By Franklin Alli
The Federal Government and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) have floated Nigeria’s first Technology and Innovation Support Centre to provide small and Medium Enterprises and industries valuable access to research and development information.
The Centre, which is sited at the Ministry of Trade and Investment, Abuja, is the sixth TISC in sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking during the inauguration of the Center, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, noted that Centre would provide the basis for building the important and growth-enabling culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among students; enable SMEs to create strategic partnerships; serve as catalysts in clustering small businesses and attracting foreign partners and investors.
“Our Industrial Revolution Plan is based on linking industrials skills development and innovation to the areas where we have competitive and comparative advantage. When we do this effectively, we will become one of the best developed economies in the world in no time. That is why we have embraced the establishment of this Centre. This is critical for the country and I am very delighted to be part of this positive development.
“And now that we have the support of WIPO, the TISC will make available millions of information and data to inventors and innovators which they can use very easily to enhance their industrial productivity, and in fact, other sectors of our economy. Also, the Centre will make available over 30,000 information or data that can be used by researchers in our universities.”
He added, “This is the time for us to link research and innovation to our industries and make them far more relevant to our economic transformation agenda, job creation and wealth generation. This project is not only for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
It will also help large companies in an existing area to increase their productivity by enhancing the quality of their products through innovation. “For SMES, this programme will provide them with relevant information on how they can improve on their products, enhance their productivity and develop new innovations that are relevant and peculiar to our own environment.”
The Minister added that plans were underway to replicate the TISC in nine industrial centres across the country, in line with the Ministry’s Industrial Revolution Plan.
“This is just the beginning of a journey. We will work together with the World Intellectual Property Organisation to make the TISC readily available in order to share information with as many Nigerians as possible, including our universities, researchers, inventors and innovators. Also, we want to make our innovators far more relevant to the economy and, of course, make sure that their products are commercialised.
“The is the first Centre we are inaugurating .However, our intention is that by next year, we want to see how we can replicate this in the nine industrial cities across the country. But later, when we have the funding, we will also take it to the universities that will use them.”