Twenty-three young innovators and tech firms have been awarded a total grant of N100 million by the Lagos State Government to pursue various technology-driven innovations across the six pillars of the development agenda of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.
The recipients are the first set of beneficiaries to be picked to benefit from the N250 million seed capital earmarked, last year, as Research and Innovation Fund by the State Government.
The awardees were selected through highly competitive process overseen by the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) established in 2019 by Governor Sanwo-Olu, with the mandate to facilitate and encourage the development of innovative solutions to solve local problems, using cutting-edge technology.
The Governor congratulated the successful awardees of the research funds, urging them to apply the grant judiciously and use it to transform their ideas into reality.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration was born with the sole aim to solve contemporary challenges facing the State, stressing that the innovation grant was initiated with the objective to empower local innovators and thinkers with knowledge of context and peculiarities to create specific solutions for local challenges.
He said: “Last December, we inaugurated the Research and Innovation Council with a seed fund of N250 million in demonstration of our commitment to transform Lagos into a 21st century digital economy and Smart City. The body has a mandate to facilitate investment in science research, innovation, and STEM education throughout the State, and to encourage the development of innovative solutions to problems, using cutting-edge technology.
We are here today to match our words with action, by handing out grants from the LASRIC’s Research and Innovation Fund to successful applicants. I congratulate all awardees and beneficiaries of our very first set. As a Government, we believe in each and every applicant’s capacity to create and scale up ideas that can proffer solutions to our current challenges.
“We embarked on this unique project with the belief that local challenges are best solved by thinking that understands and appreciates local contexts and peculiarities. We believe in Lagos-supported solutions for Lagos-specific challenges. With the presentation of the grants, the responsibility now firmly rests on the recipients’ shoulders to justify the opportunity.”
Sanwo-Olu noted that science and technology remained key enablers to transform the socio-economic destinies of cities, observing that any serious Government must give total commitment to application of technology and innovation to drive improve service delivery in transport management, healthcare, education, waste management, security and governance.
He said Lagos was on a journey to properly identify, enable and build great human potential through flagship technology-driven projects, such as Metrofibre programme and Smart City initiative.
He said: “We are also working to transforming our civil service by encouraging innovative thinking and deploying technology tools and processes. Flagship projects such as the Metrofibre project and the Smart City initiative are key enablers for achieving this.”
The Governor urged unsuccessful applicants not to lose hope, charging them to re-apply for the grant in the next round of selection. He said the State Government would be increasing the grant to accommodate more innovators in the subsequent application.
The Governor’s Special Adviser on Innovation and Technology, Hon. Olatunbosun Alake, described the ceremony as “tangible development” in the history of governance in the State.
He said the awardees would be initiating innovation in key areas of manufacturing, food security and health management.
“The grant recipients represent key research initiatives and innovative startups ready and qualified to be resourced for the development of Lagos, and indeed the world. Today’s event is the first in many of this administration’s support and development of the science and technology ecosystem,” Alake said.
LASRIC chairman Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the event was a testimony of Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to the development of innovative solutions to challenges facing the State.
He said the Council would continue to assist the State Government to harness human and material resources of Lagos for problem solving, wealth creation and transformation of the State’s economy.
The high point was the presentation of cheques to the awardees by the Governor.
A beneficiary and founder of Price Pally, Luther Lawoyin, who received N5 million grant, praised the Governor for creating opportunities for tech startups to push forward their ideas. He said his business depended on data management, promising to invest the grant in improving food security.