This afternoon, Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State visited Yaba tech cluster and made a stop at the iDEA Hub and then talked to entrepreneurs at CcHub both on Herbert Macaulay way. In the tech hubs, he met with startup founders and tech entrepreneurs in general.
We were led to believe the governor did not drop any hint of his visit so his visit was impromptu. Governor Akinwumi Ambode is not the first government functionary to visit Yaba, last year the tech community hosted the Minister of Communications.
But his visit is reminiscent of when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appeared in Nigeria without prior notice.
At the iDEA Hub the governor hinted at a government operated tech hub.
Speaking to the entrepreneurs, Akinwumi Ambode reiterated his supportive stand on innovative startups and businesses. During introductions and discourse, Femi Longe of CcHub raised the issue of electric power being the biggest challenge startups in Lagos face.
One of the first things we did was to map out innovation clusters, and create a map connecting the dots on the Lagos Innovation Hotspots website.
He further implored the governor to put the entrepreneurs in his future plans.
The governor commended the entrepreneurs greatly. He expressed appreciation for the work they are currently doing. In his own words, "You people are the future of Nigeria".
He also proceeded in thanks to Omobola Johnson, former Minister of Communication Technology for bringing his attention to the good work with respect to tech entrepreneurship going on in Yaba.
Expatiating on the tech hub that he hinted on at the iDEA Hub, Governor Ambode;
We were considering building incubators and tech hubs, but I am really satisfied with what I see here. I feel we do not need to capitalize and build government operated tech hubs, we can support the existing ones by providing infrastructure.
He talked about building a value chain with the youths where entrepreneurial skills gained are passed on. The Governor also spoke on how the government has not been forthcoming on seeing tech as an instrument to grow the economy.
I strongly believe technology is one of the most efficient tools to move Nigeria forward and we will work vigorously towards that goal with every support we can offer.
On the issue of power that Femi Longe raised, Governor Akinwumi Ambode sympathized with the entrepreneurs seated and shocked them further; he promised to add all the clusters to the Mainland Power.
Being that the Mainland Power serves electricity to public utilities, the governor promised that all the tech startups and businesses in Yaba will be henceforth classified as public utility.
On complimenting the already existing efforts, the governor also promised a grant from the ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment for startups in the area.
To round off, the governor said his presence in Yaba is one prime indicator that the work being done by tech entrepreneurs in the state is having visible positive impact.