In this week’s edition with ISN featuring Innovation hubs that coincide with International Women’s Day (IWD 2021), we caught up with Blessing Ebere Achu, Founder and Managing Director of 360 Creative Hub.
Established in Lagos State in two locations, Surulere and Victoria Island, 360 Creative Hub is focused on promoting local design, establishing lean manufacturing, & enabling sustainable, fashion and craft startups.
360 Creative Innovation Hub gives fashion entrepreneurs, access to their own private space where they can dream and imagine designs with the co-factoring section where, they will find all the specific machine they need for production, creating and building their passion.
“Our collective space provides a platform for brands and fashion-focused individuals to come together to work, collaborate, converse, and ultimately, achieve their dreams”
Why 360 Creative Hub
Blessing explained that while she was touring with Startup Bus Europe in 2016, where she got to learn about co-working spaces in depth.
She began to understand that beyond space sharing, the sharing economy is a huge paradigm shift. So she started making some research.
“I noticed that while we have many co-working spaces catered to the information technology population, not many were centered around the creative industry; which is a sort of problem because when you look at the index of innovation, creativity itself is a major factor.”
Blessing spoke to a number of designers she knew at that time and enquired about their major challenges.
From her enquiry she found out that power, access to equipment, skilled tailors, a conducive environment for creativity, access to funding and other forms of support were the major challenges.
Blessing then started asking if they will be willing to use a facility that solves these problems for them.
Those days of research and engagement within the creative community birthed the brand 360 Creative Hub.
“At 360 Creative Hub, we have remained committed to the growth of Fashion Enterprise in Africa, and through the years, we have pursued this goal through various services, programs, and initiatives.”
The state of innovation and entrepreneurship in Nigeria
“A lot of our homegrown entrepreneurs do not understand what it means to build brands or how to scale their innovation or business, partly because the skills imparted at the various training schools and institutions are primarily about hands-on skills.”
Explaining further, this result leads to many young founders start their businesses knowing little or nothing about marketing, brand building, finance, and other elements of the business.
Hence many great innovations and businesses are born, doomed to fail.
However on the role that hubs play in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in their local communities Blessing explained that hubs are strategically positioned to create the much needed enabling environment that aids entrepreneurship among young people and this specialized service is becoming increasingly accessible to those who need them, due to the increase in the number and variety of hubs in the community
On improving Nigeria’s technology, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems, Blessing recommended that avenues that provide training on best practices and global standards, and mentoring; such that talented innovators have a structure built around them, to hand-hold them through the most-critical early stages.
Challenges and milestones
Blessing explained that the difficulty in accessing flexible long-term funding needed to cover the costs of the people, assets, and processes that will drive the required impact have been the challenges of the hub.
However, 360 Creative Hub has recorded some quite impressive milestones.
According to Blessing, the hub’s biggest milestone was the launch of Idozi Collective, a premium retail concept store, focused on discovering and showcasing fashion products from young Africa-based designers, who possess high quality in design, and are easily accessible.
“Our new concept store, Idozi Collective is the next big thing in African fashion. We are using this platform to break the barrier to entry in the international fashion scene for homegrown African designers; through our omnichannel retail solution, as well as strategic partnerships with some of the biggest retailers and fashion events in the world.”
360 Creative hub fashion brand
The 360 Creative Hub is becoming known for championing new creative talent and breaking down the barriers of entry for fashion graduates and new emerging designers, becoming the place for aspiring and talented designers to develop their creations and the destination of choice for a fashion forward audience.
“The sewing spaces and production service at our Hubs have made it easy for talented designers to produce, meet their deadlines and build their businesses without having to worry about capital to buy equipment, security, utilities, maintenance, and other issues that often add to the pressure fashion designers have to survive on a daily basis.”
Creative 360 hub has launched a new variant of spaces at its Oniru Hub, that allows designers to own and customize their spaces to their taste, enjoying creative agency and exclusivity.
With the opening of its new creative space in Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos, the hub now help fashion designers run all their clothing production, delivering finished products to them.
“We also provide affordable co-sewing or dedicated spaces at both facilities, allowing designers who desire to be fully involved in their production to enjoy that feature in a conducive environment.”
Government and ISN’s role
On how the government can support hubs in Nigeria, Blessing said that hubs in Nigeria will benefit greatly from financial support, which will allow them to provide better services at affordable services to young entrepreneurs who need them.
On ISN’s role, Blessing affirmed that ISN has connected 360 Creative Hub to very useful information, resources as well as networking opportunities that continue to aid the improvement of how we do our business
Blessing explained how 360 Creative hub Fashion Acceleration Program, Idozi Collective Concept store and its Business of Fashion Training series as well as various subsidized business support services have contributed to supporting the increase of youth and women participation in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship
“We have continued to help more young creatives and women to improve their brands, positioning them for international market access.”
Concluding, Blessing said that 360 Creative Hub continues to seek-out and create new opportunities, resources and solutions that help young creatives build their brands in a scalable and sustainable manner.
Featured Image: Blessing Ebere Achu, Founder and Managing Director, 360 Creative Hub
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