By Grace Idowu

Why did you apply for the Jamlab Accelerator Programme?

Participating in the Jamlab Accelerator Programme provides CDIAL with access to a range of valuable resources, including mentorship, training, and networking opportunities. These resources can greatly support our efforts to digitise indigenous African languages and expand their impact. It would help us refine our strategies, enhance outreach, and amplify our mission. In addition, we aim to be a social unicorn by 2028, providing smart and inclusive software applications and hardware devices for the African ecosystem. Ultimately, the goal is to become the go-to platform for Africans seeking digital products and services in their local languages and to foster innovation and economic growth on the continent.

What does your start-up do?

We are creating inclusive smart solutions and devices, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to bridge the digital divide and equip Nigerians and Africans with the technological skills and tools to compete globally. With our solutions, we present them with the opportunity to connect with a wider and more diverse audience who have been marginalised and digitally excluded due to the fact that they don’t speak or understand English.

What makes your organisation unique?

Our proposition is indeed unique and very different from current solutions because we have taken a lot of time, dedicated to researching special characters and alphabets missing from the current keyboards in the market. In addition, with the aid of machine learning and natural language processing, we have improved on language models providing contextual and accurate interpretation and translation solutions compared to solutions already in the market.

Who is your target audience?

We target B2B, B2G2C, and B2C markets with accurate language services through targeted advertising, partnerships, and building relationships to ensure customer satisfaction. Our customers include the following;

  • Government institutions: IndiGenius and CDIAL’s TaaS is in adoption by government institutions to facilitate rural education in their native languages.
  • Non-profit organisations: IndiGenius and CDIAL’s TaaS can be used to reach out to people in local languages and help with the dissemination of information about their programs and services.
  • Students and educators: Our solutions are used to learn and teach in native languages. It helps them with accurate translations and autocorrections, making the learning process more efficient and effective.
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): For communicating with customers in their native languages, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Individuals: For typing in Nigerian languages and access to real-time translations and narration. It is particularly useful for those who are not fluent in English or French.

What issue/problem do you want to solve through the Jamlab Accelerator Programme?

CDIAL recognises the lack of tools and content in local languages as a major barrier to the participation of millions of Africans in the global tech ecosystem. Despite some level of internet penetration (20%), many are unable to find mobile apps, education, and information in their local languages, leading to widespread poverty and marginalisation. 97% of the 2,144 African languages are communicated orally, and low resourced, while those with written formats require special characters. Existing solutions have been ineffective, this has helped our team understand the need to develop inclusive smart solutions and devices, leveraging AI to bridge the digital divide and equip Nigerians and Africans with the technological skills and tools to compete globally. Hence, by virtue of being a part of the Jamlab Accelerator cohort 2023, we hope to refine our strategies, enhance our outreach and amplify our mission of localising digital platforms and digitising indigenous African languages to empower 1 billion Africans for prosperity in the global tech ecosystem.

What are you hoping to gain from the Jamlab Accelerator Programme?

We hope to explore collaborative opportunities with other startups and organisations within the Jamlab cohort, with potential expansion into Nigeria, and beyond. To assist them in gaining a wider audience through the contextual translation of their business materials and services. Also, we plan to raise $2m to build large language models to localise digital products for businesses and schools. We are looking forward to introductory meetings, with potential funding partners, grant and equity opportunities to achieve this goal. In addition, we anticipate guidance in accessing relevant markets, target audiences, and beneficiaries. We would also expect guidance in developing robust metrics and impact measurement strategies to demonstrate the effectiveness and sustainability of our language preservation and digitisation solutions. Ultimately, the goal is to become the go-to platform for Africans seeking digital products and services in their local languages and to foster innovation and economic growth on the continent.

Grace Idowu is a partnership & policy associate at CDIAL and has been selected as one of the seven teams on the Jamlab Accelerator Programme.

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