Lagos targets creation of innovative hubs to drive business growth

Harnessing information communication technology innovations to tackle social challenges is vital in tackling youth unemployment in the country, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Akintunde Oyebode has said. 

Speaking at the just concluded security-focused hackathon organised by the Trust Fund in partnership with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and Passion Hub where about 96 participants took part in a contest that lasted for three days, Oyebode explained that the initiative was about using technology to solve security and social problems in Nigeria’s economic nerve centre.

He stressed that part of its targets at the LSETF is to make Lagos the leading tech innovation destination for Africa through the Lagos Innovates initiative, which is a series of innovative programmes aimed at supporting technology ecosystem in Lagos.

“One of the ways we aim to do this is by sponsoring tech events like the Secure Lagos Hackaton for technology experts to come to hack solutions. We started with developing security solutions today and we seeded ten teams, which brought different innovative ideas on how to secure Lagos. They will be given some funding to go and develop their solutions. We have also partnered with FCMB in getting this done,” Oyebode said.

Oyebode and Executive Director, FCMB, Bukola Smith among others were members of the panel of judges for the competition.Total sum of N3.15 million grants was offered participants who pitched different innovative ideas to help tackle security issues in the state.

The participants showcased both hardware and software technology developments that can help tackle security issues in Lagos state.Besides, the participants who were shared into groups had one of the teams, Team LSFLOW, able to showcase its talents to develop applications that can help forecast and communicate early warnings to the relevant authorities about the risk of flooding in Lagos State, emerged the overall best in the pinching contest, receiving a grant of N2 million.

The first runner-up, Team Aboeko, received a prize of one million naira, for developing an application that reports crime from crowd sourcing while the third position went to Team Gidi Secure with a reward of N150, 000 and a six month free co-working space at Civic Hive, a technology hub for their smart innovative device for home security. Similarly, the Divisional Head of Transaction Banking, FCMB, Rolayo Akhigbe, said the lender saw an opportunity with the LSETF and decided to partner and make it more robust.

According to him, it is high time the country started patronizing indigenous solutions, which are made by local developers, saying, “this will not only encourage them, but would ensure that something greater comes through the process already laid.”

The completion also received very creative ideas from other participating teams, such as Team Setlot who created a distress notification mobile application that also works offline with its USSD support function, Team Eko Eye came to showcase its drone-base surveillance system that security agents can immediately dispatch to monitor distress areas. The drone is built with cameras that record robbery or attack incidents and reports through its back end to the police.

Currently, the state through the LSEFT has 707 candidates in training, 1,476 Certified Trainees Available for employment, 50 beneficiaries have been awarded workspace vouchers to enable them work freely at Tech- Hubs with access to internet connections and power supply, nine events have been sponsored so far to support network-building, knowledge-sharing, collaboration and marketing for Lagos-based founders and start-ups.Already the scheme has approved a N40 million hub loan to Lead space for its employability programme.

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