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Nigerian female innovator shortlisted for continent’s biggest engineering award



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A Nigerian has been shortlisted as one of the finalists for the Africa Prize for Engineering, the continent’s largest engineering innovation award.

Faith Adesemowo, one of the three female finalists, developed Social Lender, 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 access to financial services based on Social Reputation Scores.

“Formal banking institutions demand collateral that people don’t have, in exchange for accessing financial services. We provide people with an alternative credit score to leverage on, so that they can grow their personal or business’ finances,” the innovator said in a press statement by Yethu Dlamini of Proof Communication Africa Ltd.

Adesemowo becomes the 20th Nigerian innovator to be shortlisted for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation since 2015.

The 2017 winner Godwin Benson developed Tuteria, an online platform which links students to qualified tutors in their area and within their budget. Users locate the skill they want to develop on a mobile app, set their budget, and wait to be connected to the nearest tutor.

Apart from Nigeria, South Africa, Gambia, and Ivory Coast also present representatives among the finalists from 16 countries that contested.

They were chosen after receiving eight months of training, mentorship and support through the Africa Prize, with expert volunteers providing bespoke, one-on-one support on topics including business plans, scaling, recruitment, IP protection, financing, commercialisation, and more.

Other innovations that made the cut are those to tackle inequality in the media industry, 3D print customisable orthopaedic equipment for patients, and help farmers generate income from biowaste.

The other 12 candidates are now eligible for a brand new One-to-Watch Award worth £5,000, which will be judged on the strength of their business pitch by the audience on July 8 July.

The winner and the runners-up will receive 25,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds respectively.

The promoter of the award is the Royal Academy of Engineering backed by supported by the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund, having been supported by The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund from 2014 to 2020.