Nigeria may not be known for great governance, but it is known for winning when it comes to innovations. This truth has again been buttressed by Godwin Benson, who won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation for 2016. The 27-year-old won the prize in May with his innovative education platform, Tuteria alongside a £25,000 (10.3 Million Naira) cash prize.
Godwin Benson, a Systems Engineer created Tuteria, an online tutoring innovation which links students to qualified tutors in their area and within their budget. It offers both vocational and academic tutorials, and the tutors and students are well vetted before they are allowed to use the platform. This security measure seems to be one of the selling points of the platform to the Judges.
The Africa Prize for Engineering was launched in 2014, and aims to stimulate, celebrate and reward engineers who have developed innovations that will help Africans. Founded by the Royal Academy of Engineers, it achieves its aim by first selecting a shortlist of innovators from the continent, and then giving them training and mentoring to turn engineers with incredible ideas into successful entrepreneurs.
This training holds for a space of six months before the innovators are to competitively pitch at an event in Africa and a winner is chosen. This year’s winner’s prize money went home with £25,000 (10.3 Million Naira), while the runners up got £10,000 each. Benson competed against three others at Nairobi, Kenya, where a live audience chose his innovation as the most promising. The Africa Prize is supported by The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund and the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund.
Tuteria is seen to change the way Africans view education and was borne out of Benson’s experience as a tutor. Benson is another Nigerian who turned his not so smooth experience into an innovation fuel and made something great with it.
The innovation seems to have far greater potentials than the ordinary bystander may see if the words of the head judge, Malcolm Brinded CBE FREng, in the press release are taken into consideration.
“Godwin Benson’s Tuteria invention changes the way Nigerians – and Africans – share knowledge and skills with one another. We’re proud to have him as our third Africa Prize winner, and we trust Tuteria will go on to change the lives of million people who are eager to learn and develop new skills,” he said.
Still talking about Benson, he continued “His engineering innovation is not only new technology but also a new way of thinking about education. Benson has successfully incorporated the training of the past six months into his project, and we are eager to watch Tuteria grow on the continent.”
It is evident that Nigeria has little or no platforms which encourage and drive innovative ideas, but Benson has shown the possibilities which abound. In his responding speech, he promises to make Africa Prize proud “I am so humbled and grateful to the Academy for the training and support. It’s such a vote of confidence to be chosen out of sixteen such incredible business – we will do Africa Prize proud!”
The application for this year’s Africa Prize for Engineering is closed, but potential innovators can still work on their ideas and kick start it. Who knows, they could win something greater!
Well done Godwin!
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