Nigeria: Sanwo-Olu Unveils N250 Million Seed Capital for Tech Start-Ups in Lagos

6 December 2019

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has launched the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC), setting aside $687,000 (about N250 million) start-up funds for investment in research and development of tech-focused solutions across the six pillars of his administration's development agenda.

With a whopping N250 million seed capital earmarked by the Lagos State government for technology and innovation, tech start-ups and young innovators in the state now have the opportunity to push their entrepreneurial skills to the next level.

Sanwo-Olu, also launched the Lagos Innovation Master Plan, a four-planked special purpose vehicle for addressing the state's socio-economic challenges by using innovative and smart methods.

The innovation Master Plan launched by the governor at the maiden edition of Art of Technology Lagos, comprised Data Access, Talent Building and Broadband infrastructure development plans; Lagos State Science and Technology Council; Lagos State Solution Hub; and the Open Government Initiative.

Sanwo-Olu, said the plan was to use combined technological mix to help his administration tackle problems in the state as captured in its agenda, which include: Transportation & Traffic Management, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment, Tourism, Security, and Good Governance.

He added that the N250 million would be injected in the Science and Innovation Fund, chaired by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Toying Ogundipe, for tech innovators and creators in the state to access funds to boost their business.

According to him, the innovation master plan will highlight the government's critical focused areas that will unleash a culture of problem solving initiative. This now addresses the four main pillars that are required to enable a vibrant innovative ecosystem.

Sanwo-Olu said: "In the next two years, we are hoping to be able to do what we call, a Metropolitan Fibre Grid. We are hoping to have in the next two years about 6000kms of fibre; it's a total mix, we want to mix the whole system. We want to have a smart city which we are. So we will be signing that before the end of this year or sometime early next year.

"With this administration's activity in these four areas, the innovation ecosystem is sure to receive the needed boost to raise the communication to the state of the economy.

"We are also launching today, the Lagos State Science and Innovation Council. This council will be responsible for the management of the science itself and the Innovation Fund. This fund is primarily tasked with investment in research and development in science and technology across different thematic areas of the state, from Artificial Intelligence to Robotics to Health and Informatics and Green energy.

"The Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council will direct funds to solve issues of national significance through science and technology research.

He further said: "The third one is the Lagos State Solution Hub. We will be democratising access to state's actions in critical strategy of this government, such that the Lagos State Solution Hub serves as the first point of call for innovators, solution providers and innovators on proposing their solutions to the state.

"We realise that crowd sourcing and inclusive strategies are key ingredients to solve a mirage of challenges we face. The solution hub will enable us to make The website is: lagossolutionhub.com.

"The last one is the Open Government Initiative. Data access is seen as critical for building solution culture. The open government has kicked off and we will be communication the major milestones to the public soon."

He, however, described the Art of Technology Lagos as a platform on which the vision of Lagos State as a smart city would be unraveled, adding that the maiden edition will open the window for ideas, concepts and principles encriptively created for Lagosians and Nigerians to breakout and transform the landscapes.

"We are prepared to provide Lagosians with the opportunity to connect to the global stage. We cannot disaffirm the intractable challenges that face states like ours. With the population that is so high, we have obviously infrastructural challenges.

"A new sustainable method of transportation and infrastructural development needs to be formulated to keep up with the population growth. The use of Artificial Intelligence to predict the movement human resource and material and reverse the environmental degradation are critical solutions we need to adopt," Sanwo-Olu said.

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