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NITDA showcases 10 indigenous start-ups

The National Information Technology Development Agency has showcased 10 start-up ICT initiatives.

The Tech Start-up innovators were showcased at the 10th edition of 'Startup Friday' which was held in Abuja, Nigeria with the theme: Creating an Enabling Environment for the Technology Entrepreneurial Ecosystem to Thrive.

In his remarks the Director-General of NITDA, Dr. Isah Pantami, said the aim of the tech event was to identify young innovators who have potentials and see how they can be supported to achieve their dreams.

Mr Ali-Pantami commended Tech Startups on their passion and desire to provide ICT solutions that would impact positively on the lives of Nigerians, especially as the country is migrating from resource-based economy to Knowledge-based:

So we felt they have potentials and this is to identify them and see how these potentials can transform into reality. This is a deliberate effort in order to migrate from a resource-based economy to being a knowledge based economy (digital economy).

He said one of Nigeria's key areas of strength is the youth adding that

the wisdom behind this is to identify our young innovators who have potentials and see how they can be supported to achieve their dreams.

Because Nigeria is blessed with a population of over 190 million people and 65% of this population are youths and they are digital natives and they are ICT serving.

While stating the benefits of the Friday Start Ups, Dr. Pantami said:

We identify them, we see the relevance of their ideas to Nigeria and Nigerians, we then mentor them and sponsor them to international events and if their ideas are developed, we direct relevant Ministries and agencies of government to patronize what they have developed.

On the issue of promoting and creating an enabling environment for indigenous start-ups, he noted:

If you are able to come up with an automated solution to a manual problem, NITDA will make sure that the relevant agency of government is directed or encouraged to patronize the product. Which means we are discouraging capital flight by developing what we need and consuming it.

We can only support our economy by spending our money on our fellow citizens because we don't like a situation where all our ICT monies goes abroad.

He added that Leading business personalities around the world have acknowledged the potentials of our start-ups. An example of such personalities are Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Bill and Melinda Gates and President Macron of France.

According to him, following the country's policies on ICT and its enforcement, the sector has contributed to 13.63% to Nigeria's GDP.

Also speaking at the event, Dr Bashir Galandanci of Bayero University, Kano, advised the young innovators to properly package their innovations to attract investors:

Every investor wants to see commitment, experience and professionalism. Also, investors want to see a good team and a good business plan.

Investors measure achievable prototype, they want to see intellectualism in your product.

They also want to see potential customers because it is difficult to raise funds for a successful business, but don't be discouraged because there would be disappointments.

While highlighting some tips on generating skills, Prof. Sahalu Junaidu of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said we must first of all reform our ways of teaching and training, adding that Job readiness is first because human skills interface with workmates, clients and the rest.

In his goodwill message, the Head, Digital Financial Services, Stephen Ambore, said the innovation is timely as over 40.1million Nigerians don't have access to financial services.

He, however, said that the country is seeking creative ways to reduce the number by 2020:

Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is working endlessly towards bringing financial inclusion close to the citizens.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the Nigeria ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision (NIIEV) by the National Co-ordinator, Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), Dr Amina Sambo-Magaji.

Startup Friday (SUF), is a smart gathering of Tech Startups, Hub Operators, Techpreneurs, Academicians and Investors with the goal of fostering the growth of Nigeria's tech ecosystem and creating an enabling environment for technology entrepreneurship to thrive.

The young innovators who made impressive presentations on their various ICT innovations on health, agriculture, software applications, electronics and many others, met with experts who exposed them to better ways of packaging, fund-sourcing and investment skills.

Source: Voice of Nigeria