A few weeks ago, I saw a Techpoint.ng Facebook ad about a meet up in Port-Harcourt, as part of their 2017 innovation tour. I was happy that finally the innovation tour was coming to PH, a chance we so desperately need to put Port-Harcourt on the map for something great. The reason for the meetup? To identify challenges in building a tech enabled business in Port-Harcourt. I was also quite excited because I am a fan of Techpoint.ng. I was very eager to meet Adewale and Muyiwa to hear their story, as well as learn a few things from them. I was going to be the proverbial Jacob saying, ‘I wont let you go till you bless me’.
Fast forward to Monday, 6th November, and the Techpoint team was live in PH City!!! Those of us waiting to see them at the meetup were already getting teasers of their experience of PH, with tantalising pictures of our local delicacy bole and fish, which they confirmed is better than its Lagos counterpart, lol.
They also paid visits to techprenuers in the city like Cinfores, Olotu Square where they set up a temporary office and Mesh Advertising and design studios run by Donald Okudu, the brain behind TedxPortharcourt. Not forgetting radio stations like 92.3 Nigeria Info, where they had the opportunity to tell PH City to come through for the meetup
Tuesday was the D-day for the meetup. By 4pm, people were seated at the Strategic Hub, Fonte plaza, Aba road, PH. It was a packed house and in attendance were developers, techies, students, start-up founders, business men and women, tech support, media personalities and even the curious who just wanted to learn
The panel session on the topic ‘ Building a startup ecosystem in PH: the story so far’ was enlightening and engaging. It had heavyweights like Bruce Lucas, Founder of Olotu Square, Ibinaiye Wale Kayode , CEO of CAD consulting Limited and founder of I.C.E Hub on it. Others were Faith Dike, a student developer and Adaora Okoli, our founder and On Air personality at 92.3 Nigeria Info
At the end of the session, it was concluded that the major challenge facing the PH startups ecosystem is collaboration. Bruce talked about how many developers want to work alone and do not want to learn or undergo the right type of mentorship. Wale of I.C.E hub spoke about how the community is in its pregnancy stage and how startup founders need to build a valuable product first before seeking funding. Adaora also urged that non-techies who may be co-founders or who could provide support to techies be included in the community and made to feel like they are a part of the community. Also Adewale Yusuf, Techpoint.ng founder, urged PH people to get things moving for themselves and not wait for the government. The SSA to the Deputy Governor on Social Media, Uki Asemota, also reiterated that we need to build the ecosystem and then invite the government to work with us.
Afterwards, there were loads of questions at the interactive session. Start-up founders stated their peculiar challenges encountered while running a tech enabled business in Port-Harcourt. Issues raised ranged from funding, to multiple taxation by the government, under-pricing of developers, lack of willingness of customers to pay, somewhat expensive developers fees, marketing and PR and also identifying the right developer to collaborate with.
The meetup was indeed impactful and stirred a lot of conversations, one the Techpoint team hopes to lead to greater collaboration and the growth of the Port-Harcourt startup ecosystem. For Adewale, Port-Harcourt is on the way to great things if we could keep up and improve on the tempo of such meetups. He actually confirmed that Port-Harcourt has actually had the largest gathering at its innovation tour meetups so far, beating Abuja, Kaduna and Jos. For PH people, we are glad that finally PH is on the tech and startup map
For the Techpoint team, their work in Port-Harcourt is done. Aba is up next on their 2017 Innovation Tour. If you are in Aba, don’t miss it!!!
Check out Techpoint.ng for more details of the innovation tour and PH meetup
Adaora Okoli, is founder and Editor-in-chief of TechCultureNG.com