By Our Correspondent
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has hailed the Unicorn Group, for developing capacities of youths including those from disadvantaged communities.
Unicorn provides education, training, mentorship, infrastructure and long-term capital to entrepreneurs, start-ups and early stage companies in the technology and technology-enabled sector through its ecosystem strategy.
The Minister was at the Yaba campus of Unicorn, a pan-African investment company targeting innovative ideas, start-ups and early stage companies in the technology and technology-enabled sectors across Africa.
He said, ”This is where dreams come true. This is where ideas are born and they become reality. Having the young ones, from primary to secondary to tertiary institutions, to see the best of Nigeria and the best of Africa is massive.
‘Unicorn is watering the seeds of innovation. Unicorn is showing that
impossible is not Nigerian, that impossible is not African. “Thank you for believing in Nigeria and for putting your money where your mouth is,” the Minister said.
He said the decision to visit is not just to see the great job that Unicorn is doing, but also to help tell the world what Unicorn is doing, adding: ”This is why I have come with about 25 journalists from various media establishments to see and showcase Unicorn’s
groundbreaking work to the world.
The Minister was later taken on a guided tour of the Unicorn’s Yaba
campus, during which he met with some of the companies that have been successfully incubated.
The companies include Bookings Africa.com, which helps professionals of all hues to monetize their skills; Film Anatomies, which uses 3D technology to produce much-needed machine parts, thus saving the country huge resources in foreign exchange; RxAll which produced the technology for authenticating drugs; Mobaby that caters to the needs of babies and
Yahshud, which prevents the exclusion of Muslims, who may not believe in the usual mortgage system, from the real estate industry.
The Minister also visited the stands of the ‘6 Charge Bar’, the company that provides phone battery charge solutions; ‘Inschool’,
which leverages technology to take education to all, irrespective of where they are; Edusko which is connecting parents with good schools as well as I & 0 fashion which caters for women of all shapes and sizes.
He also met with Koniku, a US-based Nigerian firm that has pioneered a technology that digitizes the sense of smell and sense of taste, a technology that can be used to diagnose diseases, prospect for oil as well as provide security at airports.
Alhaji Mohammed said one of the most impressive solution providers he met during the guided tour was a company that produces reusable sanitary pads for young girls, many of whom miss school because they cannot afford the relatively expensive sanitary pads in the market.
The world’s first Liquified Natural Gas stove, which was invented by
young Nigerians under Unicorn’s tutelage, was formally unveiled to the world during the Minister’s visit.
In his remark, the Chairman of Unicorn, Dr. Akintoye Akindele, described the company as a hub for the identification, incubation and development of ideas into companies.
“Where you are today is the first Unicorn campus of our other campuses around the world. This was where we birthed the idea that for Africa, particularly Nigeria, to start achieving its potentials. We must marry education with innovation and with skills,” Dr Akindele said.
He said in order to achieve development, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises have to be supported to transit into mega companies, noting that Unicorn is open to all Nigerians who have ideas and can apply online and be supported to incubate and develop the ideas through mentorship with major CEOs around the world, as well as access to free server, physical library and virtual bookshops connected to campuses around the world to access knowledge.
He decried the current situation in which less than 10 of the 900 Unicorn companies around the world are in Africa and urged Nigeria to emulate countries like China and India where smaller companies were nurtured and supported to become mega corporations.