Digital Innovation And Entrepreneurship; Prerequisites For Achieving Indigenous Digital Economy – Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami has said that the new National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre is another giant leap towards the development of Digital Economy and diversification of Nigeria’s economy.

Pantami said this at the Groundbreaking ceremony of the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre, Abuja.

He said that a successful digital innovation and entrepreneurship programme will support the country in the development of its digital economy and this is exactly want the Centre aims to achieve.

Pantami further reiterated that the Centre will be based on the ‘live, work and learn’ concept as the activities of the centre align with 6 out of the 8 pillars of our National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria.

These include Digital Skills; Service Infrastructure; Digital Services Development and Promotion; Soft Infrastructure; Digital Society and Emerging Technologies and Indigenous Content Development and Adoption.

The Minister said that President Buhari approved the building of the Centre on the 11th of November 2020, during the Federal Executive Council meeting as he made a detailed presentation to Council on the project and successfully answered around 22 questions in the robust debate that followed the presentation. The idea received overwhelming support of the Federal Executive Council because of the huge positive impact it can have on the lives of Nigerians.

Pantami listed the benefits of the Centre which include: enable Nigerians to acquire cutting-edge technological skills; enable Nigerians to participate in the development of hardware, software and emerging technologies; create an innovative ecosystem; create a unique platform for technical skills (programming), soft skills (social interaction), entrepreneurship (starting and operating a business) to focus on the promotion and development of ICT, including smart energy solutions to drive ICT; nurture new ideas and develop an inquisitive perspective to support in the creation of employers of labour; support in the promotion and development of ICTs, including aspects of advanced applied research; and allow startups to accelerate and experience innovations at scale, through customized visits, design thinking sessions and co-innovation workshops to create a highly collaborative and immersive environment.

In his remark, the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullah said that the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre is a welcome development because in digital economy, innovation and entrepreneurship play a huge role in creating value and prosperity.

“Digital economy is mainly driven by rapid business innovation, using digital technology to deliver new customer value proposition, new business model, new organizational structure, new customer experience, operational excellence and enhanced products and services. This cannot be achieved in isolation; we need innovation ecosystem. It is obvious innovation is not evenly distributed globally but there is something common among all innovative countries, Kashifu Abdullah said.

He went further, “They all have a strong innovation ecosystem. To build a vibrant innovation ecosystem in Nigeria we have keyed into MIT program call REAP – Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program. REAP is a global capstone initiative that provides opportunity for communities to engage with MIT in an evidence-based and practical approach to strengthen innovation ecosystem. This center will serve as a platform for the MIT-REAP initiative.

He said that the center will focus on Innovation Driven Enterprise because it is the game changer when it comes to value and prosperity creation as it is through IDEs the country can have unicorn companies, a privately owned company with more $1B valuation.

“We chose to work with MIT because its economic impact via innovation and entrepreneurship to the global economy is unprecedented. According to the last report MIT alumni have created over 30,000 active companies employing more than 4.6 million people and producing annual revenues of almost $2 trillion which is equivalent to the world’s 10th largest economy, Kashifu Abdullah said.

Dignitaries at the groundbreaking ceremony include The Minister of FCT, Mohammed Musa Bello, Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone Ltd, Prof Abubakar, Managing Director, NigComSat, Mrs Abimbola Alale among others.