October 13, 2022

SpaceNXT: Focus more on co-operative competition, stakeholders tell Nigerian innovators


•Prof Umar Garba Danbatta

By Prince Osuagwu

Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC,  Prof Umar Danbatta and other stakeholders who attended Union Bank’s innovation Hub, SpaceNXT event recently, have advised innovators to look for more ways of cooperating while competiting in respective initiatives. 

They contended that coopetition, which literally means co-operative competition, is a faster way of achieving more.

Speaking on how development in tech has transformed the models of work and how the innovation ecosystem is adjusting to the current realities, Danbatta said that the government has taken critical steps to harness the potential of its digital economy through co-created regulations and provide an enabling environment for growth.

Danbatta who was represented at the event by the Director, Digital Economy, Dr. Austine Nwaulune, noted that since the renaming of the Federal Ministry of Communications to Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami and heads of agencies under the Ministry are working assiduously to make the digital economy sector more attractive to innovators.

He added that steps to provide cover for the startup ecosystem is now at the final stage as the recently passed Nigeria Startup Bill by the National Assembly will help institutionalize legal frameworks that will enhance the growth of startups easily, quickly and conveniently in the country.

Also, Team Lead, Digital Innovation at Union Bank Nigeria, Efunbolanle Hughes, said the hub was conceived as a nest for innovators to encourage collaboration within the tech ecosystem in Nigeria.

She said: “SpaceNXT is not limited in innovation. We work with partners to innovate on solutions that we are deploying in the market. 

“At the same time, we are open to the public like our demo lab is open to users to test their ideas. We also have community based events – where we invite experts to meet with young experts.

“It is a launching pad for innovators to collaborate, develop and improve on ideas around digital systems and technology.

“Post NIS 2022, we will continue to support innovation and collaborate with the industry. The conversations will continue which is the essence of Cooperation. We will achieve much if we collaborate more”.

Also, the Head of Channels, Digital and Innovation at Union Bank, Mr. Akoh Ochai, added: “As a bank that provides financial services and also leverages technology, although we are a traditional bank, we are also a fintech and we also know that there is a point where we have to put out a proposition where we can attract team leads, creators, and where we can actually collaborate and do a lot of inspiring things together and hopefully scale. 

Meanwhile, Founder of SpaceFinish, an architecture and design firm, Mr Remo Dada, advised startup founders on a paradigm shift from reactive to proactive response to innovation.

He emphasized that strategic planning will bring clear-cut benefits for such startups; creating values and improving their competitiveness.