It’s been about a month since Facebook made the announcement about the launch of its first Hub space in Nigeria, the NgHub. Facebook also announced its partnership with seven other hubs in Nigeria. The hubs are Abuja (Ventures Platform), Jos (nHub), Kaduna (Colab Hub), Kano (DI Hub), Uyo (Start Innovation Hub), Enugu (Roar Hub) and Port Harcourt (Ken Saro Wiwa Innovation Hub). Facebook had earlier stated that this was part of its mission to bring communities together to collaborate, learn and exchange ideas.
The idea behind the partnerships is to train 50,000 youths in key Nigerian states in digital skills in order to drive innovation. As collaboration is the key word in the tech ecosystem, Face Book probably understood it couldn’t achieve this laudable goal on its own. It launched the Facebook NgHub in partnership with CcHub. It also decided to collaborate with other hubs in other cities in Nigeria. The partner hubs will be equipped with Facebook tools, materials and Facebook curriculum. The focus of the project is Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data/Data Science, Virtual/Augmented Reality. The idea is aimed at empowering start-ups to leverage facilities provided by Facebook and partner hubs. To further this, it had earlier organised its FB start accelerator programme in partnership with the hubs, visiting different university campuses in Nigeria.
Why did FaceBook select KSIH as its partner among the many hubs in Port-Harcourt, some even established before it?
By the announcement, Ken Saro Wiwa Innovation Hub are the official hub partners for Facebook in Port-Harcourt, which could be likened to a partnership or retailer ship deal. Contrary to some perceptions that it may be because of the name associated with the Hub, Ken Saro Wiwa, one of the reasons could be because of the level of trainings the Ken Saro Wiwa Innovation Hub has carried out in the Hub within less than a year of its existence. Trainings hosted at the hub are usually publicised on its twitter page and perhaps this was one of the things that Face book looked at. It could be said that in the Port-Harcourt ecosystem, no other hub promotes its activities as much as the Ken Saro Wiwa Innovation Hub does on social media.
So what does this mean for the Ken Saro Wiwa Innovation Hub and the Port-Harcourt ecosystem?
The Ken Saro Wiwa Innovation Hub prides itself to be one of the fastest growing hubs in the Port-Harcourt eco-system. It is undisputable that the Ken Saro Wiw Innovation Hub now has global visibility. More people are now aware of what it offers. Within the first 48 hours of the announcement of the partnership alone, there was a huge surge in media requests as well as traffic to the KSIH website. Already, the Commissioner of Youth in Rivers State visited the Hub a day after the announcement was made, to felicitate with the Hub and also to discuss possible future partnerships
The partnership with Facebook will also present a better opportunity for it to achieve its goals of training and equipping young people with digital skills. For the Port-Harcourt ecosystem, it will put it on the map and make Ken Saro Wiwa Innovation Hub, a voice for the State and region. There is no doubt that this collaboration will further help the hub achieve better sustainability
While this is a huge achievement for the hub, the people who have toiled to build the Port-Harcourt eco-system to where it is, definitely deserve some accolades. Many hearty cheers for the Ken Saro Wiwa Innovation Hub team and the Port-Harcourt ecosystem!