Wednesday, June 22, 2011

LoftyInc & MIT-AITI Collaborate to Float Mobile Apps Start-Ups in Nigeria

Press Release on Wennovation Hub’s Collaboration with MIT-AITI

LoftyInc Allied Partners Limited, the operators of Nigeria’s premier business incubator- The Wennovation Hub- are pleased to announce a new collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Africa Information Technology Initiative (MIT-AITI).

The signing event where the memorandum of understanding (MoU), codifying the relationship between the two entities, was held on Wednesday, June 22nd  2011 at the Wennovation Hub – Plot C, Obasa Road, Ikeja-Lagos. Mr. Soji Awe of MIT represented the MIT-AITI program with Wole Odetayo (Managing Partner) & Ayokunle Akinrotimi (Associate) representing LoftyInc Allied Partners Limited.

Under the terms of the agreement, LoftyInc will provide some facilitators and materials specifically focusing on business incubation for the six-week pioneer training and mobile application technologies’ product development program of MIT-AITI in Nigeria beginning on June 21st through July 29th, 2011. In like manner, LoftyInc will also send representatives to serve on the project panel to award honors to top developers during the MIT-AITI program being held at the University of Ibadan’s (UI) computer science department.  More than thirty students and future entrepreneurs will be in attendance.
MIT-AITI's Soji Awe signs MoU on Wednesday, June 22

LoftyInc's Wole Odetayo Signs MoU at Signing Ceremony

Top market oriented mobile application developers will be selected by LoftyInc from the MIT-AITI program at UI, to graduate onwards into the pilot Wennovation Hub program to be known as WennoCamp. One of the key backers of the program is Google Africa.

The four weeks of WennoCamp incubation program will be held on site at the Wennovation Hub, Lagos; and will be focused exclusively on product refinement and business development. During this period, the student developers will be immersed with a team of their choice, supported by top WennoCamp linked geeks to unobtrusively develop a business around their initial project ideas built during the MIT-AITI program. 

CEO mentors and intensive product trouble shooting sessions are amongst the exciting sessions planned during their four week stint which will come to a close by pitching to potential seed investors organized by LoftyInc.

Successful Wennovators through the WennoCamp will be provided access to:
·        Ultra-Modern office space and complimentary broadband connection with full office support services for  3 months following their successful completion of the incubation program
·  Mentors – both technical and business types experienced in operations and development
·         Funding of up to $25 000 through a pioneer network of small investors being built by LoftyInc
·         Small seed grant (up to $1000 in kind) to register their business and begin marketing
·    The network of LoftyInc consultants in legal, financial and strategic advising that provide reduced fee-for-services to Wennovation linked firms

Speaking yesterday from Houston, Texas, Wennovation Hub Program Director and Serial Afropreneur, Idris Ayodeji Bello said “This collaboration is a small but important step in our journey of establishing a Wennovation Village in Nigeria, which will compete with the likes of Silicon Valley in the US, in terms of the quality of innovation and venture funding to support such. It is also a testament to our belief in the concept of wennovation (collaborative innovation), and we look forward to future collaborations with similarly-aligned organizations in Nigeria, and the Diaspora”.

AITI is a multidisciplinary group of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that promotes development in Africa by cultivating young technology entrepreneurs. AITI develops curriculum materials, software technologies, platforms, and networks that enable African undergraduate students to innovate in the area of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Since 2000, AITI has sent nearly 100 MIT instructors to teach over 1200 African students in five countries, resulting in the creation of African businesses and the addition of course offerings at our partner universities.

LoftyInc Allied Partners Ltd. is a business development company founded in 2008 to specifically focus on supporting innovative entrepreneurs and businesses. LoftyInc specializes in start-up business and project incubation in West Africa. LoftyInc unique business incubation model is implemented on a platform jointly initiated with the Africa Leadership Forum: the Wennovation Hub. LoftyInc supports over half a dozen domestic start-ups and three early stage projects sponsored by domestic and international clients.