Lagos Govt, Eko Innovation Centre chart course towards startup funding and empowerment of entrepreneurs

The Lagos government and Eko Innovation Centre, together with other experts from the Art Of Technology Lagos 3.0, have provided tips for start-ups on how to get funding.

AOT Lagos 3.0 Photo 3

The platform was also used to support young entrepreneurs and tech entrepreneurs with equity investments and other support programs to help them succeed in the business world.

The hybrid AOT Lagos 3.0 conference, curated by Eko Innovation Centre, was held on 3 and 4 December 2021 at the Oriental Hotel Victoria Island. It had as its theme “Funding & a Connected Lagos”.

The crème de la crème in government, as well as other experts in the technology ecosystem, spoke to investors readiness, intellectual property, startup bills, and other regulations. They also discussed policy formulations for startups in the tech ecosystem.

Prof. Isa Ali Pantami from Nigeria, the minister of Communication and Digital Economy spoke via a virtual platform. He praised Lagos and Eko Innovation Centre in making Nigeria the Silicon Valley of Africa. The centre stated that it would continue supporting the state’s quest for greater success.

He said that technology is changing the world and that the ICT sector was crucial for the country’s recovery from recession.

Therefore, he urged startups to use technology to improve their operations to grow their businesses remarkably.

He said that the government was determined to support the growth of startups and businesses, especially with the many agencies working together to finance and grow them.

He also pointed out that the country is home to most venture capitalists. The Startup bill, currently being considered by the Federal Executive council, will help to accelerate Startup growth when it becomes law.

Apart from Pantami, experts at the conference noted that they believe that the bill, when it becomes law, will help create an enabling environment for growth and attraction of investments in tech startups.

Babajide Sanwo Olu, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, stated that his administration had been careful about using technology to improve governance and has been funding technology in line with its smart-city agenda, which has helped the state become the 5th largest African economy.

He said that the state is using technology for everything, from traffic management to security, and to support businesses with funding.

Sanwo-Olu stated that the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council, (LASRIC), raised the bar in assisting Lagos in achieving its smart-city agenda. This includes making Lagos a 21st-century economy and transiting to a smart city through the application and funding of innovators.

Art of Technology (AOT Lagos) is Nigeria’s largest tech conference. It brings together key stakeholders from both the public and private sectors to discuss policy and initiatives that will lead to a more digitally efficient, smarter, and more competitive Lagos.

AOT Lagos 3.0 had also experts in technology, finance, and business.

Some of the keynote speakers who dissected the theme and subthemes are Ola Williams, Country Manager, Microsoft; Dr. Andrew S. Nevin, Financial Services Leader & Chief Economist (PWC, NG); Olukayode Pitan, MD/CEO, Bank of Industry; Kola Aina, Founder, Ventures Platform; Tomi Davies, Collaborator-In-Chief, TVC Labs; and Aishah N. Ahmad, Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability Directorate, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) among other experts who will be speaking during panel sessions.

Some of the outcomes of deliberations include calls for more government support for startups, including funding, friendly policies and leveraging technology.

Eight startups presented their products in a Collaborate Lagos segment of AOT Lagos 3.0. They were eligible to receive equity investments up to $100k from Eko innovation centre.

Collaborate Lagos is an initiative to promote the best startups in Lagos. The 8 selected startups were presented to 50 VCs and a global audience.

Remember that Mr Victor Gbenga Afolabi was the Curator of Art of Technology Lagos 3.0, and the Founder of Eko Innovation Centre. He had previously reported that “Over time, we get blown over by the number of startups for Collaborate Lagos.

“This year, we received 168 high-quality applications. We are fortunate to have the best minds to assist with difficult task.

These are the startups that will pitch this year

  • Drugstore.ng
  • ThinkBikes,
  • Healthstack,
  • Eko Carbon Exchange
  • Retailer,
  • Vinsighte,
  • EonsFleet
  • SabiTeach

These creative ideas address local problems and aim to expand globally. “Good luck to the few”

After the pitching, three judges selected the winners. SabiTeach won third place with N250,000, Retailer came second with 500,000, and Vinsighte took the first spot with N1,000,000. The event also saw the presentation of cheques to LASRIC grant beneficiaries.

Afolabi stated that the African startup scene has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. Albert said that many startups in Africa are still struggling to get funding for their ventures which is why the conference was held over two days. “Our conference had made decisions which have irreversibly impacted Lagos State.”

Two-day AoT Lagos 3.0 summit built on last year’s success. It saw a significant turnout, both physically and virtually. This added to its phenomenon status.

He recalled the maiden edition, which was held in 2019, and had over 2,000 attendees. He also noted that one of the key achievements was the launch of the Lagos Innovation Masterplan. This plan has continued to guide the Lagos state government towards achieving its SMART City agenda.

The second edition also hosted approximately 8,700 participants. It saw the launch of Startup Lagos and Eko Open-source project. Key participation came from more than 30 countries around the world.

Notable is Governor Sanwo-Olu’s push for government participation in Tech. He provided seed funding of 250 million Naira to help grow the Lagos Tech community during the maiden edition AoT Lagos.

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