The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has described Nigeria as a fertile ground for startups to thrive in providing solutions that could solve series of challenges faced by the country.
Abdullahi spoke this week from Abuja during a virtual meeting with startups to kick-start a one week Start up Clinic, Kebbi (Online). Kebbi is in the north western part of Nigeria and no less than 400 kilometres away from Abuja. This is the second edition of the programme holding in virtual space and has become the norm since the lockdown caused by COVID 19 in order to keep engaging the tech ecosystem.
While addressing the 18 participants in the Startup Clinic, Kebbi (Online) Abdullahi stated that the “government is aware of the economic benefits and contributions of technology entrepreneurship to the nation’s economy, hence the pursuant of reforms that would bring about improved skills and more competitive digital job market.”
In the last few years, NITDA has aggressively pursued its mandate of building startups through its Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE).
“We are committed to ensuring that you succeed because when startup thrives, jobs are created, local content is promoted and used, peers are inspired to try and a chain reaction is activated,” said Abdullahi who was represented at the occasion by the agency’s Director of Information Technology Infrastructure Solutions, Dr Abdullahi Gambo.
The NITDA boss added that this would gradually move many youths away from job chasers to job creators and dependence on government would reduce with resultant effect of increased Gross Domestic Products, (GDP.)
He reiterated that the development of a thriving and sustainable technology and innovation ecosystem are key keys economic driver for the nation noting that the leadership of the nation is seeking to minimize dependence on oil by diversifying the economy and develop an entirely new industries and also support the existing ones.
While assuring that NITDA would support policies and public-private partnership that would stimulate and sustain the demand for the use of digital platforms, the Abdullahi observed that such policies and partnership would foster growth of innovative technology which would create more jobs and contribute to the GDP of the country.
In his commendation to the participants for their doggedness and determination they have expressed thus far, the NITDA’s boss expressed that their being at the event meant that they are determined to create solutions that tackle the most pressing societal issues. “It also means you have taken on the tedious journey of being innovators and entrepreneurs, he added.
“As a startup, the most popular words you hear include capital, investment, equity and being consistent. All these are important but more importantly, you would require passion. This is because passion keeps you going during the turbulent time. As the lead innovator, if you are not passionate about what your start up has set out to achieve, you are more likely to quit when the chips are down,” he advised.
Abdullahi expressed optimism that the startups would succeed if they take cognisance of what the clinics offered them by evaluating their enterprise and make review to their model where necessary, accessing the mentors and facilitators to help with pro bono professional services, advice and mentorship among others practical approach measures.
In their testimonies, the startups unanimously agreed that the various courses underwent in the last four days have really impacted on their business ideas and redefined their focus on how to achieve success.
Sodiq Abdulfati, an agriculturist innovator said he has discovered the solutions to his major challenge of how to identify target customer with add on the model on how to get the target customer.
“So far, the past four days have been a turning point of my business. I have learnt how to identify people and model that will work in my community.
In her remarks, the National Coordinator, OIIE, Dr Amina Magaji Sambo whose office is saddled with organising the clinics advised the startups to keep engaging with the office through its various social media platforms.
She said that there are many opportunities the start up could benefit from her office adding that the office would soon commence special support scheme and also find way to access the the federal government technological grant which the start ups can also access.