BusinessDay

Union Bank’s hub, SpaceNXT to boost collaboration in tech ecosystem

Union Bank has said that its new tech innovation hub, SpaceNXT would foster collaboration in the technology ecosystem in Nigeria.

The hub was unveiled to the press during the maiden Nigeria Innovation Talks (NiX), as part of activities for the weeklong Nigeria Innovation Summit in Lagos.

Efunbolanle Hughes, Team Lead, Digital Innovation at Union Bank Nigeria, said the hub was created as a nest for innovators to encourage collaboration within the tech ecosystem in Nigeria.

“SpaceNXT is not limited in innovation. We work with partners to innovate on solutions that we are deploying in the market. At the same time, we are open to the public like our demo lab is open to users to test their ideas. We also have community-based events – where we invite experts to meet with young experts,” Hughes said. “It is a launching pad for innovators to collaborate, develop and improve on ideas around digital systems and technology.”

The participants at the NiX explored how development in tech has transformed the models of work and how the innovation ecosystem is adjusting to the current realities.

Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said that the government has taken critical steps to harness the potential of its digital economy through co-created regulations and provide enabling environment for growth.

The EVC who spoke through DAustine Nwaulune, Director, Digital Economy at the Commission, reemphasized that since the renaming of the Federal Ministry of Communications to Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami and heads of agencies under the Ministry are working assiduously to make the digital economy sector more attractive to innovators.

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He added that steps to provide cover for the startup ecosystem are now at the final stage as the recently passed Nigeria Startup Bill by National Assembly will help institutionalize legal frameworks that will enhance the growth of startups easily, quickly, and conveniently in the country.

Akoh Ochai, Head of Channels, Digital, and Innovation at Union Bank, said that as a traditional financial institution that is leveraging on technology, the enormous possibilities tech portends have made the institution more open to ideas and innovation which would open up better opportunities

“As a bank that provides financial services and also leverages technology, although we are a traditional bank, we are also a fintech and we also know that there is a point where we have to put out a proposition where we can attract team leads, creators, and where we can actually collaborate and do a lot of inspiring things together and hopefully scale,” Ochai said.

“So for us, it is a statement to say that we focus on tech and innovation to build a community of experts and also interact with collaborators of people in the ecosystem. We would continue to do what we are doing and we would be collaborating to see how we can actually build solutions,” he said.

Abinoro Akporode Collins, painter, and sculptor, noted that with the growth of traditional methods of work, the world has grown to become a marketplace where the need to create value is the essential element of the future.

“When you have a product or an idea, you need an environment where it can be nurtured. It is not just materially but realising success for isn’t in figures but how much you are able to impact people,” he said.

Unyime Etura, Area Operations Manager, Lagos at SYNLAB Nigeria, said that from SYNLAB Nigeria’s network of medical professionals to the state-of-the-art equipment they offer only the best laboratory services.

“SYNLAB has the largest, most comprehensive test offering in Africa. We are able to support our doctors and our patients in ways not possible before. Together, we are building a stronger healthcare system in Nigeria and we are open to working with innovators in the health-tech space to be part of the change”, Etura said.

This year’s Nigeria Innovation Summit (NIS) is themed: “Re-imagining Innovation”, with key highlights including the novel Nigeria Innovation Experience Talks (NiX Talks); Press Parley, Innovation Tours, Innovation Awards, the Grand Summit, and Private Dinner with key C-Suites, stakeholders & policymakers.

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