ITMO Launches Project Innovation to Market (I2M), Plans Improvement of Innovation Eco-System

The Innovation and Technology Management Office (ITMO), University of Lagos has reiterated its mission to provide robust learning resources, integrated support system for a sustainable innovation ecosystem in Nigeria.

This quest was demonstrated on Thursday, May 11, 2023 with the launch of its Project Innovation to Market (I2M) at the Faculty of Social Science New Auditorium.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor FolasadeTolulopeOgunsola, FAS in her remarks highlighted the importance of technology, research, and innovation systems. According to her, the university recognizes the need to solve problems and most particularly understands the need to bridge the gap of researchers and the marketplace by managing innovations from ideation to commercialization. 

Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade T. Ogunsola, FAS delivering her remarks at the event

In her words “In a world driven by constant change and technological advancements, innovation has become the key to success for individuals, businesses, and entire economies. It is the lifeblood that fuels growth, creates jobs, and improves the quality of life for people around the globe. However, despite the abundance of brilliant ideas, many innovators face significant hurdles when it comes to turning their concepts into viable commercial ventures. That’s where Project Innovation to Market steps in.

This initiative recognizes the immense potential of groundbreaking ideas and seeks to bridge the gap between innovation and commercialization. Its primary objective is to provide innovators/researchers with the necessary resources, mentorship, and support to transform their ideas into market-ready products and services.

One of the key strengths of Project Innovation to Market lies in its holistic approach. It takes into account the multifaceted nature of innovation, recognizing that success requires more than just a brilliant idea. Through this program, participants will have access to a wide range of services, including prototype funding, training, business registration, Intellectual property protection, start-up funding, an incubator program, licensing, and networking opportunities. This comprehensive ecosystem will empower innovators to navigate the complex journey from ideation to market launch.” 

In her welcome remarks at the event, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor AyodeleAtsenuwa highlighted the importance of the I2M project, and averred that the Innovation and Technology Management Office aims to deploy resources such that innovations can be nurtured until they are ready for the market.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development Services, Professor Ayodele Victoria Atsenuwa delivering the welcome remarks at the I2M launch

She said the project will also create a self-sustaining incubator program for innovators that want to take their products to market via a startup, as well as expose them to training to create bankable businesses that can attract big investments.

The Team Lead (West Africa Research and Innovation), Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Leanne Jones revealed that the body seeks to help research organizations to produce relevant, high-quality research; and build a supportive, inclusive environment for researchers and research organizations to flourish.

The hybrid event also featured a panel discussion on “Strengthening the Nigerian Innovation Ecosystem” which was moderated by the Director of the Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Centre, Prof. Sunday Adebisi.

Some of the panel Speakers included Founder, Future Africa, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji; Executive Director, FATE Foundation, AdenikeAdeyemi; Google Director, West Africa, Juliet Ehimuan; Head UNILAG Innovation Unit, Hakeem Amuda; Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, Teju Abisoye, and Founder Groundbreakers, Ian Barker.

The Panel session moderated by Professor Sunday Adebisi

Earlier, the Director, Innovation and Technology Management Office (ITMO), Dr. AbiodunGbenga-Iloribemoaned the number of research papers that have had no economic impacts despite the strength of the innovation index in the country.

In a presentation that focused on the benefits of the project, partnerships, and strategic plans, Dr. Gbenga-Ilori posited that the I2M project is basically to improve the national innovation ecosystem by creating pathways for innovations to get to the market and benefit society.

Acting Director, ITMO, Dr. Abiodun Gbenga-Ilori making a presentation at the launch

In her words “from our findings at ITMO we found out the Knowledge Gap, to translate idea and research into marketable products. As such, our project goal is to empower Nigerian Researchers and Innovators and in taking their innovative profits to the market and solve societal problems, and nurture innovations at various stages, from ideation to commercialization”.

 The project Innovation to Market (I2M) is a pioneering initiative funded by the UKAID’s Research and Innovation Systems for Africa (RISA) aimed at empowering innovators and researchers in Nigeria to take their innovative products to the market.

Representative of the Executive Secretary, (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed , (Director of Skills Development & Entrepreneurship) Ladan Ashafa delivering the address of the ES at the Launch
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