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NCDMB launches BrentPlus to promote innovation in the oil and gas industry

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Aiming to encourage innovations in the oil and gas industry and subordinate sectors, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has unveiled a series of initiatives known as BrentPlus to serve, promote local creation of digital technologies.

The initiative was unveiled by the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, during a webinar titled: “Innovating for the future of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors.”

According to the Executive secretary, the Board will henceforth incorporate the use of Webinars in communicating with stakeholders in the industry as it was its maiden webinar since the outbreak of COVID-19, promising that a webinar will be held soon to give feedback on the progress of BrentPlus.

Problems definition, call for innovation, Nigerian oil and gas Technology Hackathon, incubation, and scale-up were listed by Wabote as the focus of BrentPlus.

Shedding more light on the initiative, he said BrentPlus will kick off with the problem definition stage, which will have the Board administering surveys on focus groups and stakeholders to understand the biggest challenges facing the sector.

“The problems must not be related to the oil and gas sector alone, it can be daily life problems,” he stated.

The second stage will involve selecting the most threatening challenges and seek innovations from interested teams with ideas, prototypes, solutions, and relevant experiences, after which the applications will be reviewed by judges and shortlisted, with a few selected.

While the third stage of the BrentPlus will be a Hackathon – a three-day residential camp where “participating teams will meet with industry stakeholders and further understand the challenges. Teams will revalidate their solutions and pitch at the end of boot camp. Five winning teams will be selected.”

Wabote explained further that Hackathon enables crowd-sourcing of digital innovations that will solve challenges. The idea is to provide a platform for individuals to get together for a short period of time to collaborate on a project.

He hinted that during the incubation, which is the fourth stage of the process, “five winning teams will get a $10,000 equity-free grant each. They will also get work-space, expert mentors, global partners, and unprecedented market access over three-months, ensuring they become commercial and investor-ready.

“At the end of the incubation, the teams will participate in a showcase day to demonstrate their progress. This showcase will aim to connect them with investors and industry stakeholders where they can further amplify their market access.”

Specifying the criteria for eligibility, he said participants must be a team/company of at least two or more members with at least 75 percent of the founding team as Nigerians.

He added: “The team/company must be a registered, or intending to register as a profit/business entity. The solution described in response to the challenge must be driven by digital technology- Software, Hardware, or both.

“Other conditions include that the solution must either be at the idea stage, prototype level, or a launched solution that hasn’t gained commercial traction. The team must be available to participate in a three-day hackathon as well as a three-month incubation if selected.”

He equally assured that prototypes from the programme will not be abandoned, saying: “we will see it end to end and put in place plans for continuity.”

On concerns that the introduction of more sophisticated technology by the oil industry could lead to job losses, Wabote defended that technological advancements have always created more job opportunities around the world, especially for persons who are willing to innovate and acquire relevant skills.

He said the outbreak of COVID19 had made it imperative for organisations and individuals to adopt technology and innovation to stay afloat.

Source The Guardian
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