• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Experts seek innovation ecosystem that supports start-ups, create jobs

Experts seek innovation ecosystem that supports start-ups, create jobs

An innovation ecosystem that would drive the adoption of disruptive technologies and support early-stage start-ups will save Nigeria over $100 billion in forex and generate employment, experts have said.

The experts spoke during the launch of the Nigeria hardware ecosystem map held physically and virtually at Clintonel Innovation Centre (CIC) Aba recently.

According to them, there is a need to pay serious attention to developing the hardware sector, if the nation must experience meaningful development, create jobs and improve livelihoods.

To support the development of the hardware industry, the Nigeria hardware ecosystem launched an online map that connects indigenous hardware, engineering, manufacturing companies to customers, investors, partners, and end-users.

The launch was graced by important stakeholders in the Nigerian and African technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The map collates data, understands the ecosystem, showcases players in the ecosystem, enhances collaboration, advertises hardware-related businesses, and facilitates the growth of the hardware ecosystem.

Read also: African startups seen growing on Microsoft’s funding support initiatives

The data collection was started at the convention and later extended as an online survey. The mapping project has been completed and launched to the public.

Tochukwu Chukwueke, founder of CIC added that the Nigerian Hardware Ecosystem Map was implemented by the centre to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

According to him, fostering an environment that encourages entrepreneurship should be a core focus of economic development.

He explained that the map would guide entrepreneurs and investors to find opportunities for creating value that has not been exploited.

Chukwueke continued that CIC is a solar-powered Hardware Startup Incubator which l provides training, mentoring, and equipment for young people to create engineering innovations, build indigenous products and start-up technology businesses.

According to him, Clintonel has trained over 600 young persons in Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Renewable (Solar) Energy, and entrepreneurship.

“We have trained over 1,000 secondary school students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) using indigenous STEM kits developed by Clintonel. Hardware Startups incubated by Clintonel are now producing different indigenous products, employing several young persons and helping to reduce poverty in Nigeria.”

Through Engineering for Industry (E4I) a national programme designed to bridge the engineering skills gap in Nigeria, he said Clintonel is partnering with tertiary institutions nationwide delivering industry-based capacity building for engineering lecturers, students and fresh graduates.

So far, he maintained that over 570 engineering lecturers and students have been trained under E4I. In addition, he noted that Clintonel was also working towards building medical equipment in Nigeria, in partnership with University College London (UCL) and COVIDaction (UKaid).

He further added that Clintonel has worked with different partners such as PIND Foundation, ACT Foundation, Royal Academy of Engineering, Ford Foundation, Autodesk, ATOM, GEMINI, UKaid, UCL, among others. Clintonel is a licensed Autodesk Learning Partner (ALP) and Authorised Testing Centre (ATC) for different International Certifications on Technical and Engineering Skills.

The launch was graced by important stakeholders in the Nigerian and African technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem. These include AfriLabs, Innovation Support Network (ISN),
Africa Makerspace Network, Hardware Nigeria Community( HNC ), UNDP Accelerator Lap Nigeria, Abia Tech Community, Start UpSouth, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), South-South South East Angel Network (SSEAN) among others.

Nine of the speakers were including; Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, president, ISPON; Daniel Chinagozi, board member, AfriLabs; Fayo Williams, board member, ISN; Emmanuel Odunlade, principal solutions architect, Hinge; Nkemdirim Ogbuaku, founder, Shared Insights; Uche Aniche, director, SSEAN; Ugo Okafor, design director, Arcepa; Nneka Ukay, executive secretary, ISN, and Tochukwu Chukwueke, founder, Clintonel Innovation Centre and Hardware Nigeria Community