The Start-up Community stakeholders in the South South and South East region converged in Imo state on Sunday, to chart a path for the ecosystem in the region. The meet-up was convened by Uche Aniche, CEO Havilah and Hills and Convener of Startup South, an annual conference for start-ups in the Southern region
The gathering which held at the Oluaka Institute, Obinze, Imo state, saw the participation of hub founders, hub managers, Start-up founders and bloggers from Delta, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Enugu, Anambra, Abia , Rivers and Bayelsa states. The essence was to network, strategise and deepen collaborations and inter-city/state engagements.
According to Uche Aniche, ‘We need to collaborate more in the Startup South ecosystem to have the Lagos pull effect. We need to have a general goal we are working on.’
Also the General Manager and founder of Oluaka Institute, Mr. Sam Ekwuribe, shared the vision of the institute to become a university of technology in the South East helping the region gain knowledge on leveraging on tecgnology. He also sought for more collaborations and inclusiveness from players in the Start-up ecosystem
Participants brainstormed about the challenges faced in their various states and sought for possible solutions to the problems.
The main speaker at the meet-up was Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, MD/CEO Infographics and also former General Manager for Microsoft Anglophone West Africa. He emphasised on the need for hub and community managers in the South East and South South region to develop competence in management and business in order to be able to effectively lead other stakeholders in the community and to build a viable ecosystem. He also harped on collaboration in order for the region to scale.
Emphasising the need to create capacity and competence, he said, ‘the first city that is able to consistently produce 10,000 software developers will be the first city to attract the most foreign investment.’ He also encouraged start-ups to focus on developing competence to attract investors rather than participating in endless competitions.
Mr Mba-Uzoukwu encouraged the stakeholders in the region to actively engage government with regards to driving policy change that will help foster the right business environment for start-ups to thrive in the region.
Also speaking via Skype, Kola Aina of Ventures Platform, equally reiterated the need for start-ups from the region to engage the government and the regulators to create an enabling environment for start-ups to thrive. He referenced Venture Platform’s engagement with the government on the Ease of doing business to ensure that company registrations are made easier for start-ups and the creation of the ecosystem dialogue series in Abuja where government agencies engage with start-ups
Mr. Fola David Olatunji, Manger of the Google Launchpad Africa team, spoke about how the Google Launchpad Accelerator programme seeks to connect start-ups to mentors and to be able to create start=ups that can be successful across Africa
It was also a great time to network, engage and of course take loads of selfies.
The Stakeholder meeting may be held annually and further deliberations will be held on the necessity of establishing an official stakeholder forum or association to represent the interests of start-ups in the region. See more pictures below: