2022: A year of driving knowledge transfer and building new and stronger UK-Nigeria innovation partnership opportunities

Posted on: 19/12/2022

With a revised focus for 2022, this year was full of high notes for the Nigeria team at Global Alliance Africa.

Led by Joshua Adedeji and Sophie West, several exciting projects were initiated to build stronger UK-Africa partnerships to unlock Nigeria’s innovation potential and drive inclusive economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction across the region.

One of the highlights of this year has been the ongoing collaboration with our Place-based Innovation (PBI) Advisory Group in Ekiti State, Nigeria. To date, the Group, consisting of representatives from local academia, industry, government organisations, investment firms, NGOs and innovation hubs, has designed a roadmap of activities for the Innovation Action Plan (IAP) and delivered three networking events for the Local Innovation Network (LIN) to foster collaborations across the ecosystem. An example of this was the recent partnership between Innovate UK KTN and The Convergence for the largest youth gathering in Ekiti State on 25th November 2022. The event explored the potential of innovation to unlock investment and job opportunities for the youth of Ekiti State. As part of the event, KTN launched a call for proposals (over 40 proposals received) for ten young innovators to receive pitch training support from the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), part of the University of Lagos. Ten innovators were then shortlisted to showcase their innovations at a marketplace at the event and pitch to a panel of investors. KTN and EDC will be providing ongoing support to the young innovators. The gathering was in line with the online dialogue hosted in August to commemorate International Youth Day under the theme “Accelerating youth-led innovations”. You can find out more about our work on youth empowerment here.

With the huge potential for technology and innovations to boost the aquaculture sector in Ekiti, KTN has been busy designing a knowledge exchange showcase event (planned for January 2023) to allow innovators, researchers, businesses in the feed production sector from UK-Nigeria and global to share their stories, information, ideas and innovations on the Use of Alternative Proteins in Feed Production, Locally Available Feed Ingredients and Technologies to reduce feed production costs and energy usage. It is hoped that the international knowledge exchange activities will result in a new innovative collaboration exchange model being tested in Ekiti State.

Another critical action for the year for PBI has been commissioning an ecosystem mapping tool for Ekiti State. The KTN team has received significant demand for a map that captures information about the relevant stakeholders within the innovation ecosystem in Ekiti State.

Further to the newly signed Start-Up Bill in Nigeria, KTN has started to work with the Ekiti State Government to scope opportunities for international knowledge exchange for the domestication of the newly signed Start-Up Bill in Ekiti in early 2023.

Innovation Exchange - Hinckley Recycling - Second Life Batteries
Innovation Exchange - Hinckley Recycling - Second Life Batteries

Other outstanding milestones include new partnerships developed through the Open Innovation intervention, accelerating the penetration of innovation, and increasing supply chain robustness and diversification. Through our Innovation Exchange programme, we launched our first Open Innovation challenges in Nigeria with Hinckley Recycling on Innovative Solutions for Second Life Batteries and creating a Battery Management System. In addition, KTN has signed a Letter of Collaboration with First Bank Nigeria to run an Innovation Exchange challenge with the Bank’s extensive client base. We have several exciting Open Innovation challenges in the pipeline and look forward to launching them in 2023. Click here to find out more about our Open Innovation challenges.

With Nigeria’s economy being the largest in Africa, interventions are being planned to attract further investment and funding for entrepreneurs. For this reason, the Access to Funding pillar is formed of activities that raise the awareness and brokerage of Collaborative R&D (CR&D) funding innovation opportunities in key thematic areas of mutual interest for UK-Africa businesses and innovators & researchers. In June, Innovate UK KTN partnered with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre (NCIC) to host an Energy Catalyst Briefing: Launch and Brokerage Event in Lagos. With key industry leaders in attendance, the event provided ambitious organisations with a chance to learn more about the Energy Catalyst and connect with potential partners from bioenergy, storage, solar PV, wind, heating and cooling, clean cooking, intelligent grids, and novel payment systems. Aligned to this, in November, the Nigeria country team supported Innovate UK Edge (also part of the Innovate UK group)  to host UK companies visiting Nigeria to engage with stakeholders in the energy sector. This included a networking evening at the British High Commission Residence to allow UK-Nigerian businesses to scope collaboration opportunities.

Lastly, in December, KTN partnered with the Innovation Support Network (ISN) to host the first-ever Innovation Canvas training in Nigeria for their network members as part of the Strengthening the Investment Pipeline (SIP) intervention. As a result of this training, there is now significant interest from other organisations in Nigeria for the Innovation Canvas training. You can read about the recent training session in Lagos here.

As we wrap up 2022 and prepare for the year ahead, plans are already underway to announce the launch of the Global Innovation Networks in Nigeria in 2023 in the Energy, Digital and Creative Industries and Circular Economy sectors, bridging the greatest minds in Nigeria and the UK to address common challenges and identify investment and international collaboration opportunities. There are also several exciting new partnerships for KTN in Nigeria that we are hoping to be able to announce in early 2023 formally, so watch out for these on the Global Alliance Africa programme webpage.

 

About Global Alliance Africa

The Global Alliance Africa project is a six-year project funded by UK Aid through Innovate UK (GCRF) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

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Webpage: ktn-uk.org/programme/africa

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Global Alliance Africa is a six-year project funded by UK Aid through Innovate UK (GCRF) and FCDO.

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