Driving Digital Innovation For Sustainable Entrepreneurship, By Inyene Ibanga

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Technology and digitization are the bedrock of any thriving digital economy, encompassing both advanced and emerging economies. The transformative power of digital technology is having a profound impact on business across its ramifications.

Worldwide, digital technology is considered to be one of the strongest factors for innovation, entrepreneurship and competitiveness in all areas of human activity. It creates innovations in business models and improves some of them comprehensively within the framework of the prevailing realities.

New companies are forcing traditional players to reinvent themselves in order to stay afloat. This means that conventional entrepreneurship (creating products and services for profit) is being replaced by alternative digital innovations, operating models and work practices.

In order for companies to remain competitive in the emerging digital economy, they have no choice but to develop strategies for guaranteed efficiency, productivity and a healthy employee / customer experience.

Digital innovation and entrepreneurship are the main catalysts for rapid economic growth in countries that have adopted the digital economy. This combination has helped improve communication, collaboration, access to international markets and networking between companies.

Entrepreneurs are using new digital technologies to add value to the products and services they offer to consumers. A large number of these consumers are increasingly shifting from the physical market to e-commerce platforms.

The main drivers of transformation in the digital economy include: the Internet of Things (IoT), the industrial Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain technology, robotics, quantum computers, virtual / augmented reality and other emerging technologies.

The global digital economy is valued at around $ 30 trillion, and it is projected that it could create around 123 million jobs by 2030.

Nigeria is one of the few countries in Africa that works tirelessly to preserve the environment in which innovation and entrepreneurship can be anchored.

The recent commissioning of the National Center for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NDI & EC) in Abuja, another project by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), further confirmed that Nigeria’s digital transition from traditional economy to digital Economy is on track.

The Minister for Communication and the Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, held the groundbreaking ceremony with the support of dignitaries from public and private organizations.

As a strategic focus, the ministry has the responsibility to position Nigeria for seamless digital transformation by providing measures to motivate more Nigerian entrepreneurs to unlock the prosperity of the digital economy.

The National Center for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship represents the update of the federal government Initiatives to diversify economically and create jobs and jobs for the young population as set out in the Plan for Economic Recovery and Growth.

The center was designed and built to bridge the gap between industry and science. The aim is to replicate a practical industrial environment suitable for developing technologies and innovations to achieve a domestic digital economy.

According to Inuwa Abdullahi Kashifu, Director General of NITDA, one of the main goals of the center is to provide a catalyst for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in public and private sector organizations. Encourage the development of new technologies and provide an environment in which technology startups can accelerate relevant innovations.

In addition, the center would create an environment for the promotion of advanced and applied research in information and communication technology (ICT). and equipping indigenous companies to become world class service providers.

Again, the center is expected to serve as a research center for technology stakeholders based on the work, live, play and learn concept to encourage creative idea integration and accelerate innovation in a highly collaborative and comprehensive environment.

In order to achieve the goals that shaped the founding of the company, modern facilities have been set up to create the ideal atmosphere necessary to inspire logical, innovative, result-oriented and solution-based reflection among technology enthusiasts.

The most important facilities in the center include a Co-working space in which innovative Nigerians work together and develop common areas of interest for ICT through peer learning and knowledge exchange.

For the provision of technological advice and training for local companies and institutions, the The Business Research and Innovation Space is well equipped to serve as a meeting point for startups and potential investors.

The center is also home to many other state-of-the-art facilities, including on Museum of Information Technology (IT); Demo Laboratories (for new technology exhibitions); High-tech showrooms for research and development; Media Studio and R & E. Hi-tech showrooms.

Other facilities at the center include a smart data center; Network operations center; Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Center (CERRT) and storage area / archive to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of official documents.

Sports and leisure facilities (high school, snooker, table tennis, etc.); A penthouse is available as a relaxation area for innovators and entrepreneurs who are likely to work in the center for an extended period of time. A sick bay is fully equipped 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Incidentally, the facilities at the center will be fully automated to simplify activities and make the environment comfortable and efficient for those involved so that they can make productive connections.

In light of the foregoing, NITDA and its parent ministry have once again taken a giant step towards successfully implementing our digital economy.

This National Center for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics launched in October 2020 represent a real consolidation of Nigeria’s digital transformation.

Indeed, it is heartwarming to know that there are currently plans to set up similar centers in all geopolitical zones of the country to allow more Nigerians to participate in MIT’s globally recognized program to accelerate regional entrepreneurship (MIT-REAP).

These centers offer communities the opportunity to engage with MIT in an evidence-based, practical approach to strengthening innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems (IDE) in the country.

More importantly, the emphasis must be on the regular training and retraining of workers in the public and private sectors through well-formulated guidelines in order to consistently assess the design and quality of such training courses.

In all of these cases it has been shown that renaming the former Ministry of Communications into the current Ministry of Communications and the Digital Economy provides the desired incentive for national prosperity development.

Inyene Ibanga writes from the Wuye district in Abuja.

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