Designed to support entrepreneurs who use creative commercial services and products to address social challenges, the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics or NCAIR has unveiled a startup incubation programme to nurture innovations and drive tech growth.
The programme is called iHATCH, a 5-month free intensive startup incubation programme to refine the business model of Nigerian entrepreneurs through mentoring, lectures, and boot camps. The project would establish connections between the startups and investors and drive interest in innovation among young entrepreneurs.
NCAIR, a subsidiary of the National Information Technology Agency or NITDA, said the programme is also meant to strengthen the nation’s technological ecosystem,
iHATCH is organised in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA, and it works to develop scalable business models in Nigeria, the agency said.
At the unveiling, the director-general of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, further disclosed that the programme would accelerate the birth of innovation and catalyse the Nigerian digital economy to the next level.
While urging participants to hatch their ideas and transform them into products and services, Inuwa stressed that the raging problem of youth unemployment could be addressed through the programme.
On his part, the Japanese ambassador to Nigeria, Kazuyoshi Matsunaga, noted that the partnership with Japanese enterprises would facilitate the transfer of Japanese innovative ideas and required expertise to help in turning ideas into reality.
Matsunaga emphasised that the iHATCH programme would see Nigerian entrepreneurs supported through mentorship, lectures and funding; and called on youth entrepreneurs to take advantage.