By Prince Osuagwu
Lagos State is set to take ad-vantage of technology to drive a smart and fast-growing economy. To activate this desire, the state has connected to several technology-driven innovative solutions that could lead to creation of new jobs.
The project includes the establishment of a new Eko Innovation centre, meant for incubating different start-ups from different sectors in the state.
Although the centre is a private investment, which will run independent of any government funding, Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said: “Technology is the way to go, it is the way of the future and it is the way forward for the entire universe. We believe that from this centre, innovations around environment, education, transportation and health would be developed.
“People from here would come and give us innovative ideas to solve our transport problem; ideas developed locally but can solve problems globally,” he added.
Founder and developer of the new centre, Victor Afolabi, said the idea of a technology-driven Lagos economy is the key motivation for establishing it, adding that with this initiative, Lagos will not only become the model to be copied by other states in governance but also in tech economy.
He said: “Tech centres are a vital part of the entire start-up ecosystems because they provide platforms and opportunities for collaborations and building support structures that are important to the growth of any economy.
“Lagos over the last few years has been one of Africa’s cities with a robust tech ecosystem; it is currently the city with the highest number of technology hubs on the continent. In keeping with this fast-growing paradigm of technology development, the new Eko Innovation centre was birthed.
“Our aim is to discover, incubate and curate new start-ups that will create new technologically driven solutions and add better value to an already growing tech ecosystem on the continent.
Afolabi said the primary objective of the centre is to transform Nigeria’s tech and innovation landscape and by extension, Africa.
He said he is motivated by the need to create an enabling environment for young people to develop innovative solutions and create employment while leveraging on technology. For him, Lagos provides the perfect setting to launch the idea.
“We saw in the Lagos manifesto an agenda to make the State a 21st Century economy. The only way to create a 21st Century economy is to make sure you are creating businesses and solutions to problems that are driven by innovation and technology.”
Afolabi said that most of the existing hubs primarily provide workspaces and basic facilities including power and internet services, with a few more providing support platforms for the growth of the start-ups operating within but Eko Innovation centre provides shared services including legal, finance, tech, marketing, and PR services among others. This means that start-ups admitted in the centre can have the time to focus on their businesses while the centre takes over most of the bureaucratic processes of commercialisation.