New Eko Innovation Centre debuts

The new Eko Innovation Centre has been launched in Lagos. The primary objective was to transform the tech and innovation landscape in Lagos, Nigeria, and, by extension, Africa.

According to the founder, Victor Afolabi, the motivation was the need to create an enabling environment for young people to develop innovative solutions and create employment while leveraging technology to achieve more.

“We saw in the Lagos manifesto an agenda to make the State a 21st century economy. The only way to create a 21st century economy is to make sure you are creating businesses and solution to problems that are driven by innovation and technology,” he said during the launch.

It will be noted that Nigeria recorded the highest growth of tech hubs in Africa, expanding by 40% in 2 years between 2016 and 2018.

Speaking further he said, “Eko Innovation Centre is designed not just to add to the growing figures of local tech hubs, but to provide a much-required platform for startups to scale through the challenges of their incubation period – a bold and audacious initiative for the country’s tech community.”

“Most of the existing technology centres and hubs primarily provide workspaces and basic facilities, including power and internet services, with a few more providing support platforms for the growth of the startups operating from there.”

Eko Innovation Centre will provide shared services including legal, finance, tech, marketing, and PR services among others. And most importantly, Mr. Afolabi explained that the centre would provide investment readiness services as well as funding for the startups.

The new Lagos State Governor, His Excellency Babatunde Sanwo-Olu also graced the occasion to endorse the initiative and reiterated his administration’s commitment to leveraging technology in delivering the megacity dream.

In his short statement, Mr. Sanwo-Olu said, “Technology is the way to go, it is the way of the future and it is the way the entire universe is going, and everybody is using technology to develop everything that we need. We believe that from here, things around the THEME concept that has to do with the environment, education, transportation and health innovations would be developed. People from here would come and give us innovative ideas to solve our transport problem; ideas with which they think locally but act globally.”

Tech hubs are a vital part of the entire start-ups ecosystem by providing platforms and opportunities for collaborations and building support structures that are important to the growth of new startups. Lagos, over the last few years has become one of Africa’s megacities with a robust tech ecosystem; it is currently the city with the highest number of technology hubs on the continent.

It is important to note however, that the Eko Innovation Centre is a private investment, to run independent, without any government funding.

Photo caption:

L-R: Deputy Managing Director, Wema Bank, Moruf Oseni; General Manager, Microsoft, Akin Banuso; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwoolu; founder, Naija Startup, Aramide Abe; and Chief Executive Officer and founder of Eko Innovation Centre, Victor Afolabi during the inauguration of Eko Innovation Centre in Ikoyi, Lagos, recently.

Photo: EIC


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