Buhari’s Aide, NITDA DG, Others Commend StartUP Friday


Emma Okonji

President Muhammadu Buhari’s special adviser on digital media, Mr. Tolu Ogunlesi and the acting Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Vincent Olatunji, have commended the organiser of StartUP Friday, saying the monthly event has become the vehicle for discovering and nurturing technology startups in the country.

Olatunji was impressed with the rich content at the event. He therefore asked the participating startups to imbibe the spirit of entrepreneurship.

“Coming up with an idea is not enough. You need to learn the rudiment of business from established business. That is the only Nigeria can march the foreign countries in terms of development,” Olatunji said.

Ogunlesi commended the organiser, saying, “I think it is a good thing to witness such a large gathering of startups in the ICT ecosystem in Abuja. This is a revolution.”

Organised by the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), a subsidiary under NITDA, StartUP Friday is an event where nascent companies, irrespective of the sector and solution offering, gather to learn from selected CEOs of some of the established companies.

National Coordinator of OIIE, Bunmi Okunowo, said StartUP Friday has grown over the months from 89 participants in February to 2,210 in July, thus creating more funding opportunities, new ventures, new products and more markets for startups.

“This is all about community building, creating a networking opportunity that brings resourceful people within the reach of the ecosystem. They are part of the ecosystem, and we are tapping from their experience. Another dimension to this edition of StartUP Friday is the introduction of our new program we called FutureHACK, which is a geared towards solving tomorrow’s problem today,” he said.

Other speakers were Andy Madaki who advised the startups to leverage on the power of “barter and partnerships”. Manager at Google Nigeria, Jola Makinde, said the startups “need to be at this type of event in order to learn how to grow their businesses.”

The startups that attended the event last week, were ArtNigeria, ChowHub, Jebitum Techxion, Edves Suite and College Mobile. Others are Huvid Connect, Poles, Persona, PiggyBank and Solar Backpack Cedarseed Foundation.
Representative of Solar Backpack Cedarseed Foundation, Lois Auta expressed her expectations from the programme, while noting that she had learnt new ways to innovate.

According to her, “I have met new startups executives. I have met friends whom I have not seen for over ten years. I have made new friends. The audience was inspired by my pitch presentation and I have got business connection. I like this big platform. I look forward to more opportunities and collaborations with OIIE.”