Eko Innovation Centre to fund ideas with strong social impact

Eko Innovation Centre to fund ideas with strong social impact

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 ‘An Evening of
Conversation on Moral Leadership’
 said that they are committed to
incubating, accelerating, mentoring and funding innovation and technology startups.

“For you to be admitted into the Eko Innovation Centre, your idea and concept must have the 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 that entrepreneurs admitted can spend a minimum of 18 months to 3
years and will 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 said that lack of capital was limiting the capabilities of entrepreneurs to develop innovative 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 that his administration recognised 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 concept that has to do
with the environment, education, transportation and health, innovations and
technology is key. People from those centres would come and give us innovative
ideas to solve our transport problem; ideas with which they think locally,” he
said.

Corroborating him, Chief Executive Officer of Acumen, Jacqueline
Novogratz pointed out the need for a mindset shift on the path of investors
from sole financial focus to giving opportunities to entrepreneurs.

“We have seen yearning of young entrepreneurs around the world who
want entrepreneurial tools and they want the skill building on what moral
leadership is all about which inform this gathering.”

Chairman of the Board of Directors of African Venture Philanthropy Alliance, Mr Olayemi
Cardoso explained that mentorship is the responsibility of everybody.

 “We find a way to have sound clean mentorship
whereby we pick the right role models and we pair them up with people who are
coming down below who are relatively more junior and who are looking for
direction.

“There is a lot of cross-sectorial work, multi-stakeholder work that can be done towards helping to groom that concept of mentorship and institutionalizing it within our society,” Cardoso said.

Also, Mr Andrew Nevin, Founding Director, The Africa Institute
for Leadership and Public Administration, added that creating smart economies
with technology-driven innovative solutions would lead to the creation of new
jobs that previously never existed.

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