In this week’s edition of ISN hubs featuring innovation centres, we visited the capital city of Lagos state to meet Edward Esene, the Co-founder of Plus Innovation Hub.
Founded in 2019, the hub is on a mission to solve problems through entrepreneurs with innovation while envisioning a way to add value to people, their ideas, business or projects, and the community at large with a focus on various social impact sectors using technology to empower people to solve problems.
Innovation and entrepreneurship
On how Plus Innovation Hub is supporting innovation and entrepreneurship within its community, Esene explained that the innovation centre supports idea and early-stage startups with training on the best practices as it is obtainable by global standards, providing them with mentors to connect. The hub basically offers market and opportunities for investment for startups.
With its location in the centre of excellence in Nigeria, Esene commented that innovation is high and thriving in Lagos, but there’s still room for more players, ESO’s and Startups.
“With the myraid of challenges we face as a nation today, corruption, insecurity, unemployment and the likes, only visionary entreprenuers and startups can provide the needed change and solutions in our communities and Nation. Not the Government.”
While recommending improvement for Nigeria’s technology, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems, Esene highlighted the following:
Indigenous Solutions: Startups and Entrepreneurs should design unique, homegrown products, services and solutions to the everyday challenges we face in our community and as a Nation
Collaboration: Amongst all ecosystem players and expose to international opportunities
Better policy, support and Infrastructure (especially power/electricity and good internet to work and be productive)
Training and Capacity for all hub owners, ESO’s.
Challenges and milestones
Coming up as Plus Innovation hub challenge, Esene mentioned “Talent”. According to him, hiring, motivating and keeping the best hands might prove very difficult. Other challenges he noted, include high operating expenses.
The cost of internet, fuel, rent and salaries). and finally funds to expand or implement some of our programs. Despite the challenges, the hub has recorded significant milestones.
The Lagos-based hub also collaborated with TechUncode and led a community discourse on the 2021 LASG Ehingbeti Economic and Tech Summit.
The hub also started its #STEM4Her Secondary School outreach program.
Plus Innovation hub also hosts a RemotePro Academy for youths and startups, empowering them with business and digital skills they can learn and use to earn online, remotely.
According to its website, the hub has helped in founding 98 Companies and has bagged 221 awards in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Women and youth participation in technology
Plus Innovation hub has trained 25 persons in 2 cohorts still date and its #STEM4Her Program by Plus Innovation Hub is empowering young girls in underserved public schools in Lagos and introducing to the amazing world and opportunities in Lagos.
“This is ultimately contributing and helping to increase the conversation and participation of women in Tech”
Government and ISN role
On the role of the government in supporting innovation hubs, Esene stated that good policies and grant support can go a long way coupled with access to run-down government facilities.
“Let’s hub owners like us take over and turn it into an Innovation Lab/Community for youth people.”,he added
On ISN’s role, Esene stated that the organization has been a good rallying point for all hub owners in Nigeria.
“Since its inception, we at Plus Innovation Hub has being a founding member and it’s really been worth it and highly rewarding being a part of that family and community. Kudos to all super amazing Directors at ISN.”
As stated by Esene, in no distant time, Plus Innovation Hub will expand the Island and other major cities in Nigeria and across Africa.
Its GetFunded Initiative and Community is also growing while supporting, prequalifying and matching small business owners and startups to funds and investors so they can get started and/or stay up.
“The future is indeed very promising for us at Plus Innovation Hub.”
Featured Image: Edward Esene, Co-founder, Plus Innovation Hub