There has been a lot of conversation recently about ways to build the tech and start-up community or as the recent buzzword goes, ecosystem, in Port-Harcourt. At almost every start-up event or tech meet up, this question always pops up at panel discussions.
For Bruce Lucas, Founder of Olotu Square and GeroCare and one of the shinning lights in the tech community in Port-Harcourt, collaboration is the key to unlock the potentials of the Port-Harcourt ecosystem. For him, people in Port-Harcourt need to move beyond the mentality of individual efforts to working with each other. Also, the contract chasing mentality and the penchant to always want to leverage on oil giants in the state, are other mental attitudes the average Port-Harcourt youth needs to flee from
Bruce also believes that to build the ecosystem, PH start-ups need to leverage on mentorship networks that can help you achieve in 6 months or less what you will ordinarily have achieved in three years. This is because there are people who are willing to offer help on that same collaborative platform
According to Lucas, ‘In an effort to push entrepreneurship forward, we still need to build on the fact that more collaboration will help more businesses and will help people go through an easier learning curve and do more things successfully’
While collaboration may be great, over time in Port-Harcourt, it seems that some non-technical members of the start-up community feel more emphasis is placed on developers and feel a bit left out. For the Olotu square founder, collaboration is not just for developers. It encompasses everyone in the start-up community.
“Collaboration is not just about developers but also cuts across the start-up community. We all talk about start-up and tech but there are still some people that don’t have a start-up and they are not tech based. They are just tech enthusiasts and they just want to function in a place where they can hear something that inspires them. So like we have B-hands meetup and B-hands meetup is the biggest designer platform in the world so we have B-hands meetup. So if you are into graphics, if you are a creative person, there are a group of people where you can enhance your skill and they can give you jobs because there is something to be done. If you are into software development or android development, any sector you find yourself in, you can even be a welder or carpenter but there should be that environment where you can network with other people of your kind and build bigger businesses. The emphasis is on starting small but building bigger businesses that will commercialise PH enough to decentralise the attention to government”.
Collaboration may not be the magic wand to wash away all the problems in the Niger-Delta but it definitely plays an important role in changing people’s perspectives from oil to tech. In a state where politics seems to be one of the major ‘business ventures’, the Olotu Square founder believes that if people are concentrating more on their businesses, on their start-ups, on their careers and on their life’s direction, politics will be just a distraction rather than a do or die affair. Rather, it will help people build legacies, find purpose and most importantly the dream for every start-up founder, get that investment in your start-up that will help you get one billion users!
“It all has to do with building collaboration, getting to relate with people of like minds and when you are with them, you will see them as a closer circle than your political party or any other 3rd party coming into the space. So collaboration might just be the next way to go to finding your purpose and building something in that area, gaining mentorship, gaining investment and scaling what you have in mind”
What do you think the Port-Harcourt ecosystem needs to make it work? Drop your comment below
Adaora Okoli is the Publisher and Founder of Techcultureng.com. Do you want to be featured, be a contributor or pitch your startup? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org