With the vision to support entrepreneurs to bring their business ideas to reality and nurture emerging companies, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has opened a Unicorn incubation campus in Lagos,
Unicorn is a pan-African investment company targeting innovative ideas, start-ups and early-stage companies in the technology and technology-enabled sectors with a view to facilitating the achievement of the vision of the owners and making them contribute meaningfully to national economic development.
In his remarks after being conducted round the state-of-the-art facilities at the investment hub located in the Yaba area of Lagos, Sylva admonished Africans, particularly Nigerians, to eschew what he described as a culture of complaining, and take practical steps to better their lot, help others to overcome their challenges and work for the growth of the country.
“I am overwhelmed by what I have seen today. For the first time, I am seeing the right thing being done. The colonial masters came and focused on our resources, which they took away, but the main resource that Africa has is human resource. Developing our human resource is the way to go. This is the beginning of the right road.”
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who lauded the project, said: “Through the various Unicorn incubation programmes held across Africa in the past few years, African youths and entrepreneurs have had the opportunity to align their raw ideas in line with global relevance and innovation while receiving due tutelage and mentorship from global business leaders with multi-million dollar businesses. The incubation programmes have tested the assumptions and ideas of our African youths and refined them into globally competitive innovations.”
The governor, who was represented by his wife, Mrs. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said to adequately harness the potentials in African youths, the leaders must begin to embrace entrepreneurship and innovative solutions in fintech, edutech, e-health and many more.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of UNICORN, Dr. Akintoye Akindele, who conducted the guests around the facilities, said people with rich ideas could bring them to the centre and readily have access to investors, partners, finance and resources, particularly technologies.
“Unicorn is about exploring the capital that is housed in the mind of Africans. It is about local content, solving Africa’s problems through innovation and entrepreneurship,” Akindele said.
Other dignitaries at the event include Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote; Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede; his University of Lagos counterpart, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe and Dr. Wuraola Abiola.