Lagos, Nigeria; February 27, 2014 – The Tony Elumelu Foundation announced today that it has provided grant support for the Nigeria Innovations Cluster Mapping project. Executed by the African Institution of Technology’s (AFRIT) Education Foundation, the project intends to uncover innovation clusters—groups of companies in similar industries employing new technologies in their business—across Nigeria. The research provided by this project will furnish the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the Nigerian government and the business community with data and tools for understanding what drives innovation clusters and development in every region of Nigeria, and how policies can help these business clusters strengthen their ability to formalise and scale up.
The CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Dr. Wiebe Boer, describes the project as a necessary tool for formulating policies that can improve Nigeria’s competitiveness. He said, “For public and private sector stakeholders to nurture home-grown businesses and innovation effectively, we need information. This is what this mapping tool will provide. As an organization that focuses on entrepreneurship, The Tony Elumelu Foundation needs to know what business trends, innovations and activities are currently underway or showing potential; and with this data, we will be better equipped to shape the nature of our interventions and programmes.”
The Tony Elumelu Foundation recognises the need for clusters to be identified and supported because of their possible impact on sustainable economic growth. Globally, clusters can provide a platform for job creation, and a network for new businesses that provide support services to the clusters that emerge The Innovations Cluster Mapping project will create an objective, quantitative measure to better understand the critical drivers of regional competitiveness and ultimately improve the welfare of Nigerians.
In response to the grant, Dr. Ndubuisi Ekekwe, the founder of African Institution of Technology, highlighted the mapping tool’s potential to create enabling environments for business throughout Nigeria. “This project will provide better tools and data to help take the guesswork out of where to focus resources that support businesses. We will be better able to know why a cluster of leather accessories artisans exist in Aba or what could enable a network of Solar Power entrepreneurs in Sokoto. Through this grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, we have the resources to execute nationwide research that will help understand why these clusters exist, their needs and the possibilities for replication in other parts of the country where similar conditions are available.”
The mapping tool can be accessed online at www.NGClusterMap.com, where users may complete a survey used to collect the necessary data. The study covers the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria and is expected to uncover at least two clusters per zone.