The Lagos State Government on Tuesday gave out a total of N100 million grants to 23 innovators and technology firms.
Governor 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 added 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 a competitive process overseen by the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC); established in 2019 by Sanwo-Olu.
Equally important, LASRIC has the mandate to facilitate and encourage the development of innovative solutions to solve local problems, using cutting-edge technology.
The Lagos governor congratulated the successful awardees of the research funds. Further, he 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 noted 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. 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.
Further, he said that science and technology remained key enablers to transform the socio-economic destinies of cities. Any serious government, he noted, 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,” he said.
Meanwhile, 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.