By Mathew Johnson
The Lagos State Government has begun the domestication of the Nigerian Startup Act , NSA 2022, with a view to pushing its technology and innovation agenda for investors within and outside the country.
In an effort to implement the Act policies, it recently organized a policy review workshop at the Eko Innovation Centre, with startup founders, tech experts, innovators, and enthusiasts, which led to the establishment of Knowledge, Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, KITE project , to equitably localise the Act.
The KITE project as gathered, will begin in Yaba, an area of the state which is acclaimed to be the bedrock of internet-enabled businesses, where over 60 startups and active venture capital firms reside.
Speaking at the workshop, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor, on Innovation and Technology, Mr. Tunbosun Alake, said the NSA2022 regulations would assist startups in registering quicker, and obtaining permits faster, thereby boosting the ease of doing business.
He said: “To drive the ecosystem and boost innovation, each state throughout the federation needs to adopt distinct legislation that will help foster and deepen startup activity.
“Lagos’ startup policy structure has been in development for some time before the Act. The regulations will assist startups in registering quicker, obtaining permits faster, and easing business for commercial organisations classified as startups.
“It is critical for entrepreneurs in the ecosystem to participate in the workshop review to have an impact on the state legislation being drafted. The KITE project is like Silicon Valley in that it will be a state-wide initiative that will create ICT clusters, which will promote innovation throughout the state as well benefit the nation’s economy,” Alake enthused.
In his remark, leader of the House Committee on Science and Technology,Olanrewaju Afinni, urged private sector stakeholders to look over the law and make it as complete as possible so that there would not be need for it to be changed often.
On her part, one of the private stakeholders who championed the Nigerian Startup Act movement,Tracy Okoro, said the NSA2022 was the outcome of people’s desire for change, adding that it succeeded because a group of young people came together to champion the move.
Her words, “We have a volunteer group of over 800 people who drove this from beginning to end without demanding payment. The Act is significant for connecting the government with the business sector”.
Also speaking, the workshop anchor, Mr Wale Adelaja, explained that the workshop was organised to allow the private sector and government agencies review the policies established in the KITE project.
“For an ICT business, cluster, or ecosystem to be sustainable, policies to support its longevity are required”, he said.
Participants envisaged that by 2030, the Yaba KITE cluster is expected to be Africa’s main source of transformational solutions that would propell the continent’s socio-economic progress via technological leadership, disruptive innovation and high-quality stem talent.
The Nigerian Startup Act NSA2022 defines Nigerian startups, their scope, operations, incentives, and limits to attract foreign investment and open up the Nigerian tech industry.
A startup, according to the Act, is “a firm that has been in operation for no more than ten years , which aims include the invention, innovation, production, development, or adoption of a new digital technology creative product, service, or method.”