In this week’s edition with ISN, featuring innovation hubs across Nigeria, we head to Clean Technology Hub, Abuja, FCT, where we met Ifeoma Malo the CEO and Co-founder of the hub.
Founded in 2015, Clean Technology Hub is Nigeria’s premier and pioneer energy innovation center hub that seats among technology development, policy, research, training and enterprise development.
The hybrid hub is on a mission of driving sustainable development across Africa through innovation in clean technologies for increased energy access and improved climate resilience.
The hub’s focus is on driving energy access in Africa through novelty in clean energy technologies, research in sustainable energy development and development of energy access models that can be adopted across all African countries while aiming to grow the next generation of Africa’s clean energy leaders.
The pioneering hybrid hub is also an early start-up incubator for inventions and innovations in clean energy, and a driver of clean energy investment into Africa.
Clean Technology hub Programs
The hub works with faith-based Institutions and communities of practice increasing access to cleaner technologies.
The hub makes increasing access to energy for women a key component of its projects
Clean Energy-themed Education
The hub is invested in building the next generation of young people aware of the challenges facing the planet
Invention & Innovation
Clean technology hub identifies, promotes and supports local innovation and inventions that address challenges in local communities
Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Nigeria
On the role hubs play in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in local communities, Ifeoma explained that hubs are a melting point of ideas, innovation, and makers paces that infuse both ideation, collaboration and co-creation to drive technological, economic, social, political and changes and advancement in communities and society.
“We focus on supporting enterprises through the development of their ideas and technologies and prepare them for commercial validation.”
Ifeoma further stated that hubs in Nigeria are mainly shared co-creation spaces or training centers where people get resources that drive new businesses and advance a digital-driven experience and economy.
While also discussing her recommendations for improving Nigeria’s technology, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems, Ifeoma said, “there should be enabling environment through the Ministry of Digital Economy to support hubs and startups. And ways of ensuring that we support the ecosystem through grants and long-term financing. The Government should get out of the business of trying to run hubs.”
Challenges and milestones
Ifeoma noted that office and marker space have been major challenges for the Abuja-based hub, while also stating that raising funds to run its program is also another issue, however, the hub has recorded some level of success despite the odds.
“Being able to survive for 5yrs without any government support. Secondly, running a robust enterprise development program for startup in the clean energy and sustainability space as well as running a robust enterprise development program for more established hub at the growth stages.”
Ifeoma also stated that Clean Tech Hub supports youth and women participation in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship by running gender-specific programs, where the hub has trained at least 2000 women on starting businesses in the clean energy enabled businesses and have a University and schools program targeted at supporting young innovators to get into the clean energy and clean tech sector.
Government and ISN’s role
On the government’s role in assisting hubs in Nigeria, Ifeoma stated that: “by creating an enabling environment. Supporting those hubs running credibility programs and giving finance and business concessions that will help hubs get more start-ups into their ecosystem.”
While on the part of ISN, Ifeoma explained that being a member of ISN has seen Clean Tech Hub exposed to other hubs which have helped foster collaborations.
“Also the benefits of memberships include decreased costs of services as well more opportunities for funding as well as opportunities to change the ecosystem.”, stated Ifeoma.
Clean technology hub projects
Political-Economic Analysis of Energy Systems
The hub conducted economic modelling that supports the transition from fossil fuels to more efficient and cleaner technologies
Market Finance Needs Study for Energy Enterprises
Clean Technology Hub conducted a study which accessed the past and future financial needs of renewable energy enterprises in Nigeria
Empowering Women for Renewable Energy
The hub conducted research that explored the nexus between energy and gender in Nigeria’s energy industry
Empowering Women for Renewable Energy
Clean Technology Hub conducted research that explored the nexus between energy and gender in Nigeria’s energy industry
Enterprise Development program
This is Clean Tech Hub’s Off-Grid Energy Incubation Program, which started in 2018.
The goal of the program is to build a pipeline of renewable energy businesses with the capacity to scale as well as, bridge Nigeria’s energy access gap especially as it pertains to the unserved and underserved.
Through the Enterprise Development Program, the hub provides a 6-Month (July-December) incubation program focusing on early-stage renewable energy businesses that impact the Niger Delta region.
According to Ifeoma, the program has so far seen to the incubation of over 45 startups and seed funding for at least 20 start-up companies.
“All of these companies operate in the Clean Energy, Climate Change and Sustainability space. Our EDP program has received several rave reviews from incubatees and partners alike for our robust curriculum.”
Applications are currently on for the Enterprise Development Program. Do you have innovative ideas for Nigeria’s energy access gap in any of the following thematic areas:
It is worth knowing that beyond its location in Abuja, Clean Technology Hub has virtual locations spread across the country and also in partnership with several other organizations and technology hubs.
According to the founder, the hub looks to expand to the South East in 2021 and North East in 2022.