Innovating for a Green Future

A competition encouraging business ideas that support a greener future was hosted by the Nigerian law firm Jackson, Etti and Edu (JEE) recently. The firm’s Business Development Officer, Marshal Mapondera, reports.

Intellectual Property (IP) Day is celebrated across the world on April 26 every year. It is a day set aside to learn how IP encourages innovation and creativity for a positive impact in our societies. The theme for the 2020 World IP day was “Innovate for a green future”.

At JEE we celebrated this day in style by organising an innovation competition tagged: “JEE Greenovation…Innovating for a Green Future”. We wanted to support local efforts to address various environmental challenges by encouraging cost-effective and sustainable eco-friendly solutions. We collaborated with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) as represented by its Director General, Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano and the Tikki Hywood Foundation (THF) as represented by its founder and chief executive, Ms Lisa Hywood.

NCF is an eco-friendly organisation engaged in public awareness, policy advocacy and other practical measures aimed at promoting environmental conservation and sustainable

THF is a Zimbabwean wildlife conservation organisation that provides rehabilitation of lesser known endangered species, conservation education, environmental management awareness and advocacy projects for better wildlife enforcement. They also have a pangolin sanctuary in Cameroon.

Dr Aminu-Kano, Ms Hywood and Mr Funfere Koroye, (Co-founder of the Nupe Project) were
the judges who evaluated and selected a deserving winner based on predetermined

We had an overwhelming response from afar afield as Asia. The total number of qualifying
entries was 37 from Nigeria and the judges shortlisted five for live presentations on April 27, 2020 via Zoom video conferencing. The finalists included the following:

  • Agriple presented by Vincent Okeke created farm produce mobile retail software
  • Bio-Degradable Tableware presented by Tobi Ade Odiachi creating biodegradable
    plates from banana leaves & bagasse
  • Homefort presented by Opeyemi Owosho, Tolulope Iroye and Funmilola Falola
    creating LP Gas units
  • Staffbus presented by Obasolape Abiola creating a mobile pre-booking ride service
  • Sustainable Irrigation presented by Yaseer Musa Sagagi creating solar powered
    irrigation system

The shortlisted innovations were expected to tick all of the following boxes:

Market orientation: satisfy needs, be competitive on the market, solve a problem
Environmental aspect: reduce negative impact, an innovation without negative impact on the environment at all
Phase: full lifecycle of the innovation must be considered
Impulse: intention for reduction may be economical or ecological
Level: the innovation must set a green standard to existing alternatives
Cost: entire solution must be cost-effective & capable of implementation from the grassroots level/at community level
Sustainability: innovation must be seen to benefit future generations, in line with the WIPO theme

The ultimate winner was announced on May Day as Ms Tobi Ade_Odiachi, with Bio-Degradable Tableware! Her prize included cash (1 million naira (£2066) seed grant) and pro-bono legal services. Our hope is that with sufficient support, local innovations such as
these entries will improve the quality of life for Nigerian society with minimal and or efficient use of natural resources and minimal release of toxic substances. JEE Greenovation is an African blueprint for showcasing novel and competitively priced goods, processes, systems, solutions, and services.

For enquiries, please contact:

Marshal Mapondera
Business Development Officer, Intellectual Property
Email Marshal

Busola Bakinson
Senior Associate, Intellectual Property
Email Busola