The Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, has acknowledged the strong contributions that startups make towards solving present problems in the country through their innovation.
Making this assertion at the first edition of the community engagement development workshop organised by the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre (AMDRC) of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Mr. Pitan pointed out that the Bank was committed to helping startups because their innovative offerings are helping to drive economic growth in the country, adding that since they are the new rockstars of the entrepreneurship world, it is imperative that any economy that wants to thrive in the 21st century must support and have a thriving start-up ecosystem.
According to him, “Their success and impact, in spite of the challenges they face, has further bolstered arguments made about the importance and roles of entrepreneurship and innovation in the economic future of Nigeria.
“It is commonly acknowledged that innovation is a key trigger for any economy that hopes to be competitive and achieve sustainable progress. Economies that desire to become innovative must also foster a culture of entrepreneurship, as there cannot be innovation without entrepreneurship.
“Unlike traditional enterprises, these high-growth enterprises or Start-ups face enormous uncertainty as they seek to create their own business models that can be scalable, but by continuously experimenting, learning, and innovating, start-ups differentiate themselves from other traditional enterprises and became leaders in their respective markets.
“By continuously seeking to create scalable business models, start-ups are able to scale up faster, create more jobs, contribute more to economic output, and drive more competition than traditional enterprises.
He added that the Bank of Industry offers funding opportunities for startups to access capital through the Alitheia IDF, which is managed by Alitheia Capital, with investments from the Bank. He added that the fund targets supporting innovative start-ups that are founded and managed by women. There is also the BOI NTec Fund, targeted at innovative start-ups in Nigeria, which is currently being managed by Verod Capital.
He said, in addition to these funds, BOI has an ongoing programme to establish technology incubators across the country, 7 of which are currently in operation across various states with 2 of them operating at the University of Lagos. “These incubators provide promising start-ups with an environment that allows them to generate and test their ideas, have access to resources (such as training and mentorship), and grow without any pressure,” he said.