Lagos Govt, Firms Partner to Build Low-cost Innovation Centres

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Idowu Sowunmi

Two agencies of Lagos State Government and four firms Thursday announced a partnership towards the construction of five innovation centres across the state, saying the initiatives were designed to ensure capacity building, competitiveness and ecosystem among start-ups and budding entrepreneurs.

Addressing a joint press conference in Ikeja Thursay, representatives of Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK), Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Versecom Limited, IHS Nigeria, Leadspace by Passion Incubator and Cisco Nigeria listed the five innovation centres to include: Energy and Environment Hub; Financial Inclusion Centre; Smart City and Health Initiative; Agricultural Hub; and Logistics and Mobility Innovation Centre.

They explained that the hubs would be located within different public parks around Lagos.

In his remarks, Co-founder/CEO at Versecom, Mr. Timilehin Odusina, announced the construction of the Energy and Environment Hub, a low–cost initiative, located at Rafiu Jafojo Park in Shasha, Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.

According to him, the low–cost hub was created to tackle the cost of office and community barrier to business entry faced by most Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and freelancers in the country.

“This hub offers a seat at N1,000 per day, 50 per cent to 80 per cent lower than current market rates. The hub is targeted at idea stage – pre-seed startups and freelancers around Lagos,” Odusina said.

The Sales Director at IHS (Nigeria) Limited, Olaitan Ogunbiyi, on his part, explained that the Energy Hub located would be officially launched on November 1, saying the hub is the first of its kind, making IHS Nigeria the premier sponsor of this initiative. He added that the telecoms infrastructure giant would provide all the funds required to build the hub in its support for Energy and Environment causes, describing the project as one of IHS’ CSR pillars.

“The hub will be open to everyone, but the community events, challenges, among others will be tailored only towards Energy and Environment startups. In addition to the 500-seat capacity dome, IHS Nigeria has funded the construction of an energy laboratory with equipment like transformer winder, oscilloscope and others in a bid to remove the barriers inhibiting innovation within the sector,” he said.

LSETF Head, Startups, Tosin Faniro-Dada, who spoke on behalf of Lagos State Government, commended the firms for embarking on the partnership, assuring that the state government under the leadership of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu would continue to create enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

Versecom Limited as the initiator would manage all the partners, while LASPARK as the operator of all public parks in Lagos would regulate the partnership in collaboration with LSETF.

Besides, LSETF through its Lagos Innovates programme would handle community engagements via its plethora of tech-focused programmes.

IHS Nigeria as the sponsor of the construction of the hub would work with Leadspace by Passion Incubator to manage the hub and help entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses, while Cisco Nigeria would support with Wi-Fi equipment for the hub.