It was a very special day at the Skill Innov8 Centre at Abuja on November 20 as it got the endorsement of the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.
Blinken’s visit was an extraordinary one to a private sector place owned and managed by private sector player, Skill G, a major company in technical, vocational and STEM education advancement.
Skill G is a brainchild of the entrepreneur and scholar, Prof. Gregory Ibe where they incubate skills, turn them into concrete creations that are further developed into prototype machines, gadgets and equipment to power technology advancement in Nigeria.
The Innov8 Centre located at a quiet outpost of the city of Abuja caught the attention of this big personality who was in Nigeria for an official working trip.
It was really a very rare one.
He had published on his official website that “later today, I will visit the “Innov8” start-up hub to meet some of the inventors and founders who embody Nigeria’s entrepreneural drive.” And that exactly he did.
As he stepped into the centre, he was wowed as all visitors have always been. So, Blinken was one of the persons and the latest to get the surprise package of what the Innov8 Centre does to develop technology talents in Nigeria, create their ideas into useful items that form the bedrock of advancement in any society.
At the Centre, the promotion of home-grown technology is not a slogan. It is an action that is worked every day in all spheres of tech innovation – power, renewable energy, agriculture, ICT, machine designs, fabrication, mechatronics and many more.
The Centre is run by Skill G in partnership with Israeli experts and partners and the skills development there even trickles down to garment making, shoe making and also to the rudiments of how the ICT and other modern technology are adapted into them.
Visiting Innov8, Blinken said he was impressed with what goes on there and how that innovative move would become the pivot of Nigeria’s tech and innovation incubation.
According to Blinken, in his two times of visiting Nigeria, he has been struck by two things – the vibrant civil society and the innovative spirit of the people.
He said he was sure the centre he visited would become a rallying point for the advancement of innovation and technological growth of Nigeria.
He sounded amazed by the advanced machines, machine models and prototypes the Nigerian skilled hands create and fabricate at the centre.
He said he was sure those creations from bright ideas would be put into application for the market and growth of incredible innovation for entreprenuership.
After a meeting with President Muhmmadu Buhari at the State House, Blinken addressed a gathering at the ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja and later took time out to visit the only non-government place and appointment he had in his schedule.
Also at the visit, the Managing Director Skill G, Prof. Ibe explained to the US Secretary of State that the entire idea that powers the Innov8 Centre is the desire to develop local talents to drive the Nigerian economy and system in a knowledge generation.
Ibe told ACE that he was sure it was just a matter of time before the works, products and ideas blossoming at the Innov8 Centre sweep over the country to power every sector towards growth.