We are thrilled to share the highlights from the groundbreaking launch event, "Project Innovation to Market," popularly referred to as Project I2M. Project I2M is an initiative of the Innovation and Technology Management Office of the University of Lagos towards empowering innovators and researchers in Nigeria to take their innovative products to market. It has the aim of building an integrated support system for a sustainable innovation ecosystem in Nigeria. The project I2M launch was a highly successful one and it brought together key stakeholders, including esteemed individuals from academia, industry, and government, along with innovators and researchers from across Nigeria.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development Services) in her welcome remarks, welcomed everyone to the event and hinted that innovation and research are what universities are known for and that they are major ways to address unemployment. She said the project I2M is one of the first activities of the university’s ITMO that won a funding opportunity from RISA through a competitive process. She asked everyone to join us to mark this turning point on how innovation is going to take place not just in UNILAG but across the nation.

Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, FAS, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development Services), Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa

In her address, Vice-Chancellor Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, FAS introduced Project I2M to everyone and expressed that she believes that Project Innovation to Market will be a catalyst for change, unlocking the potential of countless innovators and revolutionizing industries across the board and making Nigeria a net-producing economy. She went further to say that the Project I2M 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.

FCDO Country Manager, Leanne Jones, RISA Technical Lead, Alice Omisore and Ag. Director, ITMO/Project Director, Dr. Abiodun Gbenga-Ilori

The Country Technical Lead of RISA, Alice Omisore in her speech, informed the audience that the objective of RISA is to bridge the gap between Research Institutions and Innovators through funding and technical support primarily given to organizations focused on providing capacity building for research and innovation ecosystem. Furthermore, the West Africa Research and Innovation Team Lead of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Leane Jones, commended the University of Lagos for the initiative. She explained that the project is exciting as it brings together key stakeholders from a vast range of organizations critical to support innovation across the nation, including universities, polytechnics, research institutions, innovation hubs, industry, entrepreneurs, and policymakers, pooling ideas and resources.

Representative of the Executive Secretary, NUC, Mr. Ladan Ashafa (Director, Skills Development and Entrepreneurship)

The Representative of the National Universities Commission Executive Secretary, Ladan Ashafa commended the efforts of the University of Lagos and affirmed that the commission is always willing to collaborate with any institution that has any value to add not only to the system but to the nation at large. He also commended Research and Innovation Systems for Africa (RISA) for their immense contribution towards the recognition of the importance of project Innovation to Market and its implementation for socio-economic development in Nigeria.

The event also had a panel session where industry experts and key players in the innovation ecosystem in Nigeria shared their perspectives. The members of the panel include IYIN ABOYEJI (Founder of Future Africa), ADENIKE ADEYEMI (Executive Director, Fate Foundation), JULIET EHIMUAN (Country Director for Google in Nigeria) PROF. AMUDA HAKEEM (Professor of Welding and Process Analysis and also Director of CITS, UNILAG), TEJU ABISOYE (Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)), IAN BARKER (Founder, Groundbreakers).

 A cross-section of our panellists 

The project director, Dr. Abiodun Gbenga-Ilori in her presentation highlighted the factors that hinder research outputs from translating to commercialization to be lack of proper know-how on how to innovate, limited access to capital for prototyping, inadequate access to machinery and laboratory equipment, slow intellectual property protection, and limited access to market and industry linkages. She expressed that the project is not for the University of Lagos alone it is for the whole country. She also mentioned that special attention will be given to people within the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (youths, persons with disability, women and illiterates). She further explained that innovators onboarded into the project will be provided with prototype funding, training, business registration, Intellectual property protection, start-up funding, an incubator program, licensing and networking opportunities.


The event was attended by other special guests including the members of the UNILAG management team, Industry experts, Entrepreneurs and researchers/innovators from across the country. The event had over 300 participants both onsite and online.