National Information Technology Development Agency [NITDA] has distingushed itself as the agile facilitator for technology and innovation ecosystem in the country.
This is as the Agency has successfully ignited the six regional ecosystems in the country through it several opportunities, especially the Startup Friday (SUF).
Now, StartUP Friday (SUF) has taken place in Abuja, Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Kaduna, Gombe, Kano, Enugu and has offered opportunities to the attendees that would have been difficult to access ordinarily.
Declaring open the twelfth edition of the event in Enugu on Friday, the Director General of NITDA, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said that current administration is focusing on diversifying from oil and leveraging on technology for job creation and national development and the Agency is leading on initiatives to achieve the government drives.
The DG who spoke through the Director, Zonal Office, Mr. Christopher Okeke, said, “Thus, this event is designed to enrich the development processes of new tech-driven businesses through a “meet-up approach.”
“As a result of our Startup Fridays, startup teams have been formed, mentorship-mentee relationships have evolved, investments have been received by startups, government-startup projects have been developed and huge awareness has been created”, he said.
“We also bring the Google team to Enugu to create awareness on the Google 30,000 developer scholarship”, the DG said.
Dr Pantami also added that in line with NITDAs commitment to turn Nigeria into a technology innovation hub in Africa, NITDA, through its special purpose vehicle, Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), engaged stakeholders and developed the Nigeria ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision (NIIEV) which was endorsed for implementation by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at eNigeria 2018.
NIIEV is a multi-stakeholder document with enabling policy recommendations targeted at building the digital economy of Nigeria through innovation and technology entrepreneurship.
Dr Pantami reaffirmed that “As part of NITDAs rulemaking process, the draft framework for the implementation of NIIEV will also undergo a stakeholder review in May and a stakeholder approach will be used to achieve the unifying vision”.
In her comment, the National Coordinator of OIIE, Dr Amina Sambo-Magaji, added that, “Taking SUF across the country was also a learning curve for the agency. In each region, we have identified startups proffering solutions to indigenous socio-economic problems, the challenges they face and the existing efforts by the region in growing its ecosystem. While its trendy to be a startup founder, there needs to be more concerted efforts in creating mentorship opportunities for startups, expanding infrastructure, provide access to funding and build capacity”.
She also added that, while building the ecosystem is a collective effort by key stakeholders, NITDA is taking an agile facilitator role and has designed a number of programs to address the various challenges identified.
An immediate follow on program is StartUP Clinic (SUC), a 5 days intensive mentorship program where startups will have a one on one consultation with subject matter experts on different aspect of their businesses.
HHighpoint of the event was the pitching session by 10 tech-driven startups for a chance to receive seed funding.
After the impressive pitches Greenage Technologies came first winning the start prize of N200,000; Inaaga.ng came second with N150,000 and Schoolsuite took the third place with N100,000.
Meanwhile, Aristocrat which is a startup that produces solar-powered device charging carry-on bags for productivity conscious trendy students and highly mobile executive received N2million grant from the General Manager/CEO, Enugu State Investment Development Authority, Mr. Chibuzor Okafor.
Pictures from the event: