BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
In furtherance of its commitment to equip youths with skills and expertise to drive inclusive growth and development, the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration, through its skills development arm, Edojobs, is set for the launch of the first ever state-backed innovation hub to activate and drive the state’s fledging technology ecosystem.
Set for launch on June 14, the hub would be run in partnership with Nigeria’s leading technology-based organisations, such as Siemens, Tech4Dev, Microsoft, Impact Hub, Curators University (an American University), HotelsNg, among others. It will train over 1,000 youths will be trained based on their interest in data management, programming, basic digital skills, and artificial intelligence.
The hub, to be known as Edo Innovation Hub, is to be located at the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) in Benin City, which is currently being renovated.
Governor Obaseki said “the innovation hub would serve as a facility for training youths in the state and it would also serve as a center for follow-up trainings for youths who are participating in similar training programmes organised by the state government through its skills development arm popularly known as EdoJobs.
“Services on offer by the firms include an incubation and pre-incubation programme, acceleration programme, business clinics and co-working facilities.”
He added that the “Innovation Hub would be equipped with thousands of computers supported with high-speed connectivity.”
The innovation hub is expected to play a major role in facilitating the realisation of Obaseki’s campaign promise to put an end to unemployment in Edo State by providing 200,000 jobs.
Head, EdoJobs, and Senior Special Asistant (SSA) to the Governor on Skills Development and Job Creation, Mrs, Ukinebo Dare, said that the innovation hub would open up the space for the development of critical manpower for Edo’s burgeoning investment climate.
She noted that efforts are being made to ensure that the state integrates and benefits from the gains of a digital economy, which is why digital literacy features prominently in the offerings of the different programmes at the cluster.
According to her, “There is a focus on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Small and Medium Enterprises development is key for us as they have the potentials to engage a higher number of people.”
She noted that the hub has a number of programmes that are designed to help small businesses scale up and plug into the digital economy.
According to her, “We have several programmes in place to work with SMEs to incubate start-ups and develop them and assist them to grow. All of these form the strategy in place to create jobs.”
She said the Pan Atlantic University is also expected to come in and with an SME tool kit boot camp for entrepreneurs to better prepare them for wealth creation.
Other programmes on the lineup are those of Prof. Laura Kinnard of Drake University, United States of America (USA), who would train executives on leadership, organisational behavior, management and marketing.
Impact Hub will create a co-working space and incubation center where individuals can interact with other start-ups; Curators University, will teach Edo youths the rudiments of data science and artificial intelligence, among others.