A strong, functional, technology ecosystem plays a vital role in the successful implementation of the digital economy. Tech ecosystems are essential for transforming innovative ideas into successful high-growth businesses.
Economies are booming with expansion and moving forward – creating jobs and wealth – through the impact of tech ecosystems.
Well-cultivated technology ecosystems provide benefits to young businesses by offering the finance, support, and expertise necessary to drive growth potential.
Recently, the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) kick-started the Idea Hatch (iHatch) startup incubation programme to further upgrade the Nigerian tech ecosystem for greater performance.
Organised by NCAIR, a subsidiary of NITDA, in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the iHatch is a five-month free intensive incubation programme created to refine the business model of Nigerian entrepreneurs.
Through a series of mentoring, lectures, and boot camps, iHatch incubation programme will develop and promote scalable business models for startups across all sectors in Nigeria.
This innovative partnership between Nigeria and Japan (IHatch) aims to strengthen the technological ecosystem by centering support on selected IT sectors; establishing connections between the startups and investors/corporations, and increasing the number of successful businesses to create more prosperity and employment opportunities.
It is also planned to support indigenous entrepreneurs that use creative commercial services and products to address social challenges by creating a model incubation program that would be expanded to other states in Nigeria.
Benefits accruing to the participating startups include free offline/online interactive training; free co-working space at NCAIR; mentorship sessions with tech specialists; networking opportunities; and funding opportunities, among others.
The programme is apt, especially coming at the time more digitally creative Nigerians in the country are responding to the federal government’s charge on finding new indigenous solutions to some key problems.
With a focus on youths, innovations, entrepreneurship, and technology, the incubation programme is expected to accelerate the process of bringing innovative ideas to life.
Consequently, the actualisation of such innovative ideas is critical to generating the much-needed jobs for the large population of young people and catalysing the Nigerian digital economy to a higher level.
The project will incubate, mould, and launch excellent ideas into products or services to positively turn things around in the critical areas of the economy and help humanity in general.
While expressing his optimism, the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi urgedthe youths to take advantage of the opportunity offered through the programme to empower themselves, refine their business ideas, and contribute to creating a better future for Nigeria.
It is heartwarming to note that the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, gave the assurance that the plan is targeted at enhancing the Nigerian start-up ecosystem.
The Japanese envoy emphasised that apart from the provision of aid or financial support, the collaboration will, most importantly, avail the startups with the needed expertise through the transfer of Japanese corporate ethics to project success.
Indeed, this ideas incubation programme is yet another laudable initiative by the federal government to provide a platform for startups to convert their creative solution-driven ideas into innovative products and services for improved economic productivity.
From the foregoing, it is evident that tech ecosystems are about dynamic interactions between people, software, data, systems, and services.
In today’s digitally connected world, ecosystems are vital to growing existing markets and competing effectively. They help businesses co-evolve (grow and transform together) and attract diverse partners who provide innovative solutions to solve challenges.
A tech ecosystem is an interconnected and interdependent network of diverse entities to spur innovation in the tech environment sustainably. It comprises suppliers, customers, trading partners, applications, third-party data service partners, and all respective technologies.
Tech ecosystems are formed by people, startups, and various organisations in a location (physical or virtual) interacting cooperatively as a system to create and scale new startup companies.
They include universities, funding organisations (accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces, etc), research organisations, service provider organisations, large corporations, and government organisations that offer partnerships and other initiatives to spur growth.
High-growth companies can contribute to both regional and national economies with increased revenues, use of local office space, and offering jobs that upskill the workforce and attract top talent from overseas.
A thriving ecosystem allows founders to connect and share stories about how to overcome problems they may be facing. Through such connections, they are able to act upon their core gaps, strengths, and opportunities to become more globally competitive.
While commending the efforts of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and its agencies, especially, NITDA, NCAIR, the Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI), more action is needed to drive growth in the indigenous tech ecosystem.
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