By Sampson Unamka
To support economic growth through capacity building and digital job creation for students, staff and community members, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) last week launched an Information Technology (IT) hub at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
The IT hub is equipped with networking and computing devices to support the complete state of the art Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) production machines.
It is solar powered with internet connectivity and tools to create a platform where technology, business, innovation and entrepreneurship will be nurtured.
At the inauguration, UNILAG Vice Chancellor Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe said the project by NITDA alligned with the university’s vision of helping students to develop in the area of digital economy.
“We have been talking about entrepreneurship, about innovation, about skill development and this fits into our vision.
Our students are going to be exposed to the use of these facilities and it is very close to our entrepreneurship center and also the innovation hub so you can see that it is actually blending into the system.
We are going to look at the possibility of making maximum use of these facilities by having huts where people can sit and have their start-off space to start their own little business in the area of innovation.
“So actually I want to say that this is a very good time for us to have this facility for the university”.
Explaining how the school intends to manage startups for the students, he said: “In the area of startup and of the students also, like I said we have our entrepreneurship center innovation hub we have this IT hub. The three centres blend in together to develop our students.
The university is already talking to students to come up with innovative ideas that can migrate into entrepreneurship and the university will register a company for the student. And we also have facilities from bank of industry to give grants to the students to start their own business.”
Ogundipe said the institution’s focus on entrepreneurship has been generating recognition for the school.
“So you know in Nigeria we are talking of an emerging economy, I want us to know that if you look at the ranking of the university now in Nigeria, UNILAG is ranked as number one in Africa.
It is ranked as number eight; but in the area of emerging economy for students entrepreneurship, we are ranked third and you can see that this facility now will assist us in building on what we already have before and definitely it will affect the visibility of the university locally and at the global level it will affect the visibility for our student in the area of entrepreneurship, in the area of skill development,” he said.
On the sustainability of the intervention, he said “This intervention, I want to assure you we are going to give one hundred percent attention to it, It is not all about giving us these facilities that matter; it is about making maximum use of the facility and I want to assure you in one year’s time, you will see students, staff coming out of this place starting their own business and making the university to be proud and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami would be proud for relocating this facility in the university of Lagos and also the president would definitely be proud that UNILAG is making his vision for this country to become reality”, said Ogundipe.
Meanwhile, a virtual inauguration of five other NITDA hubs at Enugu, Kaduna, and Katsina was simultaneously carried out by Dr. Pantami.