Entrepreneurs, students, business service providers gathered in Abuja and Lagos to brainstorm solutions to the policy constraints to starting and growing innovative businesses and ways to improve the regulatory environment for startups in Nigeria. The gatherings were hosted by i4policy and resulted in Hackathons where more than a 100 people gathered in both cities.

The unique policy workshop format developed by i4policy required the participants to become “policy shapers” for a day, and wear the hat of a policy maker with a mandate to create legislation that can solve the problems they are concerned about.

“The OIIE has held stakeholder meetings and consultations, and is developing a policy framework that supports IT, innovation, and the Nigerian startup ecosystem. We support the Policy Hackathon organized by GIZ, i4policy, Impact Hub and Civic Innovation Lab,” said Dr. Amina Sambo, The National Coordinator of the Office of ICT, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE) under the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), at the hackathon in Abuja.

Dr. Sambo added that Nigeria needs to invest in youth as they are the future of innovation for the country. The Policy Hackathon was made possible with support from “Make-IT in Africa”, in conjunction with i4Policy, Civic Innovation Lab and Impact Hub Lagos. The outcomes and policy recommendations from the hackathons will be shared with the office of the Vice President, the OIIE, and the general public.

“Civic engagement is the most important part of the political process and many young Nigerians feel removed from that process. The Policy Hackathon was an opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators to discuss the most persistent constraints that they face in an environment that was supportive and encouraging. The solutions that they presented demonstrated their need to see policies that represented the common interests of all Nigerians," said Chiemelie Umenyiora, Regional Coordinator for West Afrika at Make-IT.