Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), a global non-profit organisation and the initiator of the 3D African program has partnered with GE Lagos Garage and the Belgian government to boost the business activities of tech startups that are led by young people.
At an event with the theme ‘Building a Viable Hardware Ecosystem in Nigeria’, selected youth-led tech startups faced off before judges and potential investors including the Belgian Minister of Digital Agenda, Phillippe De Backer and his Silicon Lagoon Mission delegation as well as the local investment community.
“It is about empowering the next generation of leaders to enter the workforce with the skills they need to access employment of create their entrepreneurial opportunities in the fourth industrial revolution,” says Njideka Harry, CEO of YTF. “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.”
Apart from pitch presentations, the Solvay Business School of Belgium also showcased entrepreneurial projects related to student trade missions and internships and participants had opportunities to network with players in youth-led startups and scale-ups in the tech space.
De Backer explained that the Belgian delegation was in Nigeria to connect with the country’s vibrant tech community in Lagos, explore partnership potentials, and raise awareness about Digital for Development (D4D) opportunities.
Harry reiterated 3D Africa’s mission to change the narrative in Africa from dependence on foreign technology to being self-sustaining through “meeting the increased global demand for emerging and disruptive technologies, like 3D Printing.”
Patricia Obozuwa, director, Communications and Public Affairs, GE Africa said there was an alignment of vision between the foundation and the company.
“This is what we have been doing through GE Lagos Garage and we are happy for this opportunity to work with Youth for Technology’s 3D Africa,” she said. “We are happy to say that as critical stakeholders, we have made our contributions to Lagos and Nigeria’s vibrant technology startup communities.
The Belgian Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Daniel Dargent, Director of International Relations, Startup.be, Frederik Tibau, and founder and CEO, Close-the-Gap, Olivier Vanden Eynde were also among the Belgian delegation at the pitching and networking session.