ONDI’s and JICA’s interest in Nigeria’s startup ecosystem aims to enhance and support businesses and founders who are actively solving NIgeria’s most relevant problems in the Agritech, Healthtech, and Cleantech industries. In partnership with Ventures Park, they launched the early stages of the Next Innovation with Japan (NINJA), cohort 2 with a call for application campaign that lasted 4 weeks to search out startups that are actively bridging in these sectors.

At the end of this phase, about 1,100 applications were received from the countries such as India, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Egypt, United States, United Kingdom, Japan etc and critical screening began. After a well structured selection phase ended, 30 startups successfully made it to the semi- final and, with further screening, 5 finalists emerged as finalists. These startups were featured at the virtual conference in partnership with NIKKEI that took place in Japan. It was one of the largest webinars in Japan and the audience was 5,045 people. That was a beautiful experience and opportunity for some of the featured founders.

While they await the official launch of the accelerator program, communications and cohort bonding were initiated for easy relationship flow during the program. However, the 3 months NINJA accelerator program started yesterday (Thursday, August 4th, 2022) with an orientation session facilitated by the program manager of Venture Park – Ajibike Jimoh, with the support of Nao Fuwa of JICA, Yakubu Musa of NITDA, and other team members who were present on the call. 

As the session progressed, Folake Owodunni (Cofounder and CEO of Emergency Response Africa) was present to share her experience and how the last cohort was beneficial to her company with the new members to prepare them for the journey ahead. 

Here is a brief profile of the NINJA finalists that made it to the program:

Eight medical:  a network of pre-hospital care professionals that provide urgent and emergency care when it matters most. They work round the clock to ensure you and your loved ones can get access to proper care in your time of need. Check out their website: https://www.8medical.co.

Kitovu: They provide a platform for farmers to sell their harvests effortlessly and at better prices through access to higher value markets. Farmers can also decide to store their produce in Kitovu’s storage infrastructure so as to earn more through market price appreciation. Check them out here: https://www.kitovu.com.ng/

Wekebere: They are designing the future of prenatal care with technologies to help mothers and babies. The team has a proven track record of developing the most advanced patient monitoring solutions in the fields of neurology and cardiovascular disease. They are further supported by top medical advisors throughout Nigeria that have direct experience dealing with high risk pregnancies in underserved communities and provide doctors with tools and information to better predict and manage pregnancy outcomes. Check them out at wekebere.org/.

eCOBbA – a platform for the world’s unbanked and underserved communities that leverages community savings and lending groups to drive industrialization. Their team operates a B2B2C model with primary consumers being in the informal sector, women, youth, improvised communities, and SMEs in the agro value chains. Check them out at https://www.ecobba.com/.

Alabaster: The Alabaster team is mitigating the problem of food waste with cold technology and data analysis. They are a group of vibrant youth that seeks to reduce the post-harvest loss for fruit farmers and increase the bottom line for the average farmer. You can check out their website here: www.kipitfresh.com.

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