Eko Innovation Centre Pledges to Fund High Impact Concepts

Victor Afolabi
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Eko Innovation Centre, Mr. Victor Afolabi

Hamid Ayodeji

The Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Eko Innovation Centre, Mr. Victor Afolabi, has expressed his organisation’s readiness to support any ideas or concepts that have the capacity to impact at least 10 million people.

Afolabi, who disclosed this in Lagos during ‘A Conversation on Moral Leadership,’ said the centre was committed to incubating, accelerating, mentoring and funding innovation and technology start-ups. The event, hosted by the Eko Innovation Centre also featured participation from Acumen West Africa, an impact investing organiation and the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance, an ecosystem enabler attracting socially responsible investment to the region.

The event highlighted each organisation’s vision for a new type of leadership in Nigeria, one that would measure success not based on wealth and fame, but on character, contributions to society, and building a more just world.

Afolabi added: “For you to be admitted into the Eko i-Centre, your idea and concept must have ability to touch 10 million people and also have commercial viability and strong social impact among other things.”

He explained that the idea behind the EIC was to use innovation and technology in solving the major issues in the Lagos State economy and Nigeria as a whole.

Speaking on the offerings provided by Eko Innovation Centre, Afolabi said entrepreneurs admitted could spend a minimum of 18 months to three years and would also be taught tax management, procurement, finance, strategy and administration.

“The idea is that when we have companies that come into incubation, their chance of survival is very high because of strong handholding mentorship we are going to be providing.”

Afolabi, further said lack of capital was limiting the capabilities of entrepreneurs to develop innovation technologies in order to solve the problems in the country.

He urged the state government to support and create the enabling environment for start-ups to thrive.

“We saw in the Lagos manifesto an agenda to make the state the 21st-century economy.

“The only way to create a 21st-century economy is to make sure you are creating the enabling environment for businesses and solution to problems that are driven by innovation and technology,” Afolabi said.

On his part, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said his administration would build innovation and technology centres across the state to address the problem of youth unemployment.

Sanwo-Olu who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said his administration recognises the place of technology as the key driver to fast-growing economies.

“Technology is the way to go. It is the way of the future and our administration is committed to leveraging on technology in delivering the megacity dream.

“As a government, we will build innovation and technology centres where we can bring in private capital and investors, get ideas from young people on technology and be able to start creating employment for our youths.

“We also believe that to achieve the THEME (Traffic Management & Transportation; Health & Environment; Education & Technology; Making Lagos A 21st Century Economy; Entertainment & Tourism) concept innovations and technology is key,” he said.