Africa’s innovation and technology ecosystem is playing a strong, and often silent, role in creating solutions and jobs while reducing inequalities.
From this, a significant number of startups have been incubated from tech hubs across the country, however, there appears to be a little coverage given to the hubs as compared to startups.
In this first edition, we begin our journey at Exponential hub located in the commercial center of Nigeria, Lagos state.
Founded by Fayo Williams in 2016, Exponential hub fills the gap in helping people and organizations attain their potentials while reaching set goals in the area of human capacity development using technology as a leverage.
The hub supports ventures and entrepreneurs to begin, manage and grow their businesses into a self-reliable organization with the aim of assisting them in identifying and tackling constraints that tends to drive entrepreneurs out of business.
“Our vision is to be the preferred personal and organizational development company, transforming corporations and adding value to the lives of the people all over Africa. And our mission is that we are passionate at delivering value-adding, action-oriented training solutions to individuals and organizations in Africa”
On the role hubs play in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in local communities, Fayo Williams said that hubs provide stable infrastructural support, soft/business management skills and mentorship programs to help startups as well as entrepreneurs in finding the winning juice to spin out innovative businesses with a positive impact on the local community.
According to the Founder, the state of innovation and entrepreneurship in Lagos is quite well developed with various fintechs, logistics and other startups getting the attention of over 20million Lagosians.
Giving recommendations for improving Nigeria’s technology, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, Fayo Williams stated three significant factors that should be looked into:
- Compulsory Nationwide adoption of Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum
- Government and private sector partnership on deepening broadband penetration
- Increasing the adoption of technology by Ministry, Department or Agency (MDAs) thereby creating greater demand which in turn will drive innovation.
Challenges and Milestones
As with most organizations in the country, Exponential hub isn’t left out of its challenges as the Founder noted that the high cost of utilities, multiple taxations and lack of access to credit for infrastructural development have been hurdles for the Lagos based hub.
However, despite the challenges, Exponential Hub has made its significant contribution in Lagos state.
- In 2018, the hub staged a Free Business Clinic and a Fund your Agric Business e.t.c
- In 2019, the hub trained 220 Students including Persons Living with Disability for LSETF -UNDP
- Exponential hub in 2020 held a successful staging of a community Discourse under the Lagos State Ehingbeti Economic Summit and graduated its first Founder Institute Fellow via SheProfitsAfrica Founded by Late Banke Alawaye, Partner Projects and Fayo Williams, Founder, Exponential Hub),
- Successful participation as Coach in the Afrilabs -AU Governance Challenge (where the 2 mentees assigned to Fayo Williams emerged in the Top 5)
While also sharing Exponential Hubs’ most exciting project, the founder said, “Our Vocational Training School stands out as a means of regular engagement of the youth with attendant spin-offs in job creation, digital skills adoption etc.”
According to the founder, the hub is also supporting youth and women’s participation in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship by consistently offering vocational training, mentorship and coaching to these groups.
Government and ISN’s role
Fayo William stated that the government can assist Hubs in Nigeria through the provision of infrastructural support such as fiber optic internet, special electricity tariff, and the ability to participate in Government projects.
On the role of ISN in Exponential Hub’s journey, the founder said, “ISN has provided a means of fostering friendships, partnerships and an avenue of securing opportunities such as the Ehingbeti Community Discourse, POEM Train the Trainer course and the immense knowledge shared at the various gatherings.
ISN has also given me an opportunity to contribute from my spheres of Safety and Management consulting knowledge.”
It is worth noting that, Fayo Williams is the Managing Consultant of Simply Exponential Consultant Ltd founded in 2010, the parent company of Exponential Hub. She is also the Director, Partnerships, Innovation Support Network (ISN) Hubs, Nigeria.
Exponential hub is a member of AfriLabs, Vocational Training Partner to LSETF, and also a partner to NASENI
Featured Image: Fayo Williams, Founder, Exponential Hub
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