The Bank of Industry (BOI) and a group of telecommunications companies and commercial banks have teamed up to launch technology hubs at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and Osun State University (UNIOSUN).
The objective of Opolo Initiative, as the schemes are called, is to source and harness the potentials of undergraduates and tech entrepreneurs in both institutions through funding.
The hubs will identify undergraduates and promote them through a programme tagged: “Innovation and Entrepreneurship for National Development Through University Communities.”
Chairman of Opolo Global Innovations Limited, Dr. Segun Aina, said the initiative focuses on “digital, innovation, skills and enterprise by turning ideas into high-value commercial assets to address social-economic development problems, brain drain, inadequate access to an investment fund, lack of advisory opportunities among others.”
Youth and Sports Minister Sunday Dare called it “a Catch them Young campaign – grooming tech entrepreneurs from our tertiary institutions.”
He said: “Amongst our students are those with ideas that can rival Facebook’s, Mark Zuckerberg. This can be replicated in Nigeria, our youths can develop home-grown products that can compete favourably with Apple.”
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, represented by his deputy, Mr. Benedict Alabi said the initiative was a conscious move to solve “an array of our socio-economic challenges through innovative ideas, driven by Information & Communication Technology.”
Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Industry, Olukayode Pitan, said, “the Bank sponsored the Hub as a platform for the University community entrepreneurs, and young people of Osun State to channel their ingenuity, creativity, and passion to productive and impactful ends.
He noted that the Hub aligns with the National Development Plan 2021-2025 of the Federal Government of Nigeria. It provides a facility to innovate, incubate, collaborate, and scale-up new ideas and businesses that will create new jobs, and deliver greater economic benefits to the country.”
The Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Professor Eyitope Ogunmodede, and his UNIOSUN counterpart, Professor Clement Adebooye maintained that the money that many students are looking for through sharp practices can be gotten through legitimate means like E-tech.