By EMEKA AGINAM
To bridge the funding gap that plagued Nigerian technology companies and also realize the potentials of the software industry in the 21st century knowledge society, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, has said that investments in the technology start-ups will grow indigenous software industry.
It would be recalled that the Techlaunchpad started in 2012, following a meeting with chief information officers of banks and oil and gas companies, to identify issues affecting the patronage of local software entrepreneurs and solutions to address them.
The initiative which is a public private partnership is focused on carefully selected tech start-ups who will be provided a training and mentorship program through Heads of ICT and Executive of private sectors
The Minister who stated this recently in her remarks at the the closing ceremony of the Techlaunchpad first edition and the unveiling of the second edition in Lagos with optimism said that investments in software entrepreneurs would create a minimum of 25 sustainable ICT businesses that are fundable.
By so doing, she added that it would increase the participation and investment of the venture capitalists and private equity managers in the ICT in Nigeria, which will be over $100 million in the next few years; increase the footprints of Nigeria young ICT companies in Africa as solution and service providers; and create jobs.
While ICT innovation will continue to play a major role in creating knowledge-based societies and wealth for the citizens, the Minister told the gathering that the Ministry has put in place a set of initiatives that will assist the tech start-ups to create successful bueinesses which will directly create wealth job and wealth.
Assuring that the ministry remained committed to its mandate of promoting the growth of the ICT industry, she said that investment in software will create sustainable business in the digital economy.
The Minister who is very passionate about local said that, “This will provide the opportunity for Nigeria to raise software giants that would create jobs and wealth, while becoming regional and global players such as Indian IT service providers like Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro and HCL Technologies. These are indigenous companies that were created, nurtured and established in India, but servicing global markets.
“What we are doing today is part of the bigger plan that will strengthen innovation ecosystem and grow the digital economy in Nigeria.
We are working to refocus the efforts of talented software developers in the country of not just writing code and developing applications, but creating successful and viable companies around the software that they are developing to create jobs and wealth,”
According to Johnson, if the Information Technology Developers Entrepreneurship Accelerator (iDEA) and Technology Innovation Programme (Techlaunchpad), were fully implemented , it will go a long way in assisting software entrepreneurs to build successful businesses.