The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, LSETF, yesterday announced “Lagos Innovates”, a series of programs designed for the benefit of technology- and innovation-driven startups in Lagos State. By providing access to high quality infrastructure, learning, capital and networks, Lagos Innovates hopes to cement Lagos’ position as the leading destination for startups in Africa.
Lagos Innovates is throwing its weight behind Lagos-resident founders and Lagos-based high impact, scale potential startups in smart ways, drawing from the experience and successes of similar government-led initiatives like Startup Chile, Startup India and Startup Singapore.
Recognising that collaboration and network-building are key to meaningful innovation and creativity, Lagos Innovates has launched with three programs that are designed to deliver value through Lagos’ numerous co-working facilities. Beginning today, Lagos-resident founders and operators of co-working spaces and innovation hubs will be able to apply for one of Lagos
Innovates first three programs: Workspace Vouchers, Hub Loans and Events Sponsorship, through open, merit-based, online applications processes. In the first half of 2018, additional programs will follow, including a scale-up accelerator program, a co-investment scheme and a second, learning-focused, voucher scheme.
“Lagos has perhaps the most exciting startup ecosystem of any city in Africa. The investment case is clear, and driven primarily by the size of the market and accessibility as an entry-point for Nigeria and a springboard for the rest of West Africa. If we get our model for innovation-driven enterprises right, Lagos State has the potential to exponentially increase opportunities and jobs for its residents in the medium- to long-term. This is the right government to execute on Lagos Innovates and the broader vision of a thriving startup ecosystem. Through Lagos Innovates, H.E. Governor Ambode is delivering on his January 2017 promise to support this community in smart ways”, Akintunde Oyebode, Executive Secretary of LSETF said.
“It’s exciting to see the Lagos State Government show support for the startup community in this way. There’s always more that could be done, but these are a thoughtful set of programs. I am excited to serve on the advisory council for Lagos Innovates and look forward to working with LSETF to ensure that over time, we canpoint to real outcomes from these programs”, according to Olumide Soyombo, CEO of Bluechip Technologies, founder of Leadpath (a seed fund investing in local tech startups).
“Lagos Innovates is the first step on a journey for the Lagos State government, through LSETF, to show that it respects the achievements of Lagos’ vibrant tech startup community, understands that tech entrepreneurship is a different, new way of building companies and that it is excited by the enthusiasm of Lagos’ community of startup founders.”, according to Eloho Omame, CEO of Amari (an investment and consulting firm focused on the innovation-driven enterprises and tech startups).
The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) is a Lagos State Government initiative created as part of its commitment to boost the Lagos economy through job creation, and facilitate leverage and access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the State. LSETF’s mandate includes provision of training for the unemployed and job placements for the employable, mentorship and support for SME owners and improvement of the policy environment to ensure a conducive operational environment for small businesses in the state.