The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has officially flagged off the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support (TIES) Scheme to help deliver on President Muhammadu Buhari’s ambitious policy of uplifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
The scheme was launched by the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, during a recent hybrid session that took place live at the Venture Park Hub in Abuja. The ceremony was virtually hooked up with other locations like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Katsina, Kano, and Enugu.
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TIES aims to harness the innovative talent of Nigerian youths and provide them with the necessary support to build the required digital skills and viable tech businesses in a way that could significantly contribute to job creation and economic prosperity for millions of young people.
According to Abdullahi,“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 startups 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.”
The NITDA boss lauded strides achieved by startups to provide solutions to identified gaps in the society as he briefly narrate the impact of the startup community on the Nigeria’s economy in the last two years.
He said President Buhari’s recent signing of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA) has helped to provide legal and institutional frameworks for the development of startups ecosystem.
The new law will offer an enabling environment for set up and operation of innovative enterprises; provide opportunities for development of tech-related talents; and position Nigeria’s startup ecosystem as hub for digital technology in Africa, he added even as he affirmed that the NSA was the outcome of the collaboration that involved tech community and the Presidency, spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy under Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.
He said NITDA had designed the TIES Scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic as a capacity building programme to address the digital skills gaps through trainings for hub managers, provision of incubation work to ensure massive creation of entrepreneurs and jobs for young Nigerians.
His words: “As an agency, we noticed that most of the young talented people who have ideas lack mentorship. Iinnovative 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 expressed optimism that the TIES Scheme would accelerate the prosperity of the country and help NITDA deliver on its target of 95% digital literacy by 2030.
The Chairman of the TIES committee, Dr. Abdullahi Usman Gambo, who is also the Director of Information Technology Infrastructure Solutions (ITIS), NITDA expressed similar conviction.
Acccording to him, the scheme is bound for success through the support of the industry partners and NITDA is expecting the partners to help achieve the target number of trainers within the stipulated time frame through the train-the-trainer method.
“Our mission is very clear, we are here to build the future of Africa and to be able to do that in my language we speak a lot of proverbs, there is one that says one hand cannot lift a load on one’s head”, indicating that collaborative measures between the Federal Government and the various Hubs would enhance the development of the nation,” said General Manager of Venture Park Hub, Mr. Jayeola Okuazun.
Other Tech partners include Quantum Business, Blue Saphire Hub, Young Innovators, and Cherish Enterprise Institute.