The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, (LSETF), has launched the ‘Lagos Innovates’, a series of programmes designed for technology and innovation-driven startups in Lagos State.
Through provision of access to high quality infrastructure, learning, capital and networks, the scheme hopes to cement Lagos’ position as the leading destination for startups in Africa, and is tailored towards supporting Lagos-resident founders and Lagos-based high impact, scale potential startups in smart ways.
The initiative was developed from the experience and successes of similar government-led initiatives like Startup Chile, Startup India and Startup Singapore.
The Lagos Innovates which was launched Monday, with three programmes designed to deliver value through numerous co-working facilities in Lagos, was informed by the recognition of collaboration and network-building as key to meaningful innovation and creativity.
From the day of launch , opportunities have been provided for Lagos-resident founders and operators of co-working spaces and innovation hubs to apply for one of the initiatives’ first three programmes: Workspace Vouchers, Hub Loans and Events Sponsorship, through open, merit-based, online applications processes.
Speaking at the launch, Executive Secretary, LSETF, Mr. Akintunde Oyebode, said that additional programmes which would include, a scale-up accelerator program, a co-investment scheme, and a second, learning-focused, voucher scheme, would follow in the first quarter of 2018.
“Lagos has perhaps the most exciting startup ecosystem of any city in Africa,” Oyebode said. According to him, the investment case is clear, and driven primarily by the size of the market and accessibility as an entry-point for Nigeria and a springboard for the rest of West Africa.
“If we get our model for innovation-driven enterprises right, Lagos State has the potential to exponentially increase opportunities and jobs for its residents in the medium – to long-term. This is the right government to execute on Lagos Innovates and the broader vision of a thriving startup ecosystem.
“Through Lagos Innovates, Governor Ambode is delivering on his January 2017 promise to support this community in smart ways”, Oyebode noted,
Commenting on the importance of the programme, Chief Executive Officer, Bluechip Technologies and member of the Lagos Innovates Advisory Board, Olumide Soyombo, said it was exciting seeing Lagos State Government show support for the startup community. “There’s always more that could be done, but these are a thoughtful set of programs. I am excited to serve on the advisory council for Lagos Innovates and look forward to working with LSETF to ensure that over time, we can point to real outcomes from these programs,” Soyombo said.
On his part, Chief Executive Officer, Amari, Eloho Omame, said: “Lagos Innovates is the first step on a journey for the Lagos State government, through LSETF, to show that it respects the achievements of Lagos’ vibrant tech startup community, understands that tech entrepreneurship is a different, new way of building companies, and that it is excited by the enthusiasm of Lagos’ community of startup founders.”