Opolo Global Innovation seeks ecosystem support to boost job creation

He said Opolo as a springboard for innovators to succeed, understands that the nation must experience meaningful development, create jobs and improve livelihoods.

 

Mr Francis Makinwa, Director, Opolo Global Innovation Ltd., says there is need for an ecosystem that supports innovations from start-ups to create more jobs that can boost national growth and development.

Makinwa said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos.

According to him, there is a need to pay serious attention to young Nigerians, particularly those with talents and willing to impact lives and communities positively.

He said Opolo as a springboard for innovators to succeed, understands that the nation must experience meaningful development, create jobs and improve livelihoods.

According to him ,the firm does not discriminate by not looking at gender, demography, state of origin and other variables.

Makinwa said; “So, we can talk about a young girl or boy who has ideas or solution, maybe that can solve a particular problem in the communities.
We leverage our resources to work with them, using technology to find solution to that problem.

“Even though, I mentioned technology, what we do is not just technology-based,technology  means we can scale it beyond the borders or  boundaries of Nigeria.”

Makinwa noted that the company, through its resources and partners, could help  persons with ideas remove their ideas from cubicles to commercialisation level.

According to him, Opolo has the mandate to set up hubs in many institutions across the country.

“We have set up to three hubs in Lagos, University of Osun State and Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU). So, it is a strategic decision because we feel that is the base of ideas- the learning institution where it is easy for people to stimulate themselves.

“This is because young people are inquisitive to think of everyday problem and provide solutions. That is why we are setting up those hubs in tertiary institutions,” he added.

Makinwa, however, said that the service was not only for students of learning institutions, but also for lecturers and researchers.

He noted that the company realised that a lot of professors and doctorate holders were doing quite well in research to solve peculiar problems in the communities.

“In most cases after conducting the research, they get funds and then leave it on the shelves. Therefore, Opolo is planning to partner with people like that to grow ideas that can scale into the market and generate revenue and as well as make impact within their communities.

“If you look at foreign organisations and investors, you will see that a lot of innovators come from universities and sometimes not even from the students but from the research communities.,” he said

The director said that the organisation planned to harness the potential of research communities in the country by providing a platform where high-tech business growth could be accelerated and in return for prosperity to such communities.

Makinwa said with Opolo having its focal point for innovation, start-up incubation, acceleration programmes such as technology transfer knowledge and skills impaction amongst others, the company also allows walk-in innovators.

He said that the walk-in option allows innovators to explain to the company what they do, how they do it and therefore give Opolo the opportunity to look at the possibilities of the ideas.

On whether innovators pay for the skills, knowledge and mentorship they receive, he said the organisation tried to find a balance between revenue generation, impact and supporting the communities.

“If you come to us with a ground breaking agenda that we feel it will solve a lot of problems and you don’t have a fund to execute it, why not we find a middle ground, in terms of supporting with resource and platform to do these things to create a win-win situation,” he said.

According to him, the organisation has recorded some success stories in terms of start-ups that are doing well since its establishment in 2019 during the COVID-19 lockdown.

He noted that the aspect of commercialising the research works started in January, making it a work-in-progress,.

” Right now, we are looking to doing more exponentially from Opolo Growth 1.0 and now, Opolo Growth 2.0.,” he said.

Also, Mrs Laide John, Managing Consultant for VA Consult, a management and financial consulting firm to Opolo, said the organisation was brought in to help in pivoting the next growth.

John said that Opolo engages innovators, using capacity building, infrastructure support through incubator hubs and centres,as well as mentorship and financing, which include funding, technical and advisory support .

According to her, Opolo Global innovation Ltd., is a very unique initiative that grows young and brillant minds who are passionate about science, technology, engineering and science.

“It is one of the initiatives that I would say is different. Many can’t find any organisation like Opolo Global in Nigeria.
The reason why I said that with all sense of responsibility is because of what we do.

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“The good and unique thing about us is that we are not just looking for digital ideals because we see that now, we have a lot of people putting money in Fintech because that is the direction now.

“Opolo is quite different because you can be innovators. You don’t have to be an innovator just within the technological space. If you have fantastic idea that can scale for commerciability, then we can bring you on board and grow with you and of course give you the necessary support required to grow,” John said.

She, however, said many start-ups begin well but most times are not able to grow beyond four years ,mostly.

The consultant said, “With us, that is the different because we are able to provide support all through the process and also to accelerate you to scale up your commerciability.

“Based on fact and figures, many start- ups within the first five years fail. A lot of people tend to attribute it just to money but it is beyond money. Technical and management skills, particularly to run an enterprise because it takes resilience.

“We are also focusing in urban areas, but also rural areas which is where a lot of attention is not given. Infact, we call them ‘the underserved segment’ areas.”

Opolo Global Innovation Ltd., is an innovation advisory platform for innovators who need infrastructure and support network to grow, and for investors who need promising start-ups and ideas to invest in.

Opolo creates an environment to congregate entrepreneurs, investors, corporate entities, thought leaders, indigenous innovators and startups to inspire sustained economic growth across the country.

 

 

(NAN)

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