By Precious Chimezie


Biodegradeable Starch Bags by Ized Uanikheli has emerged winner of the Union Bank Centenary Innovation Challenge – an initiative set up in partnership with Co-Creation Hub to socially impact Nigeria by unearthing and supporting innovative ideas that address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The pitch event was held in Lagos where the top winners were announced.

Nine ideas were pitched at the event to a panel of judges made up of Union Bank’s Senior Executives and Executives from Fate Foundation and Co-Creation Hub.

The Centenary Innovation Challenge provided a platform for entrepreneurs and tech innovators to pitch their ideas and attract financial and mentorship support from UnionBank and Nigeria’s leading social innovation hub, Co-Creation Hub.

Speaking at the event, Union Bank CEO, Emeka Emuwa said, “Earlier in the year, as part of our Centenary Anniversary celebrations, we launched the Innovation Challenge; placing a call for young Nigerians with innovative ideas which address the Sustainable Development Goals to send in their entries.
Today, we have delivered on the promise we made to support these innovators as they seek to address the goals through entrepreneurial ideas. As a bank, we remain committed to contributing our quota towards the achievement of these ambitious Sustainable Development Goals.”
The winner of the Challenge, Ized Uanikheli of Locitrax group who produces Biodegradable Plastic Bags, won thesum of N2 million. Uanikheli expressed her joy saying it will serve as encouragement for her to do more.”I am glad that my dreams are coming to reality and I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Union Bank for giving us this platform to showcase our innovative idea.
For me, everyone here is a winner for participating; it is a privilege to be identified with a brand like Union Bank. I believe this will encourage other SMEs and innovators to believe in their ability to create great things and make life better for everyone,” Uanikheli said.
The first runners-up, Abuyaziz Musaddiq and Mohammed Mustapha Ilyas who built Agartech, a device for the preservation of fruits and leaf vegetables using solar empowered drier, received N1.5 million. The second runner-up, “Mbele” by Peter Ayeni got N1 million for producing learning gamification, an educational approach to learning by using video game design and game elements.
Aligned with three strategic pillars identified by Union Bank, the Centenary Innovation Challenge focuses on addressing the SDGs particularly related to Agriculture, Education and Financial Inclusion.