The Footwear Academy, a footwear production school for individuals interested in the art of footwear making has won the $50,000 prize money at the Proudly Made in Aba Hackathon, which concluded on Friday. The Proudly Made in Aba Hackathon was supported by the Ford Foundation, the Abia State government and Startup South.
10 finalists, who made the shortlist out of 400 applicants from all over Nigeria, participated in the Hackathon. The Hackathon consisted a 3 day workshop during which they underwent mentorship and guidance from top players in the start-ups space like Chioma Ifeanyi Eze of Acccounting Hub. At the end of the pitch to the judges, the Footwear academy emerged winner. Tochukwu Clinton, the Aba based inventor and founder of Clintonel technologies came 2nd winning $30,000. Ogugwo, an e-commerce platform that connects Aba artisans to a wider market came third, winning $20,000.
Clintonel’s idea was to boost productivity in the fabrication cluster by solving problems of poor finishing of products and poor time management through the introduction of advanced digital software. Footwear’s idea is to revolutionize the leather sector in Aba by introducing advanced industrial processes and support services that will empower local footwear craftsmen in Aba. Interestingly, The Footwear Academy (TFA) was also one of the finalists at Techpoint Build held in Lagos earlier this year.
Of course, the event was not complete without a performance from the proudly made in Aba musician, Ruff Coin nwa Aba.
The Proudly Made in Aba Hackathon was a search for innovative ideas that can help transform the Aba marketplace. The basis for selection of the finalists was that the ideas must have economic impact on businesses based in Aba, the ideas should be focused on one or all 3 focus areas: Leather, fashion/garment and Fabrication and the winning idea must be executable in Aba which means participants must be open to relocate to the region.
We believe this is the start of great things to come in Aba and to the Eastern region as a whole. Congratulations to the Footwear Academy, time to get on that relocation train to Aba.