The Beni American University - an Online University founded by the 24-year old Gossy Ukanwoke is one Startup that needs mentioning. Ideas like the iPolice, iConnect, BudgIT, Enough is Enough Nigeria, social media platforms and bloggers are many of such driving social changes in Nigeria and have received global recognitions. The Maliyo games, Kuluya games, Danfo Driver games are all driving Nigerian content into relevance.
The effort of the duo- Bosun Tijani and Femi Longe, Founders of Co-creation Hub (CcHub) is worthy of mentioning. The CcHub which is at the centre of tech innovation amongst young people in Nigeria is Nigeria’s first open living lab and pre-incubation space designed to be a multi-functional, multi-purpose space where work to catalyze creative social tech ventures take place. It is a place for technologists, social entrepreneurs, government, tech companies, impact investors and hackers in and around Lagos to co-create new solutions to the many social problems in Nigeria. The organizers of Mobile Monday are doing their bit too.
The Women in Technology in Nigeria organization is at the heart of grooming and mentoring Young Girls in becoming Techpreneurs. Recently, they organized a Mobile Application Development Competition for young girls in secondary schools in Nigeria where I saw many mobile apps developed by these young girls. One of such apps is a Traffic Monitoring App developed by the Princeton Girls for ICT; their project was showcased in the US at the Technnovation competition in May 2013. Software Nigeria Challenge for Higher Education Community in Nigeria powered by the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) has seen many Applications being developed by young people.
It is also important to mention the role of tech bloggers like Loy Okezie of Techloy, the Otekbits team, TechTrends Nigeria, the Nigeria ICT journalists and other bloggers who are constantly following these developments and bringing them to lime light.
Seeing the great potentials in these young Nigerians, several Multi -national Companies like Qualcomm, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Blackberry, and Tecno are harnessing the potentials of these young app developers in building their platform and also supporting the growth of the ecosystem.
And then the critical question is – what is our Government doing to facilitate the growth of Youth Tech Entrepreneurship in Nigeria? Over the years our Government has not played their role in creating the enabling environment for these young Tech entrepreneurs to thrive; but right now it seems government is beginning to appreciate the importance as seen by the recent effort of the newly created Ministry of Communications Technology focused at driving technology innovation in Nigeria. The ministry has set up Software Venture Fund, commissioned two software incubation centers in Lagos and Calabar, inaugurated a Technology Innovation Committee, these are all steps in the right direction which are commendable but a whole lot needs to be done by government to support technology entrepreneurs in Nigeria. One of the major tasks of our government is to help structure, facilitate and promote the growth of the ecosystem in Nigeria where Venture capitals, Accelerators, Incubators, Angel investors, the Private Public Partners, Multinational Companies (MNCs) can invest in these young Nigerian techpreneurs’ businesses.