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From Inception To Pre-incubation, Futuris Institute Is Redefining The Innovation Ecosystem For African Startups

Nigeria Student Forum / General Discussion / From Inception To Pre-incubation, Futuris Institute Is Redefining The Innovation Ecosystem For African Startups

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Sani Ibrahim
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa,University
Agricultural economics and extension
100Level, Nigeria.
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Despite the huge potentials present in Africa, the continent
has failed to live up to her true status and basically depends
on imported technological innovations to grow.
Recently, there has been an increase in technological startups
in Africa due to the massive involvement of players such as
founders and investors.
This improvement has led to the creation of African made
technological solutions tailored to solve some lingering
problems in some of the major sectors and industries in
Technological solutions created by entrepreneurs have given
birth to the development of new markets, created
employment, and opened streams of incomes which ultimately
contributes to the GDP of a country.
But for the Africa continent to truly grow and harness the
power of technology effectively, there should be a system in
place that will teach everything about entrepreneurship and
this and many more is what the Futuris Institute METI program
is all about.
CFAmedia team caught up with Dr Lotfi Belkhir, Director,
Futuris Institute where he explained everything about the
institute and how Nigerians can benefit immensely from the
METI program.
Futuris Institute the ideal post-secondary institution for
Lotfi started by stating that the Algerian based FUTURIS
Institute is a private post-secondary institution that focuses on
hands-on entrepreneurship-by-doing education.
He also stated that the institution offers a 2-year Master in
Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Technologies also known as
“Unlike most entrepreneurship programs in the world, the
METI is a program where the students actually create and
launch their own technology startup during the duration of the
program itself”, Lotfi stressed
Difference between Futuris Institute and other accelerators/
incubations programs
The director elaborated on the difference between futurist
Institute and accelerator/incubation programs which according
to him entrepreneurship and innovation today have grown into
both a science and an art that require in-depth training by
experienced pracademics (i.e. seasoned practitioners with
strong academic credentials and pedagogical skills).
Incubators and accelerators according to him, provide helpful
coaching and mentorship but fall way short in teaching their
students the know-how needed by their entrepreneurs to
maximize their chances of success in this extremely
competitive arena.
“Unlike incubators and accelerators that recruit already formed
startup teams, have a well-defined project and work to provide
to the legal, business and sometimes financial support to help
them grow and succeed the FUTURIS Institute comes further
upstream in the process, and facilitates the formation and
nurturing of the startup from its inception, gestation and all the
way to the pre-incubation stage. As such, it represents an
essential and currently missing link from the innovation
ecosystem of almost every African country,”
“Our METI program, an inspiration from the award-winning
program at McMaster University, in Canada, will deliver both
the technical and managerial skills to equip our students with
the deep expertise in both the hard and soft skills required to
compete with even the best and most innovative startups in the
world.” Lotfi maintained.
Facilitating the growth of entrepreneurship in Nigeria and
indeed Africa
When it comes to facilitating the growth of entrepreneurs in
Nigeria (and indeed Africa) Lotfi explained the vision of the
institute and why the institute is well-positioned to help
Nigerians unleash their entrepreneurial potentials.
“Our vision is to see our graduate students go back to their
countries of origin, create success stories and pay it forward
by staying connected with Futuris Institute and becoming our
future mentors, ambassadors and even teachers,” Lotfi
“We strongly believe that over a fairly short time, this would
result in the emergence of a genuinely African and
independent ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship,
based on mutual respect, trust, and equity, between fellow
African countries, and that caters for the social and economic
needs as well as the welfare of its indigenous populations of
the continent.” He noted
Requirement needed in joining the institute
Lotfi noted that it is very easy for applicants in any African
country to apply for the METI program.
“It’s very simple and interested candidates should fill out an
Application Request Form from our website and provided their
university major fits our criteria.
They will receive from our administrator a detailed application
form for them to fill out and include all the other required
documents in the application itself.” He maintained
He further explained that the admission criteria are the same
for students from Nigeria as for Algeria or any other African
country and outlined all the requirements needed to join.
“Prospective student has to have earned at least a bachelor in
a STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics)
discipline, have a genuine interest in starting their own
technology startup, meet our admission guidelines which
include GPA and reference letters, and successfully pass an
interview by our admission committee.” He clarified.
Difference between Futuris and other education institutions in
Lotfi explained that the key differentiator of our program is
what we call the “tollgate” process, where the startup team
has to successfully go through 3 major phases of development
of their startup during the two-year program.
“Students complete each phase of the program by defending
their project before an evaluation committee composed by two
faculty advisors and two mentors (technical and business) who
are industry experts in the same field as the startup team.
As far as I know, I don’t know of any educational institute in
the world that gathers all these elements into a single
program.” He stressed.
Benefits put in place by the institution for graduating students
Lotfi explained that the institute will not send the graduating
students back to their respective countries with just their
“As part of our core principles, we don’t make any decisions
for our students. How could we claim to shape leaders if we
tell them what to do with their projects?”
We’re here to equip them with the skills, competencies, and
mindset, and then guide them,” Lotfi explained.
“From the start of the program, whether in the course of
selecting their startup project or their team members, we put
them in the driver seat and expect them to own 100% of their
While we provide them with a list of qualified mentors, we
encourage them to find and attract their own, as long as they
meet our criteria.”
While we expect many students to go back to their original
countries, we also expect and hope that the mixed teams will
stand out and start a more regional and even global market
Whatever ends up happening, it’s up to our young leaders to
decide, and we’re confident that it’s going to be for the
betterment of all the African people and the world,” Lotfi

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