How can the regulatory environment for innovation and entrepreneurship be improved across the country?

“Make-IT in Africa” successfully conducted two Policy Hackathons. The aim was to bridge the gap between the different ecosystem stakeholders and offering opportunities to the community to align their interests and speak up with a unified voice. The workshops brought entrepreneurs, students, business service providers together to brainstorm solutions to the policy constraints to starting and growing innovative businesses and to draft ways to improve the regulatory environment for start-ups in Nigeria.

 

High probability of implementation

A survey of the participants indicated overall optimism that the policy recommendations that emerged from the brainstorming sessions would eventually be adopted and legislated. One of the policy shapers said that “the fact that it is a bottom-up approach to policy development gives this hackathon credibility and the likelihood of implementation”.

Dr. Amina Sambo, The National Coordinator of the Office of ICT, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE) under the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) was present at the Abuja leg of the Policy Hackathon to provide an overview of government interventions to support start-ups, as well as to answer questions from the visibly engaged participants:

“The OIIE has held stakeholder meetings and consultations, and is developing a policy framework that supports IT, innovation, and the Nigerian startup ecosystem. We support the Policy Hackathon organized by GIZ, i4policy, Impact Hub and Civic Innovation Lab”.

Connecting start-up ecosystems across the country

The highly creative process was especially possible because professionals from so many different backgrounds engaged in the process together. The event became an ideal example of connecting the different stakeholders of multiple start-up centres from across the country not limited to the start-up strongholds of Lagos and Abuja.

Chiemelie Umenyiora, Make-IT Regional Coordinator for West Africa said “civic engagement is the most important part of the political process and many young Nigerians feel removed from that process. The Policy Hackathon was an opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators to discuss the most persistent constraints that they face in an environment that was supportive and encouraging. The solutions that they presented demonstrated their need to see policies that represented the common interests of all Nigerians.”

The outcomes and policy recommendations from the hackathons will be shared with the office of the Vice President, the OIIE, and the general public. Follow-up events are planned with government representatives and start-up ecosystem actors.

The event at the Impact Hub Lagos and the Civic Innovation Lab Abuja was organized in cooperation with i4Policy.

We thank everyone who was there and surprised us with forward-thinking ideas and attitudes!

Pictures by: Chiemelie Uche Umenyiora

 

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