The Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, has said the success of software entrepreneurs in the country will lead to the development of the Information and Communications Technology industry and the economy.
She said investments in software entrepreneurs would create a minimum of 25 sustainable ICT businesses that are fundable; increase the participation and investment of the venture capitalists and private equity managers in the ICT in Nigeria, which will be over $100 million in the next few years; increase the footprints of Nigeria young ICT companies in Africa as solution and service providers; and create jobs.
The minister gave the disclosure at the closing ceremony of the Techlaunchpad first edition and the unveiling of the second edition in Lagos recently.
According to the minister, the ICT innovation would continue to play a major role in creating knowledge-based societies and wealth for the citizens.
She added that the ministry remained committed to its mandate of promoting the growth of the ICT industry.
Johnson said innovation programmes such as Information Technology Developers Entrepreneurship Accelerator (iDEA) and Technology Innovation Programme (Techlaunchpad), were aimed at assisting software entrepreneurs to build successful businesses.
She said, â€œThis will provide the opportunity for Nigeria to raise software giants that would create jobs and wealth, while becoming regional and global players such as Indian IT service providers like Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro and HCL Technologies. These are indigenous companies that were created, nurtured and established in India, but servicing global markets.
â€œWhat we are doing today is part of the bigger plan that will strengthen innovation ecosystem and grow the digital economy in Nigeria. We are working to refocus the efforts of talented software developers in the country of not just writing code and developing applications, but creating successful and viable companies around the software that they are developing to create jobs and wealth,â€ John said.
The Techlaunchpad started in 2012, following a meeting with chief information officers of banks and oil and gas companies, to identify issues affecting the patronage of local software entrepreneurs and solutions to address them.
â€œThis led to the birth of Techlaunchpad, which we inaugurated in December 2012, and the subsequent admission of eight tech startups that applied for the programme in July last year,â€ Johnson said.
On how far the project had gone, the minister said: â€œThe collaboration with our partners, namely: Accenture, FirstBank, Access Bank, Exxonmobil, Totalfina Elf, Chevron, Fate Foundation, to mention few, has been tremendous both in cash and in kind to see to the development of the business and product of these young Nigerians.â€
I received reports of the mentorship and training granted to these startups despite limited time available to the executives. Needless to mention the support that our flagship incubation centre, called iDEA, provided for them during the eight-month accelerator programme. Such support includes mentorship, training, business advisory service, office space, connectivity and infrastructure services, the minister said.