High-potential start-ups groomed by Edo State skills development agency, EdoJobs, at the Edo Innovation Hub in Benin City, are on a tour of the investment community and innovation hubs across Nigeria, including Lagos, looking to expand their frontier and attract more funds to boost their businesses.
The start-ups are a mix of businesses engaged in renewable energy solutions, agrictech, fashion and e-commerce, and pitched to seed investors and others in the early-stage start-up investment space, including co-founder, Bluechip Technologies, Olumide Soyombo, and CEO of Plus TV Africa, Kayode Akintemi, and many others. Some of the investors played a part in the growth of notable start-ups such as Paystack, Piggybank, among others.
The start-ups also got an opportunity to pitch their ideas at the Elevate Conference, attended by representatives of MTN Plc and other blue-chip companies.
Senior Special Assistant to Edo State Governor on Skills Development and Job Creation, Ukinebo Dare said the trip was to acquaint the start-ups with Nigeria’s bubbling start-up space, get them to attract investment into the state and build their clientele base.
According to Dare, “There is no denying that we have a thriving tech ecosystem in Edo State anchored at the Edo Innovation Hub. We are doing a lot to get the youths at the centre to understand that they are getting the best of training and support. Their trip was to expose them to the larger tech space in Nigeria and also showcase their amazing ideas to the investor network.”
Those on the tour include co-founder, X-crete Initiative, Eghareva Uyiosa; founder, Procode Kids, Lolita Oyibo; founder, Agriployee, Godsent Izinyon, and co-initiator, First Valley Gate Energy, Osarumen Racheal Omoregbe, among others.
They expressed appreciation to the state government for the experience, which has exposed them to the opportunities in Nigeria’s growing tech scene, noting that they were excited on the prospects of getting some funding from the investors who were impressed with their pitches.
Meanwhile, the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has assented to a bill changing the name of the Edo State Institute of Technology and Management (ESITM) to the Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, as part of moves to reposition the institution for greater impact in learning and research.
The Rector of the institution, Abiodun Falodun, a professor, who disclosed this in an interview with journalists, hailed the governor for sustaining efforts at repositioning the institution, noting that the new identity will drive them to work harder towards meeting the expectations of the polytechnic’s founding fathers.
Falodun said, “I will like to convey the appreciation of the Management, staff and students of Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, formerly ESITM to Governor Godwin Obaseki and the state government for the name change. Our new name is now formal. It has been a long time coming and we will like to appreciate the governor and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Kabiru Adjoto for their support.”
He said the management would continue to work towards repositioning the Polytechnic as a forward-looking, trailblasing and research-oriented institution of higher learning, noting: “We are very happy about this development. As has been the tradition here since I came on board, we will continue to work towards contributing to societal development through cutting-edge research and development (R&D), industry-relevant teaching and development-focused community outreaches.”
He urged members of the public and relevant government agencies to take note of the name change, stating that the institution would strengthen the relationship with key agencies of government to further deepen its contribution to national development.
The professor of pharmaceutical chemistry added, “While we appreciate the unflinching support of the above agencies and many others over these last two decades, we assure that the new identity will push us to even work harder to realise and surpass the expectations of the institution’s founding fathers and place it side-by-side with the best polytechnics in the world.”