Microsoft supports entrepreneurs at an electric car hackathon

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Microsoft Corporation has empowered three Nigerian startups, Trekscotters, Helgg, and Celloop, with cash prizes at the recent electronic vehicle hackathon.

The event was jointly organised by Microsoft Nigeria and Get Funded Africa at the Microsoft African Development Centre in Lagos recently.

The hackathon provided a platform for entrepreneurs, engineers, and innovators to demonstrate their potential in revolutionising the EV landscape.

Among the standout winners was co-founder of Trekscotters, Esther Ehindero, whose IoT platform facilitates easy access to scooters for university students and residents in densely populated areas.

Ehindero secured the top spot and received a cash prize of N3 million for her groundbreaking innovation.

Following closely behind was Johnson Jaiyeola of Helgg, whose IoT application aims to support clustered communities in Lagos with their EV needs. Jaiyeola was awarded N1.5m.

Lolade Alonge of Celloop, a startup focused on recycling end-of-life batteries for efficient reuse, claimed the third spot and received N500,000.

Other participants included Omoseni Alex with GreenMiles, a pay-as-you-go battery replacement solution for EVs, and Ola Olawuyi and Titi Masha of Mobilita, a platform specialising in converting traditional motorcycles and three-wheel vehicles into EVs.

The judges of the EV Hackathon were the Project Executive of OANDO Clean Energy, Temitope Edun; the Director of Business Development and Government Relations, Olaniyi Aisida; the CEO of Magnus Samuel Limited, Samuel Ahanor; and others.

Speaking on behalf of the judges, Edun said, “Nigeria is a place of great ideas, and MSADC is a place for them to flourish.”

She encouraged all the participants to keep at their work, collaborate with others, and continue to strive despite the obvious socioeconomic constraints.

During the evaluation of their pitches, Ahanor urged participants to prepare themselves for government regulation as the industry begins to evolve and grow.

He stated that they should engage the Nigerian Automobile Development Centre to become attuned to government standards and frameworks to avoid future challenges in the growing industry.

Speaking at the event, the Innovation Lead at the ADC, Nkem Nweke, stated that the innovators were a testimony to the capabilities of Nigerians.

He noted that those developers were building the backbone of the future of the e-mobility space for Africans and by Africans.

He added that although 80 percent of Africans were at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ when it came to socioeconomic realities, “we are looking at solutions that can be used by urban and local people”.