The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has awarded three startups with $37,000 ( about N29,193,000)in cash prices in a move to propelling Nigeria into the digital era.
NITDA celebrated its Idea hatch (ihatch) Cohort Two’s graduation and also marked the launch of the third cohort, where it gave three startups from the second cohort cash prizes, demonstrating NITDA’s commitment to fueling digital transformation in the country.
Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the Director General of NITDA in his keynote speech at the event held in Abuja, disclosed that NITDA’s ihatch initiative showcased tangible results, with startups from the first cohort securing grants and investments totaling over $274,000. These ventures have already created 179 direct jobs, underscoring the programme’s immediate impact on employment and economic growth.
“Our partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been instrumental. Plans for an innovation hub and potential talent exchange with Japan are steps towards further global integration.” Abdullahi said as he emphasized the importance of global collaboration in IT innovation, citing JICA’s support in building an innovation hub.
The agency sees this as a gateway to not only enhance local initiatives but also explore opportunities to export Nigerian talents to Japan.
“I believe we can create more jobs. If with one location only in Abuja, in less than 16 months, we have created 179 direct jobs. By the time we expand it to 36 locations plus Abuja making it 37, that means we can create thousands of jobs” he said as he announced the expansion of ihatch to four additional locations of Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Kano and Gombe, demonstrating NITDA’s commitment to reaching more regions within Nigeria.
Abdullahi challenged participants to contribute to building a mentoring platform, promising NITDA’s support, and urged JICA to consider expanding the initiative to cover all 36 states plus the Federal Capital Territory.
“I want to use this opportunity to challenge the participants, let us build a platform for you to continue mentoring others and for each cohort. And this can be a platform that can provide skills, solutions to problems and other things. So NITDA will fund anybody with idea on how to build that platform” he said.
Abdullahi disclosed NITDA’s strategic pillars to include digital literacy, a robust research ecosystem, policy implementation, inclusive access to digital infrastructure, and strategic partnerships.
The agency’s efforts culminated in the ihatch initiative, training 16 startups across two cohorts and creating a platform for innovation and entrepreneurship.