The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) have inaugurated an “ICAN-BOI Tech Hub,” to promote job creation, entrepreneurship and skill development in the technology space.
The tech hub was inaugurated on Tuesday at the ICAN annex office in Lagos.
The Managing Director, BOI, Mr Olukayode Pitan, said the project was necessary, given the increasing importance of technology to development and youth empowerment.
Pitan said the dominant role of technology in many professions, including accountancy, had transformed the way businesses operated, resulting in improved efficiency, cost-saving, and simplified processes.
According to him, the tech hub is to ensure that members of the institute and the public can access the necessary skills and competencies required to become job creators and productive contributors in today’s tech-savvy world.
“The tech hub shall encourage development and testing of new ideas, products and business models as well as create an environment to prepare for start-ups and existing businesses for sustainability.
“It also aims at boosting business mentorship, market linkages and accelerated programmes to enable young entrepreneurs to scale up.
“Technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are key factors shaping global trends and there is a need to continually scale up on them for our national economic growth and development,” he said.
The BOI boss noted that young people were embracing an entrepreneurship mindset and technological skills, which had resulted in the provision of innovative solutions servicing millions of people in diverse sectors.
Emphasizing the importance of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, he noted that the sector contributed 14.7 per cent to the gross domestic product in 2020 and increased to 15.21 per cent in 2021.
“We can see a perfect example of the value of tech hubs when we consider Silicon Valley, which is one of the earliest tech hubs in the world.
“It houses the headquarters of many of the world’s largest high tech operations as well as thousands of promising start-ups and we have started on that journey here in Nigeria.
“Nigerian FinTechs are fast gaining recognition globally. In 2021, Nigerian FinTech start-ups raised about 1.37 billion dollars out of a total of four billion dollars raised by African start-ups despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In Nigeria, we can boast of having technologically-driven products and services such as Flutterwave, Opay, Andela, Interswitch and Jumia.
“This shows the growing significance of ICT in driving the economy,” he noted.
Pitan added that the BOI, through its corporate social responsibility programmes, would proactively continue to support the establishment of tech hubs across the country.
He said the ICAN-BOI tech hub collaboration brought the total tech hubs established by BOI to 10 in six states across the country.
“Structurally, the ICAN-BOI tech hub boasts of over 250 co-work desks, meeting rooms, private offices, a relaxation center and a hybrid area for organizing competitions and hackathons.
“In collaboration with ICAN, we have made provisions for all divider networks, IT equipment, power supply and all required to enable the hub function at optimal capacity.
“The bank is committed to making all its financing products and services available to bankable projects that emanate from users of the tech hub.
“We are confident that this hub will help users to innovate, incubate, collaborate and scale up as they become employers of labor and contributors to the economy of the nation,” he said.
The 57th ICAN President, Mrs. Comfort Eyitayo, said the hub was positioned to empower users through different stages from idea generation to actualization of products or services.
Eyitayo expressed gratitude to the management of BOI for partnering the institute to ensure members and youths were equipped with the necessary skills for economic growth and development.
On his part, the ICAN Registrar, Prof. Ahmed Kumshe, commended Eyitayo, who through the ICAN Entrepreneurship Development Centre initiative brought about the partnership with BOI that resulted in the establishment of the tech hub.
He urged the institute to enlighten members and students to maximize the benefits of the hub since technology had taken over every aspect of life, especially in finance.