In 2017, Bolaji Finnih and Solape Hammond, co-founded Impact Hub Lagos to become the 81st member of the Impact Hub Global Network.
The network is a part of an expanding, global collective of collaborative spaces, capacity building programs that inspire, connect and enable impact.
From Amsterdam to Johannesburg, Lagos to San Francisco, the network now covers every continent with more than 100 locations and over 17,000 members.
In this week’s edition with ISN, featuring innovation hubs, we visited the Lagos-based hub, where we had a brief chat with Gloria Okorie, the hub’s Innovation Lead.
“We believe that the world’s biggest problems cannot be solved by one organization but from collaboration, connectivity and community.
Our mission is to inspire, connect and enable entrepreneurs so that they can learn, create and scale supported by a powerful ecosystem and a vibrant community.”, a statement on the hub’s website reads.
Innovation and entrepreneurship
“Everywhere in Nigeria, there are entrepreneurial people – almost everyone has “a job and two side hustles.’ But in spite of all that zeal and activity, there is little to show for it whether, in economic growth, jobs created or even problems solved.”
According to Gloria, hubs foster innovation and entrepreneurship in their local communities as they are one of the building blocks driving innovation through their capacity-building programs, networking events to foster collaboration and access to market for the entrepreneurs.
Describing the state of innovation and entrepreneurship in Nigeria, she said that, “We are past the beginner or early stages but definitely still have a long way to go and milestones to reach. The good thing about it is the people are resilient and persistent amidst the policy and economic challenges we face”.
She however noted that with more collaborative platforms like Impact Hub all across the country, the Nigerian technology, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems will see improvement.
“Policy makers should lend support to the innovation ecosystem more.”, she added
Challenges and milestones
Being the hub’s Innovation Lead, Gloria confirmed that the hub’s biggest challenge has been the adaptability of people to innovation and technology.
However, according to her, the Lagos-based hub has successfully run cohort programs that have positioned over 25 entrepreneurs to build structures that have given them access to investors and funders.
Impact Hub Lagos also runs the New Economy Booster, a program designed to support impact-driven entrepreneurs with both advanced and early-stage ventures, startups, non-profit organizations or initiatives based in Nigeria and Ghana that are contributing to the country’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
In addition, the Lagos-based hub also been able to partner with or support leading global movements such as the UNDP, Accelerate 2030, the Cartier Women’s Initiative, the UK Tech hub and others to promote technology, innovation, impact, sustainability and entrepreneurship.
Government and ISN’s role
On how the government can assist Hubs in Nigeria, Gloria said that there is a need for more partnership.
“I believe as earlier stated that the policymakers need to show more support to the innovators and hubs championing change.”
While on the role of ISN, she said that the power of collaboration cannot be overemphasized and ISN has created a platform for hubs, innovators and those within the ecosystem to connect and join forces to create even greater impact.
Impact’s Hub solution
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the two co-founders Bolaji (Serial entrepreneur) and Solape (Financial advisor) both saw the same problem from different sides – so many opportunities, but entrepreneurs just did not seem able to get traction to exploit them because they lacked the right kind of support.
Therefore Impact Hub Lagos is a solution that addresses all these problems in one place – conducive workspace, amazing community, events that inspire, opportunities for collaboration, rich content, incubation and acceleration programs and business consulting services.
Impact Hub Lagos looks to building a world where problems are turned into opportunities and initiatives scale fast.
Where entrepreneurial ventures solve some of the world’s biggest problems and are rewarded accordingly.
“Impact Hub Lagos aims to help individuals all over the world move from intention to impact by serving as a springboard for exploring ideas and sharing knowledge; a curator of innovation through labs, learning spaces, incubation and acceleration programs and as a facilitator of essential resources and capital.”
With its massive network, Impact Hub is focused on building entrepreneurial communities for impact at scale — home to the innovators, the dreamers and the entrepreneurs who are creating tangible solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.
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