In this week’s edition of ISN hubs featuring innovation centres, we visited Ọpọlọ Global Innovation, head-quartered in Lagos.
Ọpọlọ Global Innovation Ltd is an innovation advisory platform for innovators who need infrastructure and support networks to grow, in addition to investors who need promising start-ups as well as ideas to invest in.
The centre was established for creating and facilitating business between startups and large companies, to create a platform for people to interact, undertake, work and innovate together in a network, which supports in the development of innovation-based companies, startups with high growth potential.
While turning ideas into high-value commercial assets for the impact and benefit of all, the hub is on a mission to accelerate the growth of ideas that create opportunities through innovation, design thinking, and a robust global network of partners.
On how hubs foster innovation/ entrepreneurship for local community, Ọpọlọ Innovation serves as a nexus point for the local startup community, investors, academia, technology companies and the wider private sector.
It aims to create a structure where people serendipitously interact with others that they would not typically meet.
It renders support through:
Capacity building programs
Idea and research commercialization
Co-working space etc.
On the state of innovation/entrepreneurship in Nigeria, the innovation centre strongly believes that the entrepreneurial forces are relatively strong in the country, as the lack of jobs and a rise in poverty leave few other options for the Nigerian people.
“Although difficult due to a lack of resources, more reasons Ọpọlọ Global is dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship in the State.”
According to the innovation centre, developmental gaps remain very huge, despite the abundance of human and natural resources, Nigeria is blessed with. The many factors include poor leadership, mismanagement, corruption, nepotism, are responsible for this lacuna in the country’s Innovation growth.
On improving Nigeria’s technology, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems, the innovation centre affirms that the public and private sector agents have a responsibility to prevent the deaths of many viable startups that would ordinarily make a considerable contribution to economic and digital transformation over the next decade.
“We urge policymakers to implement tailored support measures to mitigate or break off possible hindrances on the innovation ecosystem, and use the previous crisis as an opportunity to create a more symbiotic relationship with local startups/innovators.”
On supporting youth and women participation in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, Ọpọlọ Global Innovation has invested in strategic outreach to youths and women, providing them with significant tools, such as language skills, organizational skills, work ethic and culture, innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership training, for higher education and through our development programs.
Challenges and milestones
“There is no collective response to the problem innovation hubs are addressing. We need everyone who believes in the potential and impact of innovation hubs to engage in some good old-fashioned collective problem-solving.”
The biggest milestone for the hub has been managing the siting of Ọpọlọ Innovation hub at other locations across the country.
Ọpọlọ Osun Innovents amongst other programs happens to be the most exciting because It converges entrepreneurs, investors, corporate entities, thought leaders, government functionaries, and innovation enablers to support indigenous startups and inspire sustained economic growth across Nigeria, and ultimately turn ideas into high-value commercial assets for impact and benefit of all.
The event aims to drive a knowledge-based economy and innovation-driven society, to identify and engage the burgeoning Nigerian talents in providing homegrown solutions to societal challenges.
Government and ISN’s role
According to the centre, the government can support innovative hub in the following ways:
Increasing scope for finance
Reducing the regulatory burden on innovation enabling platforms
Tax Relief for Innovation Hubs
For ISN’s role, the network has provided significant support in promoting the hub through linkages with corporate, funders & media whereby Increasing Ọpọlọ Innovation Hub visibility/presence.