric scooters, reduces the amount of co2 emissions in transport. Their vehicles are pretty easy to use. Customers simply have to download the Helgg mobile app, create an account, and then ‘SCAN, PAY, and RIDE’, without having to own a single electric vehicle. Users deposit money into their virtual wallets to pay the fee. They charge based on the distance traveled and provide our customers with a cost breakdown of their journey

Helgg Scooters is a fully registered company that raised pre-seed investments in 2021 to fund its launch and operations. The company serves a target market of residents in universities and gated communities like estates. They conducted their pilot phase at Covenant University where 100 students paid to pre-order rides and they have gotten over 3500 positive responses to surveys they carried out in different Nigerian Universities.

In our story on Helgg Scooters, earlier this year, we covered how the company was founded, its journey so far, and its plans to take on more sections of the transport industry.

3rd — place Enactcare

The Enactcare team is tackling the high rate of infant mortality from preterm birth in underserved communities in Nigeria. This problem is caused by a number of reasons such as the Insufficient number of incubators in hospitals due to their high cost, epileptic power supply, substandard medical facilities, and the ignorance of mothers on factors that can contribute to preterm birth.

Their solution, Enactcare infant warmer, is a portable sleeping bag-like product that is wrapped around a preterm infant to keep it warm. The product contains a heat pack made from beeswax that provides a warm temperature. It lasts for about 6 hours and is recharged by being submerged in boiling water for 5 minutes. The product costs a sum of 20,000 Naira.

According to the team, out of the 42,000 hospitals and healthcare centers in Nigeria, they are targeting 10% of the total available market and are starting with hospitals and clinics in Ogun state. Their go-to-market strategy includes partnerships with federal ministries and health stakeholders, field marketing at health conferences and events, awareness programs to sensitize pregnant women and healthcare workers, and the sharing of their warmth4everybaby pamphlets.

The Enactcare team has developed 3 prototypes and these products have been approved by medical experts. They have received market validation from healthcare workers, won international grants to fund the operation of the project, and have secured partnerships with bee farmers for a continuous supply of beeswax. The team aims to operate the business on a B2B (hospitals and clinics) and B2G model, and will also rely on referrals, providing a 7.5% referral-based commission to hospitals they work with.

The Enactcare team aims to use the money won to further the development and commercialization of their products by obtaining NAFDAC and SON verifications, patenting their product, and scaling production and marketing.

Other finalists:

Foosion is an Agric-technology start-up founded to solve the problem of food wastage and inefficient food distribution in Nigeria. The startup aims to connect farmers with consumers and businesses who need food products at an affordable price. It operates via three applications, a food material ordering platform for consumers, a logistics app that monitors and handles the distribution of the goods, and a platform for farmers to send out supply information.

Protronics is an electronics project that aims to enable efficient electricity consumption for households through its product: a modified Door lock that switches off the electricity supply of a house once the door is locked from the outside. The project aims to reduce household electricity bills and reduce the risks of electrical fire outbreaks.

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