Nigerian schoolgirls develop anti-kidnapping app, emerge finalists of $960k global prize

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Two Nigerian schoolgirls have emerged finalists of the 2021 Young Tycoon Business Challenge after presenting a business idea for an app that could tackle kidnapping and abduction in schools.

The girls, Chioma Abone and Emmanuel Ilok, both students of Greensprings School in Lagos, said their product will use wearable technology to address the disturbing cases of abduction in Nigeria, especially those involving school children.

While presenting their idea to the Young Tycoon Business panellists, the students explained that their solution is twofold; an app called Airguard app and a supporting wearable that will help alert family and friends if they are in danger.

“We decided to work on an idea about a company called Paramount Guard, which seeks to offer security services to school students, not only in Nigeria but all over the world. The company plans to introduce AirGuard Wearable, which pairs with the AirGuard App to help students quickly alert family members and friends when in critical situation or a state of emergency.”

Chioma Abone and Emmanuel Ilok

The girls said they were inspired by the insecurity in the country because as students, they are not happy with the news of the constant abduction of fellow students in some parts of Nigeria.

The Young Tycoon Business Challenge is a competition for High (Secondary) School students who have entrepreneurship ideas. Its aim is to engage aspiring entrepreneurs from across the world and granting them access to mentorship by Silicon Valley leaders.

More than 7,000 participants applied from 80 countries around the world. After three rounds of pitching and developing solid business ideas, 28 finalists have been selected to pitch at a later round.

The winning team will get $960,000 worth of prizes; $10,000 in cash and $950,000 in benefits. They will also participate in workshops Entrepreneurship Clubs of Ivy League Schools.

A Team of Five Nigerian Girls Win $10,000 App Award at the Technovation World Challenge in California
Five Nigerian Girls Win $10,000 App Award at the Technovation World Challenge

Nigerian students have shown great technological acumen, especially on the global stage. Recall that in 2018, a 10-year-old Nigerian primary school pupil, Kambinachi Kanu, emerged winner of the 2018 edition of Ericsson’s Girls who Innovate competition under the 9-12-year-old category.

Similarly, a team of 5 Nigerian students; Promise Nnalue, Jessica Osita, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo, and Vivian Okoye, emerged winner of the $10,000 Junior Gold Awards at the 2018 Technovation World Challenge held in California. The students developed an app that detects fake drugs.

In 2019, another group of 5 Nigerian students, Ayomikun Ariyo, Ivana Mordi, Jadesola Kassim, Munachiso Chigbo and Pandora Onyedire developed an educational app with which they competed at the Technovation Awards Finals held in Silicon Valley.

One could only hope these young innovators are afforded the perfect environment to thrive here in Nigeria.


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