ActinSpace challenge: FG empowers space-science start ups

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By Ogaga Ariemu

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), have awarded Team Astromania, a team of five young Nigerians, as the winner of the ActinSpace Innovation Challenge, with a cash prize of N750,000.00, laptops, ICT internship programme and an all-expense-paid trip to represent Nigeria in France.

Out of the four finalists who participated in the Hackathon, Team Astromania who sought to harness car and satellite data to develop an innovative application beat Teams Floews, Team FutureGeneration and Team Pyloop.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, who was represented by the Managing Director, Chief Executive of Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Muhammad Abubakar, urged the winners to work hard to emerge global winners as they represent the country in France.

“This competition is intended to develop skills and drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the space centre. Since the inception of this competition in 2014 by the French Space Agency and European Space Agency has led to the establishment of over 45 successful startups, that’s why the African Aeronautics and Space Organisation (AASO) has started executing this competition in Africa which we are keying into,” he said.

The Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, Dr. Abimbola Alale, disclosed to Nigerian NewsDirect Newspaper that the competition is to encourage innovative ideas and spur strong entrepreneurs by empowering both the winners and those who did not win with the necessary support to promote their ideas.

She said: “Just like the Minister, we are passionate about skills development and this initiative challenges the youths to make use of their minds and harness skills and talents. It is also bringing out the entrepreneurship spirit in them because when you see the presentation, they all talked about the Capital required to start-up as well as what they project to be able to make within a period of time.

In his remarks NIGCOMSAT’s board Chairman, Yusuf Kazaure said the event avails Nigerian youths the opportunity to showcase their talents in space science on the global stage.

Team FutureGeneration who was 1st runner-up got laptops and a cash prize of N500,000.00. Team Pyloops who came 3rd won a cash prize of N350,000.00 and laptops. Whilst the 4th team, Team Floews also went home with N200,000.