BoI, ICAN unveil technology innovation hub
To bridge the gap in technology development, the Bank of Industry (BOI) in partnership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), yesterday, commissioned a multi-million-naira technology innovation hub domiciled at the facility of ICAN in Ebute Metta, Lagos.
The project, tagged, as ‘lCAN-BOI technology innovation hub’, consists of 250 co-working spaces, meeting rooms and private offices, high breed areas for organising competitions, provision for all fibre networks and IT equipment, power supply and all staffing required to make the tech-hub function optimally.
It will also provide facilities to innovate, debate, ideate, incubate and scale up new ideas and businesses that will create new jobs and deliver greater economic benefits to the country.
Speaking during the commissioning of the project, the president of ICAN, Mrs. Comfort Olu Eyitayo, said the institute sought collaboration with BOI as part of its overall strategy for building digital and entrepreneurial skills and competencies of its members and the public.
The hub, she said, would help the institute, its members and the participating public to leverage the growing community of tech and innovation talent for delivering new accounting and business-related digital products and services to Nigerians, and possibly the world at large.
Eyitayo said some of the primary objectives of establishing the hub are to train members and the public in the areas of software development, digital skills and entrepreneurial skills, incubate start-ups, refer start-ups to potential angel investors, and venture capitalists, build a network of trained tech-preneurs and mentor start-ups into sustainable and successful companies.
She said: “The commissioning of the hub is a further manifestation of our resolve to continue to produce future-ready chartered accountants who apply technology in providing top-notch services to the public. The hub would also benefit the public and serve as a platform for crystallising digital ideas into marketable products, especially for the teeming young population.”
The Managing Director, Bank of industry, Olukayode Pitan, said in realisation of the critical role of technology in development, the bank, through its Corporate Social Responsibility, proactively supported the establishment of 10 technology hubs so far in six states across the country.
The hubs, he said include the lCAN-BOI innovation hub, Unilag innovation hub, Unilag innovation centre, the Ajah BOI innovation centre, one in Kaduna, Bayelsa, Kebbi, the Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State University and others.
He said the bank is committed to making available all its financing products and services to bankable projects that emanate from builders in the tech hub.
Pitan added that the environment will provide a conducive atmosphere for young accountants to set up their businesses, build them, incubate, collaborate and scale up and become employers of labour as well as contributors to national development.
The special guest of honour, Razak Jaiyeola in his address stated that establishing high-impact tech entrepreneurship as a sustainable source of employment is critical for nations with young populations, such as Nigeria with over 70 per cent of its population below 35 years, adding that there is the need for new sources of job creation.
Jaiyeola, a past president of the Institute said: “We believe that at a centre like this, talents can be discovered, nurtured, empowered and harnessed, which will help grow the tech ecosystem in the country, and create a system which enables a level field for more young people coming up in the sector, and make our profession more vibrant and attractive to our members and the public at large. Against this backdrop, this state-of-the-art ICAN-BOI Innovation plus hub is a welcome development.”
He said the key success factors will be entrepreneurship support programmes, training and capacity building programmes, business incubation and acceleration, innovation support and affordable private offices and co-working spaces. The choice of the location is outstanding, given that it is within the “Silicon Valley of Nigeria.
The hub will be expected to play a key role in bridging the gap between the government, academia, industries and other key stakeholders. I am sure that the partnering institutions, ICAN and BOI, have put the sustainability modalities in place,” he said.
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