The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has opened application for eligible Nigerians to apply for its technology innovation and entrepreneurship scheme – a capacity building programme for hub managers, young Nigerians and innovative startups to spur digital job creation and economic growth.
The portal for application is already live and will close 12:00 midnight on 24th of July, 2020. Interested and eligible candidates should apply via https://scholarship.nitda.gov.ng/tiess
Building capacity in hubs
NITDA is concerned with the fact that hubs in Nigeria suffer from issues of capacity deficiency such as ability to support startups, poor infrastructure and high cost of running their operations even as the COVID-19 pandemic bites.
The agency is using the scheme to build support systems that will aid in reducing the barriers of entry for startups while increasing the capacity of hubs and startups to create new bankable products and services.
The scheme is also designed around President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to create 100 million jobs in 10 years by provisioning opportunities for building the capacity of both hub owners and startups, to ensure massive creation of technology entrepreneurs and jobs within the Industry.
The programme is operating within the framework of the digital economy policy to ensure that hub managers have the required skills-set to support digital startups and build innovation ecosystems in their localities; ultimately, to foster national innovation, technology and entrepreneurship skills among Nigerian youths.
Part of the objectives of the scheme are to encourage local content solutions-based products and services; and to increase the potential for job creation in the innovation and technology sector.
The scheme training schedule covers hub upskilling; technical capacity building, incubation and internship programmes.
The hub managers that will be selected are to sign an agreement with NITDA to train upcoming hub managers within the region they come from, and equip them with the skills to run a hub, support innovative startups and build an innovation ecosystem in their localities.
This is a programme is expected to support ideas stage startups to move from ideas to market. It will be implemented in partnership with the hubs that are part of the programme. The participants will be assigned to hubs, where they will get access to infrastructure, such as internet connectivity, power supply and a rich network of other innovators. The participants will also be matched with mentors and guided by coaches as they build out their products and services.
At the end of the training, participants will be required to choose if they would like to run a startup or if they would like to get a job. Those interested in vying to run a startup will be moved into the incubation programme, while those that need a job will be moved to the job matching/internship programme.
Those that opt for this track will undergo a 6-month internship with the startups in the incubation programme or in other organisations to allow them to hone their skills and gain practical work experience in the process.