FG targets new technology hubs to drive entrepreneurship
•Takes campaign for mining investment to Australia
The Federal Government has unveiled plans to roll-out programmes geared towards building the capacities of entrepreneurs to ideate, incubate and launch successful businesses by deploying the use of technology hubs.Leveraged through Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) like the Bank of Industry (BoI), the FG stated that tech hubs would provide the platform to productively engage youths in the country while also creating an ecosystem that would in the near future add to Nigeria’s economic growth.
Meanwhile, Federal Government said arrangements have been concluded to launch a renewed investment drive in the country’s mining sector by taking advantage of the 17th edition of Africa Down Under Mining Conference in Australia. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr, Abdulkadir Muazu, who made the disclosure in Abuja, restated Nigeria’s resolve to pursuing basic reforms as requirements for effective mining business.
Muazu also told newsmen that the government is encouraging foreign investors to do business through stable and transparent licensing regime, adding that it is working to stop being a player in the sector.“We are interested in seeing companies succeed by partnering with genuine investors, who would in turn be in the same page with the government’s goals of attracting investments,” he said.
But the Managing Director of Patersons Securities Limited, Michael Atkins, said that Itakpe Iron Ore, in Kogi State, would commence the production of billets, and others in 2020. He explained that the company is undergoing financial studies after metallurgical tests for the exclusion of sulphur from the ore to produce billets.
Atkins said the tests were carried out in Minetec South Africa, with plans to build a processing plant in Nigeria to advance to bankable feasibility study to attract funds for completion.Also, the Managing Director, Clean Mining, Jeff McCuĺloch, revealed that they are developing a new technology that will ensure safe, efficient mining without polluting land and water.He equally said that when introduced into the Nigerian would create employment; good market and toxic free gold as well as remove contamination for both prevention and remediation.
The Managing Director, BoI, Kayode Pitan, said such programmes would be complemented with funding opportunities through schemes from the bank and other finance institutions.The DFI boss at a commissioning of a tech hub in Lagos, by the Governor, Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, explained that the tech hub is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative by the bank to promote skills development, youth entrepreneurship and job creation in new technology and innovations.
He said: “BoI has the mission to transform Nigeria’s industrial sector by providing financial and business support services to enable new businesses to emerge and existing enterprises to thrive. Today’s commissioning of the Tech Hub is the manifestation of a deliberate programme that BOI is implementing towards building a dynamic and vibrant start-up ecosystem in Nigeria.” Pitan said the Bank was sponsoring the hub in recognition of the ingenuity and creativity of young people in Nigeria, and the need to channel these to more productive and impactful ends, rather than social vices like internet fraud.
According to him, “The overall objective is to ensure that our corporate social responsibility investments are such as will generate better benefits for the country; and a hub like this gives young people an opportunity to add their own quota to the economic development of Lagos State, and Nigeria as a whole.”
“We believe that at a centre like this, talent can be discovered and harnessed, and also it will help to grow the tech ecosystem in the country, get more young people involved in it, make it more attractive to investments and this will augur well for Nigeria, in general”.He pointed out that to ensure the initiative is sustainable, BOI has partnered with Vatebra, a technology firm to manage the day-to-day operations at the Hub, which has facilities including high-speed internet access, shared and private offices spaces, well equipped robotics training lab, among others.
“Our plan is to have more hubs set up in many occasions in Nigeria. We are also partnering with existing hubs to expand and upgrade their facilities. We are also working with credible partners to run series of incubation programmes which would lead to the discovery of new business ideas,” he added.
Earlier, the Deputy Managing Director, Vatebra Limited, Mike Aigbe, said the project is in line with the Lagos State initiative aimed at empowering people to drive citizens.“The future of the country is not oil; we cannot continue to rely on oil. Our future is our people, children, so we must give them the right resources, education to move the country forward,” he said.
The acting Managing Director, 9mobile, Stephane Beuvelet, said its core value is to bring about innovation and raising the bar and aspiration of young entrepreneurs.“We are here as an enabler, providing internet access for entrepreneurs. We believe this is what is important for entrepreneurs to be connected 24 hours with the rest of the world while also being able to compete on the global scale. I want to commend the Bank of Industry (BOI) for supporting and building our capacity, support local content and innovation,” he said.
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