The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) of Nigeria has launched the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support (TIES) Scheme in a bid to transform the country into a knowledge-based and IT-driven economy, to provide opportunity and build capacity of both Hub Managers and Technology startups to ensure massive creation of entrepreneurs and jobs within the ecosystem.
The TIES Scheme which is in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) was unveiled by Kashifu Inuwa, the Director General and CEO of NITDA, at a hybrid session that was held virtually with participants from Lagos, Port Harcourt, Katsina, Kano, and Enugu while taking place live at the Venture Park Hub in Abuja.
He delivered a brief story of the impact of the startup community on the Nation’s economy during the past two years while praising the businesses’ efforts to fill recognized holes in society.
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: to provide a legal and institutional framework for the development of startups; to provide 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 center in Africa.
He affirmed that the NSA was the result of the ecosystem’s and the Presidency’s collaborative efforts, which were led by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, which is headed by Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami). It also serves as a strong indicator of the government’s commitment to building a more prosperous and successful tech ecosystem in order to transform Nigeria’s digital economy into a knowledge-based and IT-driven economy.
He also explained how, during the COVID-19 pandemic, NITDA conceptualized and created the TIES Scheme as a capacity-building program to address the digital skills gap by providing training for hub managers and 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 expressed hope that the TIES Scheme would hasten 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 and Director of Information Technology Infrastructure Solutions (ITIS) NITDA, Dr. Abdullahi Usman Gambo, stated his confidence in the program’s ability to succeed with the help of the industry partners.
According to him, NITDA is counting on the partners to use the train-the-trainer approach to help reach the goal number of trainers within the allotted time frame.
In his remarks, Mr. Jayeola Okuazun, General Manager of Venture Park Hub, thanked the federal government for bridging the gap for young, brilliant 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.