In this week’s edition of ISN hubs featuring innovation centres, we visited Start Innovation Hub located in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Founded in 2014 by Hanson Johnson, Start Innovation Hub prides itself as the source where talents and local businesses in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria draw excellence to innovate for global relevance.
The Uyo-based hub is committed to helping technology startups with software and hardware ideas start up faster.
Start Hub aims at stimulating economic growth in the technology community by providing key ingredients like seed funding, mentorship and access to business expertise.
“We provide an all-in-one open space and business centre facilities for talents and entrepreneurs, to take advantage of Nigeria’s strength and capitalize on opportunities in the global economy.
We aim at stimulating economic growth in the technology community by providing key ingredients like seed funding and mentorship to early-stage entrepreneurs”
Speaking with Enobong Peters, Start Innovation Hub’s Human Resource Lead on why the hub was found and other details, she mentioned that talents in the region were cut out of opportunities so the hub was started to serve as a platform where talents and entrepreneurs can draw strength and excellence to innovate for global relevance.
Continuing she stated that hubs can foster innovation and entrepreneurship for their local community by providing a common platform for entrepreneurs to leverage shared resources to start and grow their businesses thereby creating opportunities for local talents.
Describing the state of innovation and entrepreneurship in Nigeria, Enobong mentioned that they are in the developing phase and being accelerated by the activities of innovation hubs in the state.
“We are yet to find our big break but we are not where we used to be. I can categorically state that we are preparing the talents that will drive this when we finally get it right.”
Speaking about how they can be improved, she said that government should be more intentional in providing the platform through policies and also working with the private sector and not be a competition.
Also speaking on the hub challenges and milestones, she said that power and fluctuations in the internet slows are the difficulties facing the hub.
“We need support to produce locally hence the need for affordable and uninterrupted power supply, access to quality broadband and funding for ideas.”
Enobong mentioned that getting qualified talents to hire has been one of their major milestones. While also sharing what the hub is most excited about, Enobong mentioned Project CREATE, a market in-demand ICT training and job placement programme where we have got support from partners like PIND Foundation to train and connect talents in the Niger Delta to jobs locally and internationally while supporting others to start enterprises.
Asides from that, Start Innovation Hub focus on Web Development, Android Development, Design and Digital Marketing in previous editions but we have introduced Hardware Engineering in this current cohort where trainees will learn Hardware Engineering, 3D printing, Computer-aided Design and Computer-aided Manufacturing.
In addition, Start Innovation hub gives women 40% quota in all its programmes. According to her, all the hubs programme are designed to target young people.
On how government can assist innovation hubs, Enobong said they should partner with them to deepen their programmes and make it reach the last mile.
In addition, Enobong stated that the ISN has given the hub a family making it easier to network, identify partners within the ecosystem and drive visibility of its programmes.
Concluding, Enobong said that she sees Start Innovation hub produce 10,000 technical talents living and working out of Uyo.
Featured Image: Hanson Johnson, Founder, Start Innovation Hub