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NITDA-Founder Institute graduate 13 Founders on 2023 Startup Accelerator programme

Photo: NITDA

*Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency, celebrates the Founders and lauds the commitment of the agency and Founder Institute in upgrading the capacity of a new set of innovative portfolio startup companies in Nigeria

Isola Moses

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has celebrated the successful conclusion of the NITDA-Founder Institute (FI) 2023 Startup Accelerator Programme as part of efforts at cultivating talents in Nigeria.

The agency disclosed the NITDA-Founder Institute had graduated 13 outstanding founders, who demonstrated exceptional dedication and innovation during the rigorous 14-week accelerator programme.

The Information Technology sector regulator said the ceremony, attended by key industry stakeholders, government officials, and tech enthusiasts, emphasised the collaborative efforts between NITDA and Founder Institute at fostering a vibrant technology innovation ecosystem in the country.

The agency further explained the Founder Institute, under a contract agreement with NITDA, executed a virtual Accelerator Programme, aimed to discover and nurture founders with innovative startup ideas in emerging technologies, including Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Cybersecurity, e-Commerce, Software, Fintech, EdTech, Internet of Things (IoT), and Biotechnology.

NITDA also noted the programme, which commenced October 18, 2023, has attracted a total of 50 founders, with 30 enrolled from NITDA and 20 from the Founder Institute.

The accelerator featured 16 knowledge acquisition sessions, covering various aspects of entrepreneurship, product development, and mentorship.

In his address at the ceremony, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-general of NITDA, commended the commitment of both the IT regulatory agency and Founder Institute in upgrading the capacity of the new set of innovative portfolio startup companies.

Inuwa expressed satisfaction that the programme aligned with the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s “Renewed Hope Agenda”, particularly the administration’s redefined priority aimed at leveraging technology for “Accelerating Diversification through Industrialisation, Digitisation, Creative Arts, Manufacturing and Innovation”.

The Director-General equally stressed the harmony of the programme with the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy’s strategic pillars.

Inuwa stated that the ceremony further indicated the Nigerian Government’s recognition of digital innovation and entrepreneurship as catalysts for transforming traditional economic sectors.

He further cited the Nigeria Startup Act as a crucial piece of legislation offering favorable advantages, such as regulatory support, tax reliefs/incentives, capacity building, talent development, effective accountability, and unambiguous governance guidelines to the country’s tech ecosystem.

Commending the graduands, the NITDA Chief Executive said: “I highly commend the rigorous review phases today’s graduands passed through, and it is with great pride that I congratulate the 13 founders who excelled at the programme.

“Your success in the programme is a clarion call for you to sustain the determination and diligence to gainfully explore the boundless innovative future that beckons for you.”

Inuwa stated: “To others who participated in the programme, the knowledge gained will remains yours as you have garnered new insights to prepare you for the challenges ahead.

“I salute your courage in making it to the Accelerator programme.

“It is instructive that the federal government recognises that digital innovation and entrepreneurship are major catalysts for the rapid transformation of traditional economic sectors by supporting the provision and adoption of indigenous and tailor-made solutions for the nationwide implementation of Nigeria’s rapidly expanding tech innovation ecosystem.”

The Director-General also enthused: “Suffice it to say that the Nigeria Startup Act offers Nigeria’s tech startup ecosystem the most favourable advantages and promises a better future for growth, attraction, and protection of investment in tech startups and companies. “The Nigerian tech ecosystem has so much to benefit from the Act which includes regulatory support, tax reliefs/incentives, capacity building and talent development, effective accountability, and unambiguous governance guidelines.”

He urged relevant stakeholders to collaborate in leveraging this game-changing legislation to diversify the economy and create opportunities for indigenous tech innovation enterprises.

Inuwa as well assured of NITDA’s preparedness to partner with local and international entities to address challenges faced by talented indigenous startups, fostering an environment conducive to growth and innovation in the tech sector.

The agency said the rigorous review phases during the programme included Mentor Review sessions, Mentor Idea Review (MIR), Product Development sessions, and Mentor Progress Review (MPR) sessions.

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