The Lagos State Government on Tuesday gave out a total of N100 million grants to 23 innovators and technology firms.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said at the award ceremony in Ikeja that the grants were to enable the beneficiaries pursue various technology-driven innovations across the six pillars of the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda of his administration.
Sanwo-Olu said that the 23 recipients were the first set to be picked to benefit from the N250 million seed capital earmarked in 2019 as research and innovation fund.
The awardees were selected through competitive process overseen by the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC), established in 2019 by Sanwo-Olu.
LASRIC has 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 and urged them to apply the grants judiciously to transform their ideas into reality.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration was born with the sole aim of solving contemporary challenges facing the state.
He said that the 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.
“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, 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 to successful applicants.
“I congratulate all awardees and beneficiaries of the 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 project with the belief that local challenges are best solved by thinking, understanding and appreciating local contexts and peculiarities.
“We believe in Lagos-supported solutions for Lagos-specific challenges. With the awarding of the grants, the responsibility now firmly rests on the recipients to justify the opportunity,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He further said that science and technology remained key enablers to transform the socio-economic destinies of cities.
According to him, any serious government must give total commitment to application of technology and innovation to improve service delivery in transport management, healthcare, education, waste management, security and governance.
He said that Lagos was on a journey to properly identify, resource, enable and build great human potential through flagship technology-driven projects, such as metrofibre programme and smart city initiative.
“We are also working to transform the civil service by encouraging innovative thinking and deploying technology tools and processes.
“Flagship projects such as the metrofibre and the smart city initiative are key enablers for achieving this,” the governor said.
He urged unsuccessful applicants not to lose hope, but re-apply for the grant in the next round of selection.
Sanwo-Olu said that the state government would be increasing the grant to accommodate more innovators in the subsequent application.
Mr Olatunbosun Alake, Special Adviser to the governor on Innovation and Technology, described the ceremony as ”tangible development” in the history of governance in the state.
Alake said that the awardees would be initiating innovation in key areas of manufacturing, food security and health management.
He said that recipients represented 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.
Also, Chairman of LASRIC, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the event was a testimony of Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to development of innovative solutions to challenges facing the state.
Ogundipe said that the council would continue to assist the state government to harness human and material resources for problem solving, wealth creation and transformation of the state’s economy.
A beneficiary and founder of Price Pally, Luther Lawoyin, who received N5 million grant, thanked the governor for creating opportunities for tech startups to push forward their ideas.
Lawoyin said that his business depended on data management, promising to invest the grant on improving food security.