As a civic tech focused technology hub in Abuja, Nigeria, our biggest goal is to promote ideas that leverage technology to solve civic problems.

We’re committed to three core principles, namely; social impact, education and engagement, and s a result, all of our programs are geared towards activities that foster any, or all of these three.

That is why the Civic Innovation Lab has launched a series of long-term and short-term programs aimed at bridging the gap between government and the developer community as part of our efforts to grow the civic tech space in Nigeria.

The SDGs Pitch & Grill is one of our short-term impactful programs, and so two weeks ago, we called for applications for the SDGs Pitch & grill, and we received more than 50 applications in a week.

The criteria for selection was simple.

Startups who would be invited to pitch had to have a solution that tackled one or more of the UN’s 17 Sustainable development goals using technology.

Applications to the competition ended on Tuesday, September 11, and the selected startups were notified that they were going to pitch by Thursday, September 14.

SDGs Pitch & Grill Demo Day dawned bright and clear on Thursday, and by 3pm, the Civic Hall at the CIL was packed with both pitch hopefuls and our special guests.



In attendance at the event was HE Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Adviser to the President on SDGs, Mr. Sam Bwalya, the Country Director, UNDP Nigeria, Torben Getterman, Danish Ambassador, and Mr. James Obiakpolor, representing the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Budget and National Planning, with Henry Okelue moderating the pitch session.


Henry Okelue – Demo DayModerator


The opening address was given by HE Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, where she thanked the attendees for their presence at the event, and commended the Civic Innovation Lab for putting together a program that celebrated startups in the social impact sphere. She also enjoined young members of the community to continue to come up with innovative solutions, and advised that even if only 3 winners would be selected, everyone who pitched was by association, a winner.


HE Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Adviser to the President on SDGs


At the end of her speech, Sam Bwalya, country director of UNDP Nigeria, shared a few inspiring words. The Danish Ambassador gave a short speech afterwards, and Mr James Obiakpolor brought the opening address segment of the Demo Day to an end by sharing the speech prepared by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget & National Planning.


Mr. Sam Bwalya, Country Director, UNDP Nigeria


Torben Getterman, Danish Ambassador

The panelists/judges at the event were pulled from a vast selection, and each of them had a long experience in the tech and public sector sphere.

The judges were;

  • Hamzat Lawal – Cofounder/CEO, Connected Development (CODE)
  • Tola Onayemi – SA to the Vice President on Industry, Trade and Investment.
  • Lucky Musonda – Communications Specialist, UNDP
  • Anna Ekeledo -Executive Director, Afrilabs
  • Olatoyosi Onaolapo – SA to the President on SDGs.


The criteria used for judging the pitch session was; Innovation, UI/UX Design, Target Market Identification, Timeliness, Clearly Identified Problems, Scalability, Profitable Business Model, and lastly, if the solution addresses an SDGs problem.



Pitching began in earnest at 3.45pm, with the startups pitching for 3 minute, followed by a 2 minute question and answer session by the judges.

These are the 10 lucky startups that pitched at the SDGs Pitch & Grill Demo Day.

Mobile Health Companion – A mobile app that provides users with access to instant healthcare services. The app also has additional features that allow it to serve as an effective queue management system at the hospital, helping to reducing waiting time from as much as 5 hours to 30 minutes.



ZapAid – Connects people in need of help to emergency agencies and loved ones, sending across details of the emergency, like the type of emergency, the emergency location, and details about the user, with a button click.



eSoft – eSoft is a digital learning platform which specializes in the development of interactive learning content which cuts across all levels of education, as well as corporate organizations. eSoft develops digital learning content such as professional courses for self-paced training and learning management systems, exam preparatory solution for JAMB/WAEC candidates, interactive textbooks in various subjects for secondary school students (based on the Nigerian curriculum).



Haima Health Initiative – Haima Health Initiative (HHI) is a Nigerian indigenous youth led non-profit, non-governmental organization established to promote regular, voluntary, non-remunerated blood donations in Nigeria, as well as raise awareness on the importance of blood health. We have leveraged on the use of technology to improve blood availability to people in dire need, building Nigeria’s first mobile and web platform, with a database of viable, voluntary blood donors who are connected to patients in real-time using GPS, mobile and web technology. Haima currently works with over 100 volunteers across 5 states in Nigeria who have been trained in managing this system as well as successfully employing advocacy for social innovation.



EcoBarter -EcoBarter offers an incentive-based recycling scheme as a solution to improper waste disposal and environmental degradation for low-middle income earning communities. They collect recyclables from households within low-middle income earning communities and semi-public places using a mobile collection center. The recyclables are weighed and accorded value points based on our point chart, these points are to be accumulated by users and redeemed. The collected recyclables (PET, aluminum and paper) are cleaned, sorted, baled and sold to recycling factories while recyclables such as nylon and other plastics are up-cycled and made available for buyback on our store.



Chowberry – A platform that provides an alternative and affordable source of nutrition for economically disadvantaged demographics by redirecting food which otherwise would be lost along the value chain, to vulnerable and need, through a network of retailers.

Zero Hunger – Zero Hunger leverages on the lack of storage facilities of most small time farmers, and maintains a relationship with the that ensures that the economically disadvantaged to get the food items that these farmers are unable to sell, to avoid waste.



Farmer’s iNetwork – This solution called Farmers Hub uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in innovative ways through ICT-enabled services helping in disseminating timely information on agricultural advisories, financial services and agricultural marketing and risk transfer to the farmer to improve their capacity and mitigate risks.



Eco Wonder Box – The Eco Wonder Box, a combination of solar thermal and solar photovoltaic panels, and it works both indoor and outdoor, it is used for cooking, baking, drying, pasteurizing, charging mobile phones and solar lamps.



Isele – Isele allows you to report incidents in real time to alert third parties and solicit emergency response.



After the pitching, the judges took a 5 minute breakout session, and emerged with the names of the winning startups.

Edtech startup, eSoft, won first place, with a cash prize of $1,000 with office space, mentorship and partnership.


eSoft founder and SDGs Pitch & Grill Winer with Distinguisehd Guests and Panel of Judges


EcoBarter was second place, with a cash prize of $700 with office space, mentorship and partnership.



ChowBerry took third place with a cash prize of $500, with office space, mentorship and partnership.



The Networking (Grill) part of the event began soon after that the Outdoor Patio. Attendees were given the chance mingle and network with each other, while barbecue lamb and drinks were passed around.



SDGs Pitch & Grill Demo Day was a resounding success, with three startups going home with cash prizes and free workspaces and a zeal to continue to do even more for their communities.

The end goal was to inspire a larger community of problem solvers who will leverage technology to solve civic problems, and help foster development in our communities, and the SDGs Pitch & Grill did that.