Lagos State government has organised a policy review workshop in an effort to implement the Nigerian Startup Act (NSA2022) policies for the state’s growth.
The workshop held at Eko Innovation Centre, brought together startup founders, technology experts, innovators, and enthusiasts to join the state government in domesticating the policies in the Nigerian Startup Act.
The event led to the establishment of the Knowledge, Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (KITE) Project, which will equitably localise the Act.
The Act defines Nigerian startups, their scope, operations, incentives, and limits to attract foreign investment and open up the Nigerian tech industry.
A startup, according to the Act, is “a firm that has been in operation for no more than ten (10) years and whose aims include the invention, innovation, production, development, or adoption of a new digital technology creative product, service, or method.”
Interpretatively, the act aims to provide a legal and institutional framework for Nigerian startups, as well as an enabling environment for their establishment, development, and operation.
Speaking, Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Innovation and Technology, Mr Tunbosun Alake, said the NSA2022 regulations will assist startups in registering quicker, and obtaining permits faster, thereby boosting the ease of doing business.
“To drive the ecosystem and boost innovation, each state throughout the federation needs to adopt distinct legislation that will help foster and deepen startup activity.
“Lagos’ startup policy structure has been in development for some time before the Act. The regulations will assist startups in registering quicker, obtaining permits faster, and easing business for commercial organisations classified as startups.
“It is critical for entrepreneurs in the ecosystem to participate in the workshop review to have an impact on the state legislation being drafted. The Kite project is like Silicon Valley in that it will be a state-wide initiative that will create ICT clusters, which will promote innovation throughout the state and benefit the nation’s economy,” Alake said.
The anchor, Mr Wale Adelaja, said the workshop was organised to allow private sector and government agencies to review the policies established in the KITE project. “For an ICT business, cluster, or ecosystem to be sustainable, policies to support its longevity are required,” he said.
Head of Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Science and Technology, Hon. Olanrewaju Suleiman Afinni, at the event, urged the private sector stakeholders to look over the law and make it as complete as possible so that it doesn’t need to be changed often.
Founder, of Business Africa Academy, Tracy Okoro, one of the private stakeholders, who championed the Nigerian Startup Act movement, acknowledged that the NSA2022 is the result of people’s desire for change and it succeeded because a group of young people came together to champion the move.
She said: “We have a volunteer group of over 800 people who drove this from beginning to end without demanding payment. The Act is significant for connecting the government with the business sector.”
The KITE project is expected to significantly contribute to Nigeria’s economic development and position Lagos State as the hub for innovation in Nigeria. Also, as the state is becoming a popular location for technology investors and entrepreneurs, it will enable the state to further push its technology and innovation agenda.
It will begin in Yaba, which will serve as a medium for the government and private sector to create an ICT cluster. Yaba is known as the bedrock of internet-enabled businesses, with over 60 startups and active venture capital firms in residence. It is also a thriving centre for innovation in Nigeria.
By 2030, the Yaba KITE cluster is expected to be Africa’s main source of transformational solutions, propelling the continent’s socio-economic progress via technological leadership, disruptive innovation, and high-quality stem talent. Access to financing, advocacy and marketing, research and development, network and cooperation, talent, skills, education, infrastructure, policy, regulation, and governance are also goals of the KITE initiative.
Startup founders, innovators, and other workshop attendees participated in a break-out session to share their thoughts on the policies discussed as a government representative listened in and took notes and feedback.