Silicon Valley-Nigeria Economic Development, a U.S.-based tech startup company, and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) have partnered to assist Nigerian startups with funding and digital skills.
Chairman of SV-NED, Chief Temitope Ajayi, said this on the sidelines of the ’21st Century Women and Youth in Innovation Technology conference at the UN headquarters in New York.
Ajayi said Silicon Valley-Nigeria Economic Development had established a strategic and bilateral economic relationship between Silicon Valley and Nigeria by building a bridge between technology hub in Silicon Valley and Nigeria.
She said the measure was also creating opportunities for Nigeria and Nigerian companies to do business with America and American companies, especially in Information Technology sector.
According to her, the technology hub will serve as an Incubator for entrepreneurs and Startups, and to provide opportunities for offshore employment by tech giants.
Ajayi said: “What Silicon Valley-Nigeria Economic Development is trying to do is that any moment from now, we will be providing job opportunities offshore by employing the Nigerian youth.
“India became India because of Bill Gates and Oracle; they were employing them offshore because of a lot of intellectual property in India, the same thing with China; the torchlight is now on Africa and the nucleus of Africa is Nigeria”.
Ajayi commended the initiative of the Buhari-led administration through various social intervention programmes to empower the youth and the women.
“We have to give credit to this present administration because truly, it really wants to help the youth,” Ajayi said.
She said the technology giants were supporting Silicon Valley-Nigeria Economic Development to make this a reality in Nigeria adding, the group wants to make Nigeria a success story for Africa.
“SMEDAN was here and the Consulate-General of Nigeria was here on the business aspect of it, and they heard it from the horse’s mouth what Silicon Valley is ready to do with Nigeria,” she said.
“IBM is ready; it already joined us with the ‘venture capitalist’ and the ‘angel investors’ and they are ready. LinkedIn is ready as far as recruiting offshore of our intellectual property in innovation and technology.
“They have to go through a system – the venture capital so as to help them write their one-pager and the business plan.
“It is the business plan that we will now present to Angel Investors. Simple. So Nigeria is the luckiest country as of today in Africa,” she said.
Dr Friday Opara, SMEDAN’s Director of Policy, Partnership and Coordination also told NAN that the agency signed a partnership agreement with Silicon Valley-Nigeria Enterprises Development to assist Nigerian small businesses with modern technology.
“One of the problems MSMEs are facing in Nigeria is that of old technology, access to market and access to finance.
“But we are partnering with them and they are bringing in IBM that has given them angel investors who will equally help us in funding startups because startups are colossal risks.
“A lot of banks shy away from startups because they don’t have any track records but with the angel investors, I think they will do well.
“We have a teeming youth unemployment and any person that is coming to help us, we have to be very happy; what SMEDAN is doing is to enhance the capacity of these youth.
“This is to scale them up in terms of both the hard and the soft skills to prepare them for the market, for them to start thinking of how to own their businesses.
“Our partnership with them will assist us a lot in terms of equally coming with better technology, better skills, now especially that we have digital skills.
“So the Silicon Valley guys are coming with digital skills so that at the end of the day, they will become better entrepreneurs,” Opara said.