Stakeholders in Nigeria’s innovation ecosystem have called for increased collaboration among players and startups to drive investment and sustained growth.
Speaking during the ‘ISN gathering 2023’, organised by the Innovation Support Network (ISN), with the theme ‘Unlocking potential: Collaborating for growth and impact,’ the stakeholders said that the global economy has continued to contend with new challenges that could only be addressed through innovative actions and collaboration.
Kashifu Abdullahi, director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), noted that innovation which encompasses the development of ideas and engineering of solutions was a series of procedures that could not be completed by one person or organisation, hence the need for collaboration.
According to him, it is imperative for the government at all levels to provide a supportive environment for young people to develop innovative skills that could be used in creating indigenous solutions to Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges.
He said, “For entrepreneurial potential and creative business abilities to be fully realised, Nigerian youths need a supportive atmosphere. The tech industry which thrives on collaboration, calls for increased stakeholder involvement by establishing innovation centres. Stakeholders can work together to support the development of more Innovation-Driven Enterprises (IDEs) in Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, “Over 60 percent of global innovation now involves some form of cross-organisational collaboration. In addition, a 2020 report by Microsoft indicates that over 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on Microsoft Cloud services, illustrating how digital collaboration is driving business operations and innovation.
“These statistics are indicative of the fact that the world is increasingly becoming interconnected, interdependent, and collaborative. Therefore, collaboration is no longer an option, but a necessity for progress and growth.”
Speaking further, Abdullahi noted that through strategic local and international relationships, NITDA has continued to work towards the realisation of its overarching mandate, which is to ensure that Nigeria becomes the top global hub for digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
He said that incentivising innovation hubs was an important means of accelerating the creation of more IDEs that would address local and global problems, create more jobs and wealth, and contribute to our economic growth and prosperity.
“Recognising collaboration as the dominant component for the digital transformation of our economy, NITDA is unrelenting in its promotion of an environment suitable for all stakeholders to collaboratively grow and impact the digital innovation ecosystem. The role of the agency is manifested through various enabling policies, guidelines, and strategies,” he said.
Maryam Lawan, the corporate director at the ISN, said that the conference was aimed at providing the right platform for entrepreneurial development.
“That is why we are coming together to see how we can be able to ensure that innovation thrives in the ecosystem, this is also an avenue to foster and nurture talents and also to provide access to knowledge, resources and relevant networks.
“But beyond that, it also gives access to investment opportunities. We have registered hubs across the country that link startups to investors.”