Incubation centers have long been a digital and financial fortress for startups throughout the tech ecosystem. As they have been in support of growing businesses, contributing equally to the growth of entrepreneurship in Africa, much of what can be attributed as the success of business in the continent is the modus operandi and commitment of incubation centers.
Seemingly, realizing this and wanting to leverage the opportunity the centers have in the offing, the Nigerian Federal Government is set to invest in this idea, as it is set to establish 6 technology incubation hubs across the country this year at the total cost of NGN 749 Mn, according to a report.
The hubs to be established will deepen technological skills and create employment opportunities for youths in Nigeria, and the centers will set up in a one-for-each system across the 6 geopolitical zones of the country.
Some incubation centers have been built in Nigeria, with the sole mandate to groom tech ideas, but individuals or groups privately drive most of them with little or no financial assistance. A couple of organizations are as well following suit and taking it upon themselves to be a fortress for the increasingly growing number of SMEs and tech startup by means of providing funding opportunities and incubator/accelerator schemes where they are offered guidance until their businesses are ready to fly.
The federal government has put the necessary in place for the hubs, all of which came under the Ministry of Communications’ capital project in the 2018 budget as recently passed into law. The budget analysis informs that each of these hubs would be built at the expense of NGN 28.8 Mn. The six centers are to be made in Uturu, Abia State, Benin in Edo State, Kabba in Kogi State, Maiduguri in Borno State and another in Sokoto.
Exclusive from the six hubs to be built this year, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) had recently launched a completed hub in Kastina, where the agency reiterated that the government is committed to establishing more of such across the country.
According to the Isa Pantami, the Director General of NITDA, the establishment of incubation centers would serve as encouragement and mentorship for youths, and help them incubate their innovative ideas, and make available to them, the relevant ICT tools.
“Our role is to make sure IT gives enablement to every sector of the Nigerian economy, create job via ICT innovation, develop techno-entrepreneurship and eventually bring about the kind of digital transformation present in developed countries” he added.
According to Pantami, NITDA must as result of the benefits encourage and empower talented youths to leverage the digital era, having lost the opportunity of the industrial age. “Africa, with 15 percent of the world’s population, cannot afford to miss the opportunities the digital age has to offer”.
Pantami also said that the ICT Hub would help in the improvement and growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, which serve as the engine of economic progression and maturation of the country. These realities informed NITDA’s decision to build ICT Innovation Hubs in every geopolitical zone of the country as a pilot scheme.
Jack Pantami said the move is as well a strategic one to tackle the unemployment issue in Nigeria, as ICT tools will be made available for the youths, to encourage and promote digital innovation and job creation in Nigeria. Concerning the hub in Kastina, he said NITDA established it in the state to serve the whole North West due to the commitments the Kastina has shown in the development of ICT, also for the fact that Kastina is among the states with the higher number of productive youths. “The center would serve all tertiary institutions within the zone as well as other sectors of the economy.”
Pantami concluded with an urge to all stakeholders to continue joining hands with the agency in its many efforts to evolve Africa and global digital transformation.
In other news, stakeholders have urged for a more realistic effort to deepen tech adoption and growth in Nigeria through a better spread of incubation hubs. In accordance to the speakers at the recently concluded conference of the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS), to achieve significant growth, Nigeria would need to do more than establish hubs on regional bases but start from the local government levels to bring the centres much closer to the people.
This development was first reported by Vanguard.