Special Assistant to Nigeria’s Vice President on Innovation and Entrepreneur, Mr. Ife Adebayo, Saturday, stated that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has worked with private sector to set up four technology incubation hubs, and engaged with over 10 other hubs in the country.
In a response to a tweet from one @JajaPhD questioning Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s statement that the current administration has built six tech hubs, the Presidential aide noted that the ex-President Goodluck Jonathan administration set up one hub in four years, which was eventually shut down due to lack of support from the same administration.
According to him, the failure of the past administration in establishing just one hub was a “good learning point for the present government” which in three years, has recorded huge achievement in the technology sector.
Mr. Bosun Tijani of CcHub, and an expert in the tech space, added that two hubs were fully seed (Lagos and Tinapa) by the past administration but failed due to the inability of the then government to allow private players to run it.
“It was never clear whether the folks in Abuja quite understood the concept of the obligation. By and large, any decent accelerator takes approximately 3 classes to crack the code. Pretty clear IDEAHub never got its total agreed upon cash support.
“It was a bad idea expecting government money to run it in the first place. The set up cost for hubs are typically the biggest pain. It should have been seeded and handed out. The DNA of idea hub was wrong from start. It didn’t take six months for diesel to start running out,” Tijani narrated.
In a series of tweets, Mr. Adebayo explained that the National Social Investments Program working with Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), engaged with private sector players to seeing to the implementation of government footprint and direct and indirect interventions in the tech ecosystem.
His tweets: “In the North East, in partnership with development partners, private sector & universities, we setup @Northeast_iHub, focused on providing innovative solutions to humanitarian challenges in the region. Today the hub is 3D printing prosthesis for amputees among other amazing things.
“In the North Central & South East, we worked with @vplatformhub and @genesystechhub to run programs (Hackathons, Bootcamps, Incubation, Business support, startup finance etc). The businesses generated millions in revenue and millions in convertible business leads.
“The Startup companies supported have employed an average of 4 people within the one-month incubation program. The citizens are more aware and inspired to launch startups and the program had a total combined reach of over 10,000 persons in just 2 months.
“In the North West, a hub is in line to receive a $500k World Bank grant, and engaging with other hubs in the region to run a similar program as the North Central and South East. Hubs in other regions are also in line to receive the funds.
“In the South West, working with private sector players and the Ondo State government, in particular the office of @OlumbeAKinkugbe, we setup @premierhubng; focused on supporting start -ups in agriculture, manufacturing, ICT etc. The hub is currently running programs supporting regional start ups.
“In Lagos, in partnership with the @EDC4SME of the Lagos Business School, we set up the @nigeriacic as part of the World Bank’s Climate Technology Program. The center is focused on supporting climate smart businesses, research on climate change & its impact, data & analytics etc.”
The Presidential aide further revealed that conversations are currently ongoing with partners to set up an MIT Supply Chain Lab in Abuja, to focus on supporting supply chain & logistics programs, start ups and MSMEs, research and data on supply chain issues in Nigeria.
“Working with Google, the Office of the Senior Special Assiatant on Sustainable Development Goals, and partners like @MindThe_GapNG, have successfully trained over 500,000 Nigerians in digital skills in 2016/17.
“Other hubs like @CivicLab have run various programs that have received government’s support, Civic is currently running the Student Innovation Center programs across the country. And this has already been launched in the Ado Bayero University in Kano & University of Lagos. Enugu is next,” he added.
Adebayo further stressed that all hub engagements are private sector driven.
“Learning from the issues of the ONE hub setup by the last admin in FOUR years, we run programs that are private sector driven, and data/evidence drives every action. This is why we have partners like the World Bank, Google, development partners, institutions like universities and polytechnics etc working with our private sector partners. The hubs are able to leverage on Govt’s convening power to bring together these partners.
Everything done was based on evidence. First thing we did was with @dalbergtweet, & development partner funding, we developed the “Strategic Framework & Implementation Plan for Job Creation”. This was the foundation for everything we did.
“One of the sectors prioritized was ICT. We then ran a regional innovation mapping, which produced the “Innovation as a Catalyst for Growth” report. This report formed the foundation for engagement with hubs and other ecosystem players in the country.
“Also, as part of the Aso Villa Demo day program, an initial 79 Start Ups received first tranche of start up finance of approximately $1.5million dollars, more than 50 of them have received a second tranche, bringing total start up funds support disbursement to about $2.5m.”