In the last five to six years, Nigeria has seen a huge growth in tech investments from deep pocket individuals and foreign investors who have strong belief in the untapped potentials of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigeria – a sector that has been acknowledged as the largest generator of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) after the oil and gas industry, recording over $32 billion on foreign investments in 2018.
More so, research has proven that one of the ways for rapid economic growth is through digital and industrial development through invention and innovation, especially by the youths.
As a result, General Electric, the world’s premier digital industrial company, through its GE Lagos Garage in partnership with Youth for Technology Foundation’s 3D Africa program, hosted a pitch and networking session in Lags for local youth-led technology start-ups and entrepreneurs to assist them in reaching their maximum potentials.
Tagged ‘Building a Viable Hardware Ecosystem in Nigeria’, the pitch session which held at the GE Lagos Garage in Lagos on Friday, 22 March 2019, featured youth-led technology start-ups and scale-ups from Nigeria, and offered them the opportunity of presenting their pitches before Philippe De Backer, the Belgian minister of Digital Agenda, and his Silicon Lagoon Mission, as well as local and international entrepreneurs, investors, representatives from private-sector companies, and non-profits.
De Backer, who was accompanied by a delegation of Belgian start-ups, entrepreneurs, non-profits and the press, said he was in Nigeria with the mission to connect with the country’s vibrant technology start-up community in Lagos; explore partnership potentials and raise awareness about digital for development opportunities in Africa’s most prominent tech hub.
Apart from the pitch presentations, participants also had the opportunity to network with players in youth-led start-ups and scale-ups in the technology space, entrepreneurs, investors, private sector companies and academics amongst others.
Patricia Obozuwa, director, communications and public affairs, GE Africa, said GE is happy to have partnered with Youth for Technology for the session.
“At the GE, we are passionate about empowering Nigerian entrepreneurs with relevant skills to compete on a global scale, and this is what we have been doing through our GE Lagos Garage, and we happy for this opportunity to work with Youth for Technology’s 3D Africa. Their vision aligns with ours, and we are happy to say that as critical stakeholders, we have made our contributions to Lagos’ and Nigeria ’s vibrant technology start-up communities,” she said.
Also speaking, Njideka Harry, CEO, Youth for Technology Foundation/3D Africa, said the session was in continuation of the organisation’s objective of equipping the next generation with necessary skills to excel in the world of work.
“It is about empowering the next generation of leaders to enter the workforce with the skills they need to access employment or create their entrepreneurial opportunities in the fourth industrial revolution. Our programs utilise technology to inspire youth and women in developing nations to create innovative solutions to the challenges they encounter, and we are pleased to have been able to collaborate with GE Garage for this initiative,” she said.
Harry added that the YTF’s 3D Africa would not relent in its quest to change Africa’s narrative from dependence on foreign technology to being self-sustaining through “meeting the increased global demand for emerging and disruptive technologies, like 3D printing.”
Frederik Tibau, director of international relations, Startup.be, and Vanden Eynde, founder and CEO, Close the Gap, were also among the Belgian delegation at the pitching and networking session.
Jumoke Akiyode Lawanson