ENCOURAGING AFRICAN STARTUP ECOSYSTEM THROUGH TECH INNOVATIONS

By: Agosu ‘Tayo

In his Keynote address at the 9th edition of the German-Nigeria Business Summit held at Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island Lagos, the Special Adviser to the Enugu State Governor on Innovation, Science and Technology Hon. Elvis Obi-Nwankwo made it known that the current administration in Enugu will do everything possible to keep trailing the blaze in the National Tech space as they resolve to extend frontiers from South-East Nigeria to Germany and other parts of Europe.

Quoting from an academic paper prepared by Victoria Ojoagefu Manya titled, Dynamics of a Start-up Ecosystem in Africa: A case study of Yabacon in Nigeria, in which a developmental strategist Mar-Dieye remarked that the way forward for the UN 2030 agenda, is that the entrepreneurial ecosystems (ecosystems) among other things become central to the realization of the United Nation’s SDGs.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Having x-rayed the inherent benefits of encouraging the start-up ecosystem for sustainable growth and development across different facets, Hon. Elvis Obi-Nwankwo while speaking further, said “the reality is that as a Government.

Once again, the administration of Enugu State has demonstrated the resolve to ensure that capacity building especially in the areas of Intellectual and entrepreneurial capacity building is given utmost priority while ensuring that the Nation continually remains relevant in the global scheme of things especially as it has to do with ICT, Block-chain Technology and other innovations while encouraging the sustenance of the startup ecosystem.

We recognize the intrinsic role we must play to energize the Future of Startups in our regional Eco-system, which is why we have over the last one year taken deliberate, steps to galvanize and accelerate impact in Start-up evolution in the state, and in the region as follows:

a) Built, Set-up and activate Two State-of-the-art Tech Hubs in Enugu State; One in Enugu Metropolis and the other at Obolo-Afor Sub-metro city, with a third one coming up before the end of Q1 next year.

b) Built a team of Core Technical-Savvy Special Advisers, Heads of the Technology Hubs to provide strategic advisory support on Innovation and Tech Start-up Ecosystem acceleration strategies, foster Game-changing Partnerships and collaborations with Local and Global Tech Players, investors, and tech Accelerators.


c) Hosted the First-of-its-Kind Tech Start-up Convention this year, in partnership with Start-up South, tagged Start-up South-6, that became the convolution of Local and international Angel Investors, Start-ups at their early-stage product development with the opportunity for pitch-deck sessions, with Big players like Microsoft, Facebook, Tech Cabal, Start-up kai featuring on different panelist-led sessions, Big tech CEOs and players giving key-note presentations, and multiple product Demonstration sessions.

d) The Enugu State Government led by the Special Adviser to his Excellency on Innovation Science and Technology, moved swiftly to agitate and sensitize the South-South, South East Tech Start-up Ecosystem to commence a stakeholder engagement to discuss and promote the National Start-up bill. This Stakeholder engagement was held on Day 2 of the Start-Up South 6 Event Hosted in Enugu. The National Start-up Bill if passed will ultimately give a geometric boost to the Future of the start-up ecosystem in Nigeria.

e) Hosted the First–of–its–kind Block-Chain Conference with Block-chain Hub Africa, where software developers in the Enugu tech Eco System numbering over 600 were in attendance. The event was managed by the Enugu State tech Hub on behalf of the Enugu State Government in partnership with Block-chain Hub Africa.

f) Consequent to the Block-Chain conference, The Enugu State Government has put everything in place to begin her first South-East Block-chain startup Incubator Program before the end of this last Quarter of 2021, that drive Innovation and solutions across Health, Pharma-logistics, Agriculture, Supply Chain, Real Estate, Voting Systems and Gaming on the Blockchain Technology Framework, to mop up the bootstrapped Software developer community in the state and the South East of Nigeria, and turn Enugu into the Champion of all things Block-chain in the South East of Nigeria. Our government intends to extend this incubator program to developers in the Augmented, Virtual, Mixed Reality, and App Development Space too.

g) The Enugu State Government, through its Tech Hub, has opened its borders to Strategic and intrinsic collaborations with Tech Players to grow State and Regional tech talent Infusion and creation within the Start-up Eco-System in Present-day Software learning tracks.

As we speak, The Government is Partnering with Microsoft and Tech4Dev to Infuse 400 women and 200 men every Quarter, totaling 600 participants every quarter, for the next 4 Quarters, on Core Presents day-need based Software learning tracks like Product Design, Data Science and Visualization, Cyber Security, and a few others. The Program was successfully rolled out this month and over 600 participants enrolled.

Digital technologies have spread rapidly. Digital dividends—on the other hand, particularly, the broader development benefits from using these technologies, are still at the emerging status in Africa. In many instances, digital technologies have boosted growth, expanded opportunities, and improved service delivery.

Inclusion, efficiency, innovation are the main mechanisms by which digital technologies promote development, yet their aggregate impact has fallen short and is unevenly distributed.


Technology Hubs by their framework design can increase the aggregate impact and distribution of digital dividends through a process of grooming inclusion, efficiency, and innovation amongst Start-ups in the Eco-system, but we must first endear a clearer understanding of how the incubated and accelerated technology interacts with other, non-technical factors that are important for development.

The high start-up rates for new Tech Hubs, and a deeper dive into the dynamics surrounding surviving tech hubs, provide some insight into determinants of sustainability. To examine why some African tech hubs fail while others flourish, and to explore ways to distribute digital dividends equitably rather than entrenching them amongst an elite few, it may be useful to consider the following three issues:

a) The link between the goals of innovation entities and their organizational and governance structure, which often betrays a disconnect.

b) The degree of public-sector involvement, which may be an asset for sustainability, but not necessarily for organic growth.

c) The value-added provided by different stakeholders.
The Enugu State Government has carefully analyzed these use-cases and scenarios, and have deliberately put into place strategic human resource and a flexible process line to ensure that its input and responsibility to funding and accelerate Tech programs using its Tech Hubs, Promoting Hybrid collaborations and investments with the Private sector space by endorsing partnerships and providing regulatory structures that enhance ease of doing business.

The goal is to play its indispensable role in ensuring a sustainable digital dividend plan, that will power and drive the start-up ecosystem and give the ambiance of haven to startups and investors alike, and make Enugu State the Epi-center of all things Tech and Innovation in southeast Nigeria.

Wrapping up his Keynote Address in his usual confident and optimistic manner, the special adviser said “This is how we will contribute to the Future of Startup Ecosystem in Africa, beginning from our niche, and making Enugu State the foremost technology hub and innovation center in the South-East within the next two years.

Thank you for giving me your uninterrupted attention so far.

God bless Enugu State.
God Bless German- Nigerian Relations.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

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