As BoI restates commitment to support SMEs
In a bid to achieve a knowledge-based economy in the near future, the federal government has unveiled plans to drive and support youth entrepreneurs in the country deploying the use of technology.
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, stated that the federal government has concluded plans to build technological hubs in the six geopolitical zones, pointing out that it is the way to shape the future of the country.
The Vice President at the Student Innovation Challenge (SIC) South West regional demo day held at the University of Lagos, said “The best of technological companies started from the universities and this is why we have decided to build technology hubs in the six geopolitical zones starting at the University of Lagos.
“Everybody knows where the smart money is looking and we all know that the universities are the best place to get the very best talents because we believe it is what is needed to shape the future of the country.”
Meanwhile, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has reaffirmed its commitment to provide financial assistance and support for the establishment of large, medium, small and micro enterprises in the country.
According to Osinbajo, “We have partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the BOI, MTN and other agencies to organise the student challenge to find the best of students’ innovation, technology ideas, creative ideas from students across Nigeria. We want to gather many of the great ideas as much as possible for them to get a chance to be supported or tested commercially. It is absolutely the exciting time to be alive. The best days are here and the future is here.”
Earlier, the Managing Director, BOI, Olukayode Pitan, noted that the gathering was a reflection of the changing attitude in Nigeria towards innovation and galvanizing support for start-ups, pointing out that these are the choices Nigeria must make if economic development is to yield real dividends for the Nigerian masses and address the social and economic challenges.
“It is laudable that this platform allows the younger generation to showcase entrepreneurial insight, talent and innovation. The Bank of Industry (BOI) is Nigeria’s oldest, largest and most successful development financing institution. Our vision is to transform Nigeria’s industrial sector by providing financial and business support services to enterprises,” he said.
He noted that the technology sector is a budding industry that shows a significant amount of promise, harnessing the innovation and ingenuity of the nation’s vastly young population while also solving local and global problems at scale.
“I am elated that BOI is associated with the Student Innovation Challenge (SIC) because the initiative is a testament of the current paradigm shift being witnessed in Nigeria’s technology and business ecosystem. The challenge is particularly worthy of commendation because it is focused on students in tertiary institutions and creates access that allows the youth brainstorm on entrepreneurial and innovative ideas,” he added.
He explained the mandate of the bank, saying the DFI seeks to provide financial assistance and support for the establishment of large, medium, small and micro enterprise.
“The Students Innovation Challenge provides a medium in line with executing this mandate. I would like to encourage all participants who have been selected to pitch their ideas today to put their best foot forward.
“This platform creates access to actualize your ideas, do not misuse it. In every competitive contest, there would be one “victor” but many winners. To those of you whose ideas are not selected, do not be dismayed, go back and strategize. Do not give up or lose hope. You are already a winner for being here”, he added.