Technology hubs spread across Nigeria, may create more jobs
The Guardian findings showed that there are now about 50 technology hubs in Nigeria, up from seven about five years ago. Further checks revealed that South West houses about 15; South East has two; South South is home to eight, while Northern Nigeria can boast of 12 hubs.
A ‘tech hub’ is a physical space – a city, a suburb or just a suite of offices – which has developed to help technology startup companies succeed and, they hope, become the next tech titan like Facebook or Microsoft.
Indeed, in the South West, we have hubs including the newly launched Vibranium Valley, owned by Venture Garden Group (VGG), which is currently home to 30 technology startups and can host 50 at once.
It was commissioned by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at the weekend and currently uses the complex of the defunct Concord Newspapers, owned by late Chief MKO Abiola.
Other hubs in Lagos are CCHub; NG_Hub, established by Facebook; Leadpath; Impact Hub; Artificial Intelligence Hub, AkureTech Hub in Ondo; VerveTree in Abeokuta, Wennovation Hub; among others.
Those in the South East include Roar Nigeria Hub, established by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Innovation Growth Hub, located in Aba, Abia state.
Northern Nigeria has Enspire Hub; Blue Hub; StoneBrick Hub; Startpreneurs; Civic Innovation; The Tangent; Founders Hub; Technology Develop for Poverty Alleviation Initiative Hub, Co-Lab, among others. Most of these hubs are situated in Abuja.
The South-South zone has Delta State Innovation Hub; Start Innovation Hub; Root Hub; Gig Innovation Hub; Strategic Hub; Focus hub, among others.
Speaking at the unveiling of Vibranium Valley, Prof. Osinbanjo assured investors, stressing that the business of government was to provide an environment, where businesses could flourish and investments grow, “which have been the targets of this government.”
Osinbajo said government in its capacity would do everything possible to ensure technology is developed and adequately harnessed.
According to him, the future of Nigeria is not oil or solid minerals, but about technology, innovation, adding: “And tech innovation is all about highly-skilled people, entrepreneurship spirit and a supporting ecosystem of government, investors, mentors and global collaboration.”
The VP, who revealed that in the coming weeks, government would open three more hubs in Yola and Edo state, said: “In the past, Nigerian billionaires were traders, oil and gas moguls, and natural resources….In the next few years, the billionaires from Nigeria will be techies.”
In an earlier interview with The Guardian, the Director-General, Delta State Innovation Hub (DSHUB), Chris Uwaje, said the establishment of innovation hubs was a prerequisite for current and future competitiveness and survivability.
He stressed that nations must be re-tooled to meet the challenges of emerging, high-skilled and ICT-driven societies; they must establish new development strategies and responsive institutional frameworks and sustainable models.
He explained: “From the 100 startups that would emerge, not all would make it. It might just be 50 per cent, which is half of the 100.
And if their solutions are very good and meet market requirements and need, that might lead to the employment of about 500 people in the minimum.
At that stage, they are still small-scale enterprises, which mean that if they weather the storm and become marketable, the employment generation could run into thousands.”
He revealed that in India, a minimum of 1,000 people work in an ICT environment, compared to Nigeria’s 155. This, he noted, proved Nigeria is lagging behind.