Unlike other developed tech ecosystem like Lagos and Abuja to mention a few, the eastern tech community is a developing one with an emerging market for technology. most of the startups solving everyday problems faced by Nigerian are in Lagos and other developed areas/market with little to no reach to the southeast.
Most of this challenges faced by the people in the southeast don’t require any new innovation or disruption, just a replica of what works in other developed market but optimized to suit the eastern market. any new tech product or service aided by tech have a 75% being a success because people have heard of the amazing things startups do in other ecosystem and will want to try it out if made available in the region.
Over the last 2 years the southeastern tech scene has experienced a major uplift, the region produced it’s first startup to get funded over $10,000 from an outside investors, owerri witnessed the launch of its first two innovation hubs which are kneel on changing the face of the technology in the heartland and not to forget one of the biggest tech conferences held in Nigeria was held in Aba, Abia state which brought together investors, founder, tech enthusiasts etc from across the country to connect and share idea.
what is a tech community without its developers, the developers community game in the southeast is quit a strong one, more than 3 forloop events were held this year in the east with forloopowerri inline to take place early next year, the Andela student ambassadors programs were held and almost every state in the southeast has a Google developers group.
A program was recently initiated at the startupsouth3 Aba edition to build an ecosystem where local business are being helped to scale into the 21st century style of doing business by the implementation of technology into their business processes, in making this possible google, developers and stakeholders in the eastern part of the country are gradually building an ecosystem backed by local tradition, patient founders, supportive mentors and potentially easier access to funds from the money-spinning oil and gas sector.
I remembered when mark essien of hotels.ng in 2012 had to leave calabar for Lagos so his company could secure seed funding from investors because they believed lagos was were all the smart people were and all the resources needed for his company to succeed and yield returns were only available in lagos but this days the southeast is tell a different story.
if I had a startup in 2015 and you told me not to move to Lagos or to a developed ecosystem, it’ll probably would have being the joke of the year but this is 2017 however, mark is often back in the southeast as part of a coalition of stakeholders who are working to ensure that entrepreneurs launching startups in the region no longer have to move to Lagos.
For startups that wants to apply for funds, the process has being made easy as ever by just filling a form online, you can be in Enugu and apply for the ycombinator accelerator program. recently at the startup south 3 kola Aina via a representative said venturesplatform is making it possible for startups in other regions of the country to apply for funds without having to move from where there are to lagos or Abuja as long as a MVP and a market are available.
In the east, each state has at least 2 innovation hubs or co-working space. in lagos a co-working space per day cost an average of N5,000 and an average of N45,000 per month, this is expensive. co-working space in the southeast are relatively cheaper and affordable for independent professionals – entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovators to do great things.
Developers and startups works hand in hand, the more startups remains in the southeast the more the southeast retains its top talents via jobs created by these startups which will later become large corporations.
According to Editi Effiong of Anakle in a medium post he said “If you own a business in Lagos, or are trying to set one up, the chances are that someone has already told you that you are mad. I am here to confirm what you were told: yes you are mad. You are either currently mad, or will be in the future”
Editi is someone who has had so many years of experience in running a business in Lagos, this is 2017 and he still thinks starting a business is hard and can make you go insane in Lagos.
The Tech ecosystem In the east isn’t as developed as the south but its growing at a very fast pace as the east is currently going through a shift from oil dependency to technology and innovation. the competitions is still very low in the southeast which there is a high chase of you being number in your industry which is of cause aided by Technology.
although, some Tech investors, and people in general, still see the southeast as an oil and energy hub instead of an emerging software technology hive but today a person can boldly say he/she wants to build a technology company with leaving Onitsha and have all the resources necessary to be successful at their disposal without having to leave for Lagos.