When one door closes, another opens. Four months ago the only hub in Imo state’s metropolis – Tech Hub Africa, shut its doors living lots of questions unanswered. Nevertheless, its time to get past that and move on from those disappointments.
Right at the heart of the Imo state’s capital lies the third technology and innovation hub in the state. it’s name — Owerri Tech Hub. colour me excited because i was invited to come use the hub for a day.
Leaving as early as 8:15 am from my house in Ihiagwa where lots of students of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and potential students/customers of Owerri Tech Hub resides, it takes an hour and a few minutes to arrive at my destination. “Driver driver, abeg stop na Owerri city school i dey stop,” i said to the bus driver who almost passed where i was supposed to alight as described in the address message that Mr Godwin Kachi the facility manager sent to me.
Opposite the school is 77, Wetheral road- a creamed cloured two-story building that the security guard had to confirm to me it’s the building I’m looking for because it has no label or banner that tells it’s Owerri tech hub. I then proceed to Jennifer, the receptionist office where I’m supposed to wait for Mr Godwin to arrive.
Prior to my visit, Owerri Tech Hub was spotted on Twitter by someone in the Owerri tech group – it was the week’s topic because of an obvious reason. Restaurants, barbing salons, business centres – to mention a few, were the workspaces for developers and others in the digital space in Owerri. The highest you could do is own a generator at home but still be faced with low performing internet infrastructure in the south-east region. Tech hub Africa was trying to bridge this gap but then snapped. Heartland innovation hub. located itself in the outskirt of the town, using the space if you live in town will cost you a shitload of transport fairs.
“The co-working space is cool, period”- Me when i walked into the blue, orange and green coloured co-working space with perfectly arranged chairs and desks set in a way to bring out the creativity in you while also feeling at home. Powering this building for 24 hours is a series of batteries and inverter and a bunch of solar panels that guarantees electricity for the whole day.
Exploring other rooms i was allowed to see, there’s an ICT lab with a capacity of about 250 people and its advantage of natural light and ventilation allows it to be used to facilitate a class on web development, a digital marketing masterclass or an artificial intelligence Bootcamp, which is currently underway or a regular tech meetup. There are few private offices too.
Owerri Tech hub’s goal is a clear one to accelerate and mentor startups and train individuals with the required skills needed for jobs of the future. but ‘the why?’ behind is more interesting. The hub was set up to address the challenges of Startups and SME in the various area geared towards the sustenance of their business; the epileptic state of Power in Nigeria has forced many businesses to fold up and it is obvious that to overcome this menace, a huge sum of cash may be involved.
Owerri tech hub is trying to take care of this challenges; “We believe that once this challenge is taken care of, many of our Startups (Tech & SMEs) can shift their focus to promoting their brand, and getting better at what they do while getting enough opportunity to connect with Top guys in the business through our various Innovative campaigns and mentorship series”