The Federal Government on Wednesday indicated that it was determined to drive youth entrepreneurship in the country through the use of and skills acquisition in technology.
Giving the assurance at the Student Innovation Challenge (SIC) South West regional demo day held at the University of Lagos, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed that government had concluded plans to build technological hubs in the six geopolitical zones to prepare Nigerian youths for global competitiveness.
Osinbajo explained that best of technological companies started from the universities and this accounted for why government decided to build technology hubs in the six geopolitical zones, starting at the University of Lagos.
“Everybody knows where the smart money is looking and we all know that the universities are the best place to get the very best talents because we believe it is what is needed to shape the future of the country”, Osinbajo said.
To achieve the objective, the Vice President confirmed that government was already partnering with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bank of Industry (BoI) and other agencies to encourage Nigerian students on innovative ideas.
He explained:“We have partnered with UNDP, BoI, MTN and other agencies to organise the student challenge to find the best of students’ innovation, technology ideas, and creative ideas from students across Nigeria.
“We want to gather many of the great ideas as much as possible for them to get a chance to be supported or tested commercially. It is absolutely the exciting time to be alive. The best days are here and the future is here”, the Vice President added.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr. Olukayode Pitan, pointed out that the technology sector was a budding industry with enormous developmental potential to harness the innovation and ingenuity of the nation’s young population for national development.
The banking expert said: “It is laudable that this platform allows the younger generation to showcase entrepreneurial insight, talent and innovation. Our vision is to transform Nigeria’s industrial sector by providing financial and business support services to enterprises.
“I am elated that BoI is associated with the Student Innovation Challenge (SIC) because the initiative is a testament of the current paradigm shift being witnessed in Nigeria’s technology and business ecosystem.
“The challenge is particularly worthy of commendation because it is focused on students in tertiary institutions and creates access that allows the youth to brainstorm on entrepreneurial and innovative ideas. This platform creates access to actualize your ideas, do not misuse it”, Pitan stressed.
He encouraged students whose ideas were not selected not to be discouraged but to go back and re-strategize for future opportunities that may be created through the project.