In furtherance of the fulfillment of the present administration’s promise of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has flagged off the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support (TIES) Scheme. The scheme is aimed at harnessing the innovative talent of the youths and providing them with the necessary support to build the required digital skills and viable tech businesses that would significantly contribute to job creation and economic prosperity for Nigeria.

The NITDA’s Director, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE officially flagged off the TIES Scheme during a hybrid session that took place physically at the Venture Park Hub, Abuja while Lagos, Port Harcourt, Katsina, Kano, and Enugu joined virtually.

While applauding the startups’ stride toward the pursuit of providing solutions to the identified gaps in the society, he gave a brief narrative of the impact of the startups on the nation’s economy within the last two years.

He said, “Nigeria’s flourishing startup ecosystem has continued to attract global attention as evidenced by a total investment of $2.9 billion between 2021 and 2022 as reported by Africa: The Big Deal; the highest raised by any startup ecosystem in Africa. Additionally, Nigeria is home to five unicorn companies out of the seven in Africa. These and other significant milestones point to the enormous potential of the ecosystem in contributing to creating wealth and economic growth for Nigeria.’’

Inuwa noted further that, President Buhari’s administration had recently enacted the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA), which is aimed at, among others: providing a legal and institutional framework for the development of startups; providing an enabling environment for the establishment and operation of startups; to provide opportunities for the development and growth of tech-related talents; and to position Nigeria’s startup ecosystem as the leading digital technology center in Africa.

He affirmed that the Act was the outcome of the collaborative efforts of the Presidency and the ecosystem as spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, under the leadership of the Honourable Minister, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), and a clear pointer to the government’s commitment to developing a more successful and thriving tech ecosystem for the development of Nigeria’s digital economy sector.

He further disclosed how NITDA had conceptualised and designed the TIES Scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a capacity-building programme targeted at addressing the digital skills gaps through training for hub managers, provision of incubation work to ensure massive creation of entrepreneurs and jobs within the ecosystem for young Nigerians.

He said, “As an Agency, we noticed that most of the young talented people who have ideas lack mentorship.” He added that “innovative solutions are needed to tackle the problems in the country which NITDA is helping by creating the avenue that would provide a balance between the innovators and the markets.”

He was optimistic that the TIES Scheme would accelerate the prosperity of the country while enabling NITDA on delivering the target of achieving 95% digital literacy by the year 2030.

The Chairman of the TIES committee and NITDA’s Director, Information Technology Infrastructure Solutions (ITIS) Dr. Abdullahi Usman Gambo, expressed optimism about the success of the program through the support of the industry partners.

He said that NITDA is expecting the partners to help achieve the target number of trainers within the stipulated time frame through the train-the-trainer method.

The General Manager, Venture Park Hub Mr. Jayeola Okuazun in his remarks expressed his gratitude to the Federal Government for the intent of bridging the gap that exists in the ecosystem.

“Our mission is very clear, we are here to build the future of Africa, and for us to do that, there is need for collaborative measures between the Federal Government and the various Hubs.

Other tech partners include Quantum Business, Blue Saphire Hub, Young Innovators, and Cherish Enterprise Institute.

By, Yewande Foluke, Bassey