The Techpoint team on the 17th of November, concluded their tour of Northern Nigeria. They had embarked on a tour of the region majorly to get first-hand information and true impressions of the startups and technological solutions empowering entrepreneurship in the region.
During their tour of Kaduna, they were hosted by CoLab, Kaduna’s first innovation hub and co-working space and presently, a home for Techsuplex. Together with CoLab, they had a sit-down with representatives of the Kaduna State Government and discussed what the government had in place, in policies and in plans to improve the: ease of doing businesses, ease of starting up and the potentials to scale, sustainability and job creation.
Over the duration of their stay, CoLab’s Kabir Shittu served as host and tour guide and did just about all to facilitate the sessions had.
The Techpoint team arrived by train from Abuja to Kaduna and for some, it was their first ever train ride. On arriving CoLab, they had a mini tour of the hub, met with all of CoLab’s staff and rested prior to heading out for breakfast at Iyawo Restaurant, a local favorite. On a personal note, CoLab left an unforgettable impression on my first visit and I look forward to reading what that initial impression was for the Techpoint Team.
With breakfast out of the way and the team back at CoLab, preparations were made to visit the Kaduna State Government House. At the State House, Techpoint and CoLab got to sit with Hafiz Bayero, Special Adviser to the Governor on Job Creation.
A short highlight of this interview featured discussions on the following:
- Job Creation in the following sectors: ICT, Urban Development, Housing and Transportation, Primary Health Care and Extractive Manufacturing.
- Policies that empower local businesses
- International Investments and the Silicon Valley’s Acceleration Plans.
At the end of their first day in, we learned about why Kaduna is primed to be the next big thing. The plans government has for private-sector job creation, the innovation hub that will empower growth and collaborations and the brilliant people that are creating solutions here. You can read more here.
In the morning, we set out for Dialogue Computer Institute where we were hosted by the CEO of Dialogue Groups, Mahdi Shehu. Despite our impromptu visit he was a gracious host. He was a bank of knowledge and experience and we were given a brief tour of the facility. We were blown away by the standard of the facilities but most especially by the fact that it was all set up within 4 months.
From there, our next point was the Dialogue Girls College which was the previous site for the Dialogue Computer Institute before its conversion to an all girls school.
It is a girls-only college where they are taught the secondary school curriculum with much incorporation of ICT in the learning process. The guided tour was led by the principal of the College, Mrs Sakina Nasir, who was most welcoming and was happy to give us a guide.
The next stop was the Computer Engineering Department at the Kaduna State Polytechnic. The team was taken to the lab to view various projects designed by the students and some were impressive, like the smart solar-powered traffic lights. I noticed that there was focus on renewable energy for powering the various projects which was quite impressive.
With a long day out and about, we had to refuel of course and the next stop was another restaurant not too far from the university named ‘Seorera’ where we and the team had amala and any soup of our choice. You can read more here
By the third day, the Techpoint team had covered most of what they had intended to although we were unable to go to Zaria City.
Time was spent at the hub making preparations for a meetup which had been planned with just about anyone interested in or are players in the startup scene. Tech entrepreneurs, investors, programmers, designers, enthusiasts and more gathered at CoLab for this.
The event which started by 4 was interactive and interesting. It was streamed live on facebook and the turnout was quite impressive and the video is available here. With the event over, everyone interacted and took photos. Read more
It was great to have the Techpoint team here with us, raising awareness about the happenings which are often overlooked. We look forward to having them with us again in the very near future because a whole lot is happening in Kaduna and the North. It is no doubt that the noticeable growth of the startup scene in the state was one of the reasons for selecting Kaduna as a destination in the course of this trip and I believe they were not disappointed.