Eko Innovation Centre (EIC), a hub that seeks to finance technology-driven startups, in collaboration with the Lagos State government, has reiterated its readiness to finance business ideas that have the capacity to impact at least 10 million people. Making the disclosure to journalists during ‘An Evening of Conversation on Moral Leadership’ held in Lagos recently, the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eko Innovation Centre (EIC), Victor Afolabi, has expressed his organisation’s readiness to support business ideas that are technology-driven. Afolabi said that the hub is committed to incubating, accelerating, mentoring and funding innovation and technology startups.
His words: “For you to be admitted into the Eko i-Centre, your idea and concept must have ability to touch 10 million people and also have commercial viability and strong social impact, among other things.”
Speaking on the offerings provided by the Centre, Afolabi said that entrepreneurs admitted can spend a minimum of 18 months to three years and will also be taught tax management, procurement, finance, strategy and administration. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, said that his administration recognises the place of technology as the key driver to fast-growing economies, while pledging to address the problem of youth unemployment in the state through the EIC. As a government, we will build innovation and technology centres where we can bring in private capital and investors; get ideas from young people on technology and be able to start creating employment for our youths. We also believe that to achieve the THEME concept that has to do with the environment, education, transportation and health, innovations and technology is key. People from those centres would come and give us innovative ideas to solve our transport problem,” he said.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of African Venture Philanthropy Alliance, Olayemi Cardoso, explained that the initiative is the responsibility of everybody.
“We find a way to have sound clean mentorship whereby we pick the right role models and we pair them up with people who are coming down below to those who are relatively junior and who are looking for direction. There is a lot of cross sectoral work, multi-stakeholder work that can be done towards helping to groom that concept of mentorship and institutionalising it within our society,” Cardoso said.
Corroborating him, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Acumen, Jacqueline Novogratz, pointed out the need for a mindset shift on the path of investors from sole financial focus to considerations for impact and positive benefit to society.