Apply for Union Bank Centenary Innovation Challenge

In celebration of 100 years of heritage & service, Union Bank is running a Centenary Innovation Challenge to find and support great ideas that address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in entrepreneurial ways. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity

We are looking for your innovative ideas to address the biggest problems affecting how people live, work, socialise and do business in Nigeria. In particular, we are looking for great ideas that improve financial inclusion, agriculture and education of Nigerians.

We invite entries from ALL eligible Nigerians particularly university students, software developers, academics and entrepreneurs from across the six geopolitical zones.

We invite university students, software developers, academics and entrepreneurs across Nigeria to submit novel ideas that address challenges related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including financial inclusion, agriculture and education starting in one community but potentially scalable across the nation.

The top 3 selected ideas will attract immediate cash prizes and further incubation support via the Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) incubation services with full engagement with Union Bank.

Through the challenge, we hope to find hidden social innovators across the length and breadth of Nigeria, supporting them to develop their ideas and to scale leveraging digital technology and Union Bank’s reach and networks.

Find out more about all the Terms and Conditions


A call for ideas

We invite individuals and groups (of not more than 3 persons) to submit ideas of applications, technologies, tools, services or any other kind of digital innovation. We’re particularly keen to hear great ideas for addressing the Sustainable Development Goals in entrepreneurial ways. These ideas could be related but not limited to financial inclusion, agriculture and education.

Ideas may be totally brand new or extensions of existing products and services. We are open to all ideas as long as they are innovative, solve a clear problem and contribute to addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The three best ideas submitted will be shortlisted by a panel of experts for prototype development during the incubation process from June to November 2017.

To apply, kindly fill the . Deadline for submission of ideas is the 19 May 2017.

Idea Sprint Workshops

Interested applicants are invited to attend one of six ‘idea sprint’ workshops to be held in 6 cities across the 6 geopolitical zones and Abuja between 25 April and 9 May.

These workshops, facilitated by CcHUB will ensure individuals & startups understand the purpose of the challenge and are able to submit applications that are fit for purpose. These refined ideas will be entered into the innovation challenge.

Union Bank staff will be available at the workshops to share more information about the resources that the idea owners can leverage from their organisation’s assets.

The workshops will discuss the following:

  • Themes and innovation options – mobile apps, small business ideas etc.
  • Specific ideas and applications that can be tested and implemented during Incubation
  • Specific Sustainable Development Goals that could benefit from innovation e.g. financial inclusion, education sector, teachers, farmers, agriculture etc.
  • Tips for social innovators and key learnings regarding how to start and scale a business

The following are the dates / locations where the sessions will be taking place across the country.

  • Tues, April 25 Lagos 1pm – 4pm

    Union Bank, Oba Akran Training School- Plot 16, Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja.

  • Thur, April 27 Osun 1pm – 4pm

    Union Bank, Osogbo Branch- 2/4 Obafemi Awolowo, Gbongan/Ibadan Road Osogbo.

  • Sat, April 29 Enugu 11am – 2pm

    Union Bank, Garden Avenue Branch – 3 Garden Avenue, Enugu.

  • Tues, May 2 Port Harcourt 1pm – 4pm

    Visa Karena 3D Wonodi street, Off Olu Obasanjo road, GRA Phase III. Port Harcourt.

  • Sat, May 6 Kaduna 11am – 2pm

    Union Bank, Yakubu Gowon Branch Yakubu Gowon Way Opposite CBN, Kaduna.

  • Tues, May 9 Abuja 12pm – 3pm

    Ibeto Hotel Ltd, David Ejoor Crescent, Apo Gudu District, Abuja.

If you are interested in participating in the workshops, and to find out more details, apply

Pitch Preparation

The call for entries closes on 19 May 2017. All entries will then be judged and 10 semi-finalists will be shortlisted.

The semi-finalists will be coached by CcHUB to:

  1. Build basic prototypes of the proposed ideas.
  2. Develop a plan for how the product will be launched to acquire its first 10,000 users.
  3. Develop a plan for how the venture will generate revenue to become self-sustaining
  4. Develop and deliver compelling business pitches.

Pitch Sessions

Semi-finalists will pitch their solutions to a panel of judges, select press and the public in June 2017.

A judging panel – comprised of Union Bank and CcHUB executives – will select the top ideas based on their capacity to address the problems that have been identified, their potential impact and the probability of their implementation.

Shortlisted ventures based in Lagos will pitch physically at the day-long event while ideas from the other markets will pitch virtually at connected events on the same day at the designated local Union Bank branches. All pitches will take place on 27 June, 2017.

On the same day, the judges will announce the top 3 ideas. The three winners will then advance to the incubation programme where they will be supported to bring the ideas to life.

About Union Bank Centenary Innovation Challenge

Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s most respected financial institutions, has kicked off celebrations to mark its 100th anniversary in Nigeria having been established in 1917. The bank has embarked on a transformation programme to reposition Union Bank with the objective of becoming a leading provider of quality financial services in Nigeria.

Given our long standing service to individuals and communities, Union Bank understands that partnership and pragmatism are needed to make the right choices to improve life, in a sustainable way, for future generations. The Sustainable Development Goals which are a universal call to action to end poverty, hunger, improve health & education is an ambitious goal that resonates with us.

The innovation challenge will engage eligible young and talented people across Nigeria to submit novel ideas that address some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are of immediate interest to Union Bank. We will encourage applicants to propose innovative ideas that solve fundamental social and commercial challenges faced by Nigerians in a range of sectors starting in one community but potentially scalable across the nation.

Click here to apply 

Prizes and Incubation process

The best ideas generated & submitted will leverage Union Bank’s expertise and the reach of its value chain to develop and scale. The top 3 ideas will receive immediate cash prizes of 2 million Naira, 1.5 million Naira and 1 million Naira respectively towards the execution of the idea. Further incubation support will be provided via the Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) incubation services with full engagement with Union Bank.

Over the subsequent six months, the top three ideas will be supported with a range of services focused on product development, distribution and business modelling to turn their ideas into fully working products to launch in late 2017.

In addition to access to a range of different partners and mentors from the public and private sectors, winners will also have access to Union Bank’s customers and employees and also leverage Union Bank’s reach & strategic networks to bring their ideas to life.