By Adedapo Adesanya Power Bit Crunchers and Zeena Platform have emerged victorious in the Hardware and Software categories of the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon held last Friday. Both winners emerged from the 3-day final of the competition organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources in collaboration with Eko Innovation Centre. The winners have earned combined prize money of N10 million. In addition, the winners and runners-up in both categories will get working space at the Eko Innovation Centre while all 10 finalists will get mentorship opportunities among other consolation prizes. The Power Bit Crunchers (the hardware team winners) were represented by Mr Olonma Ibrahim and Mr Peter Okonma while Mr Oluwasemi Oreoluwa and Mr Adenitire Ayonikun represented the software team at the event. Speaking at the announcement ceremony at the Eko Innovation Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said: \u201cToday is a true hallmark in our administration\u2019s pursuit to improve the welfare of our people. As you are aware, a key pillar of our administrations T.H.E.M.E.S agenda is to make Lagos a 21st-century economy and this Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon fits perfectly as it combines innovation, creativity, and local capacity to deliver solutions that will improve access to electricity in Lagos.\u201d He said further that the settings, the mood, and the aura at the ceremony \u201cinspires creativity and innovation, and that he saw in the participants vibrant energetic youthfulness \u201cthat inspires hope of brighter and bigger roles that technology and digitization would play in the country.\u201d He noted that the result of the initiative would drive local capacity that would find homegrown solutions to solve challenges, which he considers a great move in transforming the electricity sector in the state. Mr Sanwo-Olu promised that his administration would continue to support this initiative and that the outcomes of today\u2019s programme have inspired his administration to do even more to drive local capacity and find homegrown solutions while taking advantage of global opportunities to solve our challenges. He said, \u201cThe young people in Lagos and Nigeria have proven to be hardworking and brilliant and we will do all we can to support them through our various ministries, agencies, enabling policies and incentives." He urged the participants to continue to persevere and improve, as his administration, through mentorship and other incentives, will be willing to support innovation. \u201cEveryone is a winner; someone must just be declared winner to fulfil all righteousness. The Lagos State government is always ready and elated to support and collaborate in creative and innovative ideas that would improve living standards and grow the economy,\u201d he said. Also speaking at the event, Mrs Doja Ekeruche, Advisory Board Member of Eko Innovation Centre, disclosed that curating the hackathon was in line with the centre\u2019s purpose of leveraging innovation and technology in solving poverty and other challenges in Africa. She stated further that the output of the Hackathon will contribute significantly to solving the challenges of the power sector, while also serving as an inspiration to local tech-talents in Nigeria to develop innovative solutions that will transform the future of Nigeria. Although Lagos State government initially committed the sum of N7 million to appreciate the winners for their efforts before progressing to commercialisation, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Mr Kola Balogun, Chairman, MOMAS Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited; and Mr Bunmi Akinyemiju, CEO, Venture Garden Group, all contributed N1 million each to raise the total prize money to N10 million. Mrs Chantelle Abdul, CEO MOJEC International also contributed N2 million for the runners-up. Launched on July 30, 2020, by the Lagos State Governor, the Smart Meter Hackathon is an initiative of the Lagos State Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources and was aimed at providing affordable electricity meters to the populace by facilitating the design and production of meters that will accelerate efforts towards achieving improvement in energy distribution, monitoring and prevention of revenue leakage.