The Bank of Industry (BOI) has partnered with the University of Lagos (UNILAG) to launch the BOI-UNILAG Incubation and Co-Working Hub. The hub is aimed at accelerating and boosting the entrepreneurship capacity of the students.
Speaking at the event, Olukayode Pitan, MD/CEO of BOI, said the programme would afford every student of the university an opportunity to be exposed to practical entrepreneurship and technology startup skills from mentors and coaches.
Pitan said: “The BOI is happy to support this programme because it aligns with our mission to transform Nigeria’s industrial sector, by providing financial and business support services, so that new businesses will emerge and existing enterprises will thrive.
“The bank is sponsoring the hub in recognition of the incredibly talented students within the university and the need to channel these to more productive and impactful ends, rather than social vices like internet fraud.
“The overall objective is to ensure that the bank’s corporate social responsibility investments, generate better benefits for the country.
“We believe a hub like this gives young people the opportunity to create legitimate wealth, while adding their own quota to the economic development of Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.”
Pitan added that creative spaces like the hub are filling a crucial gap in the technology and startup industry.
According to him, hackathons and other competitions to identify technology solutions for social and business problems, are born and developed in such places.
The BOI MD said the bank unveiled two tech hubs in 2019 in Lagos and Bayelsa States. He said: “Two additional hubs have also been completed in Kaduna and Kebbi.
For the Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, he noted that the key vision of the institution was to make it a one-stop hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.
He said: “Today, we have a testimony that the fund given to this institution for this purpose has come to a reality. Our projection is that every year, we want to have at least 500 companies registered, but for the effect of the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are looking forward to also having an Art and Craft Centre. It is management’s resolve that we equip all our students with one skill or the other in addition to their degrees.”
Dr. Sunday Adebisi, the Director of the Entrepreneurship and Skills Development, said the co-hub would equip students to be self sufficient.
According to Adebisi, with Nigeria having 33.3 per cent youth unemployment and the youths being 60 per cent of the 120 million population, unemployment is high, hence the need for them to be creative and technologically driven.
He said: “So, all we need to do is to get them engaged from the university system and let them create their jobs.
“What we have done is that there is an ability for the student to walk into this place, who was clueless before and in two weeks, is coming out with what he can do to solve some of the problems of the society.”