The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is harnessing the innovative talent of the nation’s youths and providing them with the necessary support to build the required digital skills and viable tech businesses to significantly contribute to job creation and economic prosperity for Nigeria through the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support (TIES) Scheme, in furtherance to the delivery of the President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the administrative ambitious policy of uplifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
The Director General and CEO of NITDA Kashifu Inuwa officially flagged off the TIES Scheme during a hybrid session that took place live at the Venture Park Hub in Abuja while other locations like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Katsina, Kano, and Enugu joined virtually.
While applauding the startups’ stride towards the pursuit of providing solutions to identified gaps in society, he gave a brief narrative of the impact of the startup community on the Nation’s economy within the last two years.
He said, “Nigeria’s flourishing startup ecosystem has continued to attract global attention as evidenced by a total investment of $2.9 billion between 2021 and 2022 as reported by Africa: The Big Deal; the highest raised by any startup ecosystem in Africa.
Additionally, Nigeria is home to 5 unicorn startups out of the 7 in Africa. These and other significant milestones point to the enormous potential of the ecosystem in contributing to creating wealth and economic growth for Nigeria”.
Kashifu additionally noted that President Buhari’s administration had recently enacted the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA), which is aimed at, among others: providing a legal and institutional framework for the development of startups; providing an enabling environment for establishment and operation of startups; to provide opportunities for the development and growth of tech-related talents; and to position Nigeria’s startup ecosystem as the leading digital technology centre in Africa.
He affirmed that the NSA was the outcome of the collaborative efforts of the ecosystem and the Presidency, as spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, under the leadership of the Honourable Minister, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), and a clear pointer to the government’s commitment to developing a more successful and thriving tech ecosystem for the development of Nigeria’s digital economy into a knowledge-based and IT-driven economy.
He further disclosed how NITDA had conceptualised and designed the TIES Scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a capacity-building programme targeted at addressing the digital skills gaps through training for hub managers, provision of incubation work to ensure the massive creation of entrepreneurs and jobs within the ecosystem for young Nigerians.
“As an Agency, we noticed that most of the young talented people who have ideas lack mentorship.” He added that “innovative solutions are needed to tackle the problems in the country which NITDA is helping by creating the avenue that would provide a balance between the innovators and the markets,” he added.
He was optimistic that the TIES Scheme would accelerate the prosperity of the country while enabling NITDA on delivering the target of achieving 95% digital literacy by the year 2030.
The Chairman of the TIES committee Dr Abdullahi Usman Gambo, Director of Information Technology Infrastructure Solutions (ITIS) NITDA expressed his optimism about the success of the program through the support of the industry partners. He said that NITDA is expecting the partners to help achieve the target number of trainers within the stipulated time frame through the train-the-trainer method.
The General Manager of Venture Park Hub Mr Jayeola Okuazun in his remarks expressed his gratitude to the Federal government for providing a bridging gap for your young talented entrepreneurs.
“Our mission is very clear, we are here to build the future of Africa and to be able to do that in my language we speak a lot of proverbs, there is one that says one hand cannot lift a load on one’s head”, indicating that collaborative measures between the Federal Government and the various Hubs would enhance the development of the nation.
Other Tech partners include Quantum Business, Blue Saphire Hub, Venture Park, Young Innovators, and Cherish Enterprise Institute. Mr Okuazun later took the NITDA team on a tour of the facility, showcasing the various opportunities available to young digital natives.