The founder and CEO of GDM Group, Victor Afolabi, who developed the Eko Innovation Hub for the incubation of start-ups in Lagos, has described the initiative as a boost for the country’s tech ecosystem.
Afolabi, noted that tech hubs are vital part of the entire start-ups ecosystems by providing platforms and opportunities for collaborations and building support structures that are important to the growth of new start-ups.
Lagos over the last few years has become one of Africa’s city with a robust tech ecosystem; it is currently the city with the highest number of technology hubs on the continent.
According to a statement, it was in keeping up with the fast-growing paradigm of technology driven economies, that the new Eko Innovation Hub was launched recently, aimed at discovering, incubating and curating new start-ups that would create new technological-driven solutions and add better value to an already growing tech ecosystem on the continent.
The primary objective is to transform the tech and innovation landscape in Nigeria and by extension, Africa.
Afolabi added: “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.”
Nigeria recorded the highest growth of tech hubs in Africa, expanding by 40 per cent in two years between 2016 and 2018.
“The Eko Innovation Hub (EIH) is designed not just to add to the growing figures of local tech hubs, but to provide a much-required platform for start-ups to scale through the challenges of their incubation period – a bold and audacious initiative for the country’s tech community.
“Most of the existing 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.
“But for Eko Innovation Hub, it is imperative to become a partner in the progress and success of the start-ups, by providing shared services including legal, finance, tech, marketing, and PR services among others. In doing this, the hub gets a stake (equity) in each business.
“This means that start-ups who are admitted have the time to focus on their businesses and are not worn out by bureaucracy, as the hub essentially takes over most of the bureaucratic processes, allowing the businesses focus more on the success of their ventures. This is a game-changer for potential start-ups
“For most Nigerian start-ups, the stage between concept to commercialisation is mostly the defining stage of the journey, where many eventually get it wrong. EIH is simply saying, ‘focus on building your products and business, while we take care of the other things for you!’
The new Lagos state governor, Mr. Babatunde Sanwo-Olu had said: “Technology is the way to go, it is the way of the future and it is the way the entire universe is going to, 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.”