At the weekend, West Africa’s most authoritative business medium, BusinessDay, recognised the top 25 Most Innovative Companies and Institutions in 2017.
The maiden edition of the award, which was held in Lagos, identified and honoured organisations drawn from different sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Frank Aigbogun, publisher/CEO of BusinessDay, in his welcome address, said the award ceremony was in recognition of companies, which despite the economic recession demonstrated they were “bright stars in the horizon.”
The 25 companies, according to Aigbogun, have weathered the drastic drop in demand of their products, challenges in accessing foreign exchange, and uncertainty in macroeconomic environment.
“What we seek to do is to advance our philosophy and our culture or promoting innovation in our national space in recognising people, companies and institutions that are moving the boundaries in creating and deploying ground breaking services and products, creating wealth, expanding employment opportunities for our teeming youths and restoring hope for our nation,” Aigbogun said.
The award, he noted, showed the companies as institutions that have contributed immensely to the sustainability of their customer base, improvement in their bottom lines and overall organisational growth.
Dangote Group, Nigeria’s multinational industrial conglomerate founded by Alike Dangote, emerged the overall Innovative Company of the Year for its bold step in construction of the 1,100km gas pipeline.
Winners of the categories include Nigerian Mortagage Refinance Company (NMRC), Most Innovative Mortagage Institution; SunTrust Bank for Most Innovative Bank of the Year; Wecyclers for Most Innovative Start-up; Jumia Food for Most Innovative Food Services; Ageless Physiotherapy Clinic for Most Innovative Healthcare firm; FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange for Most Innovative in Financial Market; Lagos State Security Trust Fund for Most Innovative Charity or NGO; RackCentre; Chi Limited for Most Innovative FMCG Company; Remitta for Most Innovative E-payment.
Other categories were Most Innovative e-commerce Company (Konga); Most Innovative Internet Service Provider (Spectranet); Most Innovative Insurance Company (AXA Mansard); Most Innovative in Manufacturing (LafargeHolcim); Most Innovative Telecommunications Firm (MTN); Most Innovative Real Estate Company of the Year (Grenadines Homes); Most Innovative in Media and Entertainment (Iroko TV/Rok Studios); Most Innovative SME (SLOT); Most Innovative in Agriculture (OLAM Nigeria).
Others were Most Innovative in Agriculture Funding (Sahel Capital Partners and Advisory Limited); Most Innovative Multinational (Coca-Cola Nigeria); Most Innovative in Digital Marketing Services (E-motion Advertising Limited); Most Innovative Legal Company (Banwo & Ighodalo); Most Innovative in Education (African Development Foundation); Most Innovative in Housing and Urban Planning (Dangote Cement); Most Innovative Telecom Infrastructure Company (IHS Towers); Most Innovative Investment firm (FBN Quest); Most Innovative Government Agency (Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services); Most Innovative Pension Fund Administrator (Stanbic IBTC).
Emmanuel Ukeje, special adviser to the Central Bank Governor, commended BusinessDay for recognising the companies, while acknowledging that 2016 was particularly a “tough” year for many of the winners. The CBN’s response to the economic recession however was well supported by most of the private sector.
It was in responding to the recession, Ukeje noted, that the company’s innovativeness became prominent.
“Because it must come, they look for ways of going round it and remain profitable. We are witnesses to what happened,” Ukeje said.
Jumoke Oduwole, senior special assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment, highlighted the successes achieved within the 60 Days National Action Plan declared by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. She said many people were already experiencing the reforms and solicited more feedback from the corporations represented at the award.