The following six Nigerian innovators have been shortlisted among 10 others for the 2021 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation (APEI) by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering.
In 2017, the Prize was won by a Nigerian innovator, Godwin Benson, who developed Tuteria, an online platform that connects people seeking to learn ‘anything’ with verified local experts who can teach them what they want to learn, as well as ensuring safety, accountability and quality learning delivery.
CodeLn – Elohor Thomas, Nigeria
CodeLn is an automated tech recruitment platform that helps companies looking to hire people in the software engineering field. It is also an accessible learning tool, allowing novices and professional programmers alike to improve their coding skills, with special functions for those with additional needs, such as visually impaired and neurodiverse coders.
The web-based platform streamlines the recruitment process from three months to two weeks, allowing companies to source, screen, and interview potential candidates. A recruiter can post a job specification, immediately get matched with suitable candidates via CodeLn’s recommendation system, test the coding skills of the candidate and present them with an offer letter – all through one platform.
The artificial intelligence system can be integrated into existing apps and systems. Users can grow their skills through the platform’s Learning Assistant feature built on Google Assistant. Coders can expand their portfolios using CodeLn’s project-based skills assessments and qualify for their dream jobs. Job applicants will take a workplace sample test similar to what they will be employed to build. The test is monitored for cheating, and the product is graded according to programming and language framework best practices.
Systems engineer Elohor Thomas and her cofounders met during training at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, where they shared their frustrations on the time-consuming recruitment process for software engineers. CodeLn is their solution.
“CodeLn is connecting African programmers to local and global job opportunities and providing them with the resources to grow in their careers. With over 100 million new tech jobs projected globally by 2025, we are preparing African youths and software engineers for new and exciting opportunities.”
- Website: www.codeln.com
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elohorthomas/?originalSubdomain=ng
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Codeln_spaces
Social Lender – Faith Adesemowo, Nigeria
Social Lender is a digital service that provides immediate access to formal financial services to those with little to no previous access.
Social Lender partners with service providers like banks, microfinance institutions, micro-insurance companies and agricultural input companies to offer facilities based on Social Reputation Scores. In ten minutes, t’s proprietary algorithm can perform a social audit of users based on their mobile, social media and other online activity. This digital fingerprint allows them to access credit, microinsurance organisations, farm inputs and other services. Members of their network are also able to act as social guarantors or referees for their activities.
Users can access Social Lender’s platform through the internet, SMS, USSD, mobile apps, APIs or partner bank ATMs. Social Lender ambassadors visit communities that do not have smartphones and help them access the platform.
More than 50% of Africans lack access to formal financial services. Most of these people are farmers, traders, artisans, young professionals, small business owners and students. Finance specialist Faith Adesemowo saw a need to address this challenge. Five years on from developing Social Lender, the platform has impacted the lives of more than 100,000 customers in Nigeria and South Africa.
“We aim to reach one million users in Nigeria in the next 12 months and help them gain access to financial services using the Social Reputation Score. They will also receive services such as financial literacy training, agricultural extension best practices trainings, and biometric registration for onboarding to Social Lender.”
- Website: http://www.sociallenderng.com/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/faith-adesemowo-67a0b248/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sociallender/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/sociallenderng
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sociallender/
Aevhas – Jacob Azundah, Nigeria
The onerous process of producing garri includes peeling the cassava root, washing, grading, pressing it for starch, removing the water, sieving and frying. Aevhas sieves and fries more cassava root, faster than traditional methods. The technology offers two heating modes – charcoal and wood fire, or gas – depending on the resources of the customer. The Aevhas processing machine can also sieve and fry either simultaneously, or at separate intervals.
Processing cassava roots is laborious and time-consuming; conventional garri processing machines can take up to four hours to sieve and fry, only producing a single basin of garri. This discourages many from going into cassava farming, while most current cassava farmers remain committed to the manual processing method.
This led mechanical engineer Jacob Azundah to design Aevhas, created to sieve and fry the cassava tubes in 20 minutes, significantly reducing barriers to profitability in the sector.
A motor drives an input shaft connected to a set of sprockets and chains. The sieving unit sieves the garri using a pulveriser, breaking it down into small particles which are collected into a sieving chamber where they are separated from the chaff. A worker then engages the fryer, placing the now caked cassava into a carrier with curved blades. This carrier rotates about an axis, tossing the garri until it is ready for discharge.
Aevhas is suitable for both community-based businesses and industrial use.
“Many will be encouraged to return to farming because of the simplicity in processing garri, and as a result we can greatly reduce levels of poverty and hunger. We hope that an increase in the number of cassava farmers will bring about food security in Nigeria.”
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Aevhas/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacob-azundah-02419675/
Reeddi – Olugbenga Olufemi Olubanjo, Nigeria
Reeddi is an energy system used to provide clean, reliable and affordable electricity to households and businesses operating in the energy-poor communities of sub-Saharan Africa.
Following personal experience of countless blackouts and brownouts, control systems engineer Olugbenga Olubanjo developed the ’always ready’ Reeddi capsule system. Reeddi provides power to communities and businesses without electricity, at an affordable price. Its portable nature gives users to access electricity anywhere they go.
Reeddi capsules contain lithium-ion cells, improved by a proprietary battery optimisation algorithm to extend the lifespan of the capsule from two to four years, an increase from 500 to more than 1,200 charge cycles.
The energy system is divided into three parts: the brick-sized energy capsule, which stores electricity provided to users; energy crates, which are used to store the energy capsules when distributing or collecting them for recharging; and the recharging station. Reeddi capsules have a built-in wireless data transfer feature, which saves information related to energy usage, device location, battery levels, device analytics and general customer information. Energy usage data is used to optimise local operations and understand customers’ energy requirements.
Reeddi customers save up to 30% on their usual energy expenses with access to power anywhere, anytime. Reeddi currently recharges the capsules at a central location but intends to erect solar-powered energy charging stations in communities, allowing customers to recharge capsules themselves.
Reeddi currently serves more than 600 households and businesses each month, aiming to increase to 10,000 monthly customers across Nigeria in 2021.
“Reeddi’s novel solution relieves users of the mobility, cost, payment and flexibility constraints of other energy-generating options. When you need a reliable electricity supply, we are ‘always ready’ with Reeddi.”
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