Your Guide to Navigating #StartupSouth5

Uyo, the capital city of Akwa Ibom is hosting this year’s #StartupSouth5. Each year since 2015, within the last week of October and the first week of November, Uche Aniche and the #StartupSouth team gather individuals in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem in a city in the South-South/South-East region to discuss startups, innovation, investments, opportunities, policies and just about anything within the layers of building a sustainable tech ecosystem across the eleven states in the region.

Initially, #StartupSouth was a one-day conference that featured a fireside chat, a panel discussion with experienced entrepreneurs, networking, a pitch by a startup in the region and rounded up with a dinner. Now, #StartupSouth has grown to something much bigger. If you referred to it as #StartupSouth Week, you wouldn’t be wrong.

This year’s edition will be held on the 29th of October through to the 2nd of November and is reportedly set to feature over sixty sessions within five days in three arenas(Arena one, Arena two and The Studio) at the E3 Event Centre, Uyo.

Sessions stretched to cover include: doing business in the region, understanding legal components, PR strategies to drive marketing, how to raise capital, storytelling, design, artificial intelligence and healthcare. These are all geared towards having access to market to the region’s combined population of approximately sixty million.

As the founder, my work at 4kreport involves creating better nuanced, more accessible stories about technology, innovation and startups in Nigeria’s South-South/South-East region. For such, i have been invited to be part of a panel session discussion on Brand Visibility and it’s effects on startups marketing opportunities.

One advantage about #StartupSouth’s new organisation format is that it has gone ‘Niche’, everyone has sessions specifically designed for them and the different aspect of tech they work in. However, different sessions are happening at the same time across three arenas within five days. How do you find your way around to the biggest tech conference in the region? how – for example, a digital marketer – do you find your way through sessions beneficiary to you?

Read further, Your guide to navigating #StartupSouth5


First off, we begin with travel. Coming from outside the region? say Abuja or Lagos? The state-owned airline, IbomAir is your best bet. Price range is within N15,000 to N23,000. Bookings can be made via their website.

From within the region, or if your preference to move within states in Nigeria is via land, Akwa Ibom Transport Company and God is Good Motors respectively are good to go and prices are capped at N10,000. Booking can be made via GIGM’s website.

Bolt(Formerly Taxify) launched in May in Uyo, getting around should be easier with just a few clicks. The state’s public transport service works fine, they’re cheaper and with a good road network.


Credits to #StartupSouth, they always partner with hotels for all conferences and for attendees looking to discover the best of its host city.

The organising team has sent us a list of recommended hotels in Uyo to accommodate attendees. Pictures, discount codes, payment links and contact person for reservations are included. Book here.

Sessions: Startup Founders

Depending on whom you speak to, #StartupSouth is essentially focused on aiding homegrown startups succeed. This is why almost more than half of available sessions a channelled towards existing and ‘wannabe’ founders. We’ve hand-picked important sessions we think founders should attend.

Day one sessions are important for every founder. They cover ‘Doing Business in the Region’ hosted by #StartupSouth itself, the legal and regulations that guide the industry founders are trying to penetrate and marketing.

At 1 pm, we recommend attending the ‘Scaling UP – Ideation to Growth’ session hosted by #StartupSouth. It focuses on the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas as it relates to solving peculiar problems before looking to build a business around the problem.

Day two sessions will largely focus on ‘collaborating to achieve regional prosperity’ and ‘changing the narrative via storytelling and social media.’ This day, founders are on a free role to attend any session of interest.

Technical founders and CTOs are heavily engaged on day three, they’ll explore creating content for virtual reality, automating marketing with machine learning and building product with Figma, a design tool and Ionic, an app development platform. Same time but at arena one, stakeholders and government representatives will pounder on agreements, economics, opportunities, data and the future of work.

Founders are on a free role on day four also, but Just say you need we recommend for you, we suggest founders attend the ‘Building a Sustainable Entrepreneurial South’, the ‘Creating Netpreneurs In The South-South’ and the ‘Building a Seven Figure Business’ sessions respectively.

The above guides also apply to investors looking to fund founders in the region and to understand it’s economic peculiarities.

Sessions: creatives

These are the region’s current and future workforce. The content creators, the social media influencers, the front desk person, the photographers, designers and software engineers.

Day one, if marketing and growth are your thing, we suggest you begin with the ‘Leveraging Effective PR Strategies To Drive Marketing’ masterclass happening at the studio at 11:55 AM then glide through to arena two to learn how to scale your customer service and retention at 12:55 PM

Day one ends with a seminar on “The importance of accounting and book-keeping’ for accounting professional and CFOs. While Content will be king on day two, social media influencers, storytellers, photographers should begin with the ‘building a personal/influential brand’ masterclass at the studio at 10 AM. A panel session about making money off social media follows at 12 PM.

The conference goes technical on day three beginning with the exploration of blockchain technologies and its potentials at arena two by noon. Celestine Omin, ex engineering manager at Paystack will host a masterclass solely on ‘Structuring Engineering Teams For Scale’ at the studio by 11:45 AM.

That’s not all, on the same day, an Ionic (an app development platform) masterclass and an artificial intelligence fireside chat would be held at the studio and arena two respectively. Asides the ‘Get Employed, Remain Employed’ masterclass, creatives are on a free role on day four and should attend any session of choice.


What’s the point of an event without networking? Here, we highlight some Speakers, investors, panellist, keynote speakers and government officials we think you should meet.

Governor Emmanuel Udom because why not? he’ll deliver the welcome address on day four, you’ve got to chip in that idea of yours you think could help or will be beneficial to innovation in Akwa Ibom.

Meet Gbolahan Fawale, Celestin Omin, Samfield Hawb, and Onwughalu Ifunanya if you are looking to build an engineering company or if you manage an engineering team.

Shoot your shot at me(Charles Ochei), Emeka Nobis, Francis Onuk, Mary Job, Mayor Otu, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe and Mike Asukwo if you’re looking to explore the path of social media for profit, branding, storytelling and content creation as a service.

A founder looking to raise funding? get acquainted with Uche Aniche, he’s a member of the South-South/East Angel Network- a group of investors focused on funding startups in the region. Talk to Silas Ozoya, he helps startups raise capital funding.


This link contains all sessions scheduled, they’ll be handy for a better understanding of this guide to navigate the conference. If you’d not be physically attending the conference, all session would be streamed live on #StartupSouth’s youtube channel.

Editor’s note: Charles Ochei will be discussing ‘Brand Visibility for Market Harnessing’ to unlock the next sixth million user at a panel session. Register here to attend.

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