For decades, the Silicon Valley model has progressively transformed the way innovation and entrepreneurship is viewed globally.
This has inspired technology-minded individuals to form clusters, across various geographical regions, to collectively shape the world with technological innovation that mirrors that of Silicon Valley.
In all this transformation, one cannot overemphasise the role tech hubs play; seeing as they’ve become irremovable elements in creating successful businesses and, likewise, entrepreneurs. Today, they are major go-to places, both for investors who seek investable startups and individuals seeking to nurse their great idea to fruition.
In Nigeria, the revolution is moving at a progressive pace. Suffice to say that a movement that started in Yaba is now gradually expanding and finding roots in other places across the country.
So we made a comprehensive list of tech hubs from across Nigeria. The sheer number outside Lagos might shock you.
Since inception in 2009, Enspire Hub’s value proposition is centred around fostering business growth and success and offering complete business support services that can be accessed by every innovative company or individual admitted into its incubator program.
With a base in Abuja, it is easy to see why it is amongst the drivers of the burgeoning ecosystem in the capital city. Also, Enspire Hub is playing a crucial role in launching the Abuja Technology Village Free Zone Company (ATV), which seeks to stimulate economic growth and sustainable job creation in Nigeria through innovation.
Services include an incubation and pre-incubation program, acceleration program and business clinics.
As part of efforts to drive and foster ICT enhancement, local content drive and “game-changing” innovation in the city of Kano, an indigenous young lady, by the name Maryam Lawan Gwadabe, went all out in bringing her dreams to reality. Her unrelenting optimism birthed what could possibly be the first tech hub in Kano State.
The Blue Hub is a ‘tech-preneurship’ hub aimed at catering for services that have to do with technology and business incubation.
It debuted on the 23rd of February 2017, featuring a program dubbed ‘Young Minds Ideation’ — a seminar to enlighten participants about idea generation (ideation), business modelling, and entrepreneurship.
Blue Hub’s services include incubation, workspaces, workshops, seminars and ICT consultancy.
As at the time of publication, Blue Hub’s website isn’t live as it is undergoing maintenance.
Technology Development for Poverty Alleviation Initiative (TD4PAI)
Located in the Kuje district of Abuja, TD4PAI is a non-governmental, non-profit technology incubator, accelerator, training and research and development hub that fosters innovative ideas.
Founded by Dr. Agu Collins in 2014, TD4PAI has a primary focus on embedded systems and hardware programming.
The aim is to increase the socio-economic welfare of the society by creating opportunities for gainful employment via empowerment of youths from vulnerable backgrounds by making technological education accessible — particularly in rural communities — and developing life skills through innovation, incubation of startups and sustained programmes such as ICT, creative arts, sports, mentoring.
StoneBricks Hub was conceived by two young and successful entrepreneurs, who felt the need to support the vibrant community in Abuja by impacting on young businesses.
StoneBricks Hub’s primary goal is to empower a new crop of innovative and creative young men and women, who will add technological value to every sector of the economy and solve real problems. This immediate support stems from incubating tech-preneurs, placing them in an inspiring, and creative workspace and then, providing mentoring.
The state-of-the-art facility provides an aura that gives every incubated company full independence of their business unit and workstation while also allowing room for collaborative growth.
StartPreneurs is a seed fund and accelerator for startups founded by Jennifer Chizua in January 2016. Having found a gap in the entrepreneurial support for startups in Abuja, the zealous entrepreneur lent herself to help.
StartPreneurs invests and accelerates innovative Nigerian startups, positioning them to be globally competitive. The focus, however, is on Machine learning, artificial intelligence, and Augmented Reality startups. The 3 month-long accelerator program covers the Model Phase, Validation Phase and Expansion phase.
Currently, startups in their accelerator program include; Tiro, Saduwa, WeMuzik and Mobidoc
Located in the Southern part of Kaduna, CoLab arguably presents a new narrative for a state that has been marred by series of inter-tribal conflicts and insurgency attacks.
The tech hub was launched in October, 2016 by Ismaila Sanusi to provide renewed hope for entrepreneurs, developers and coders alike within Kaduna to launch their innovative ideas.
Although its incubation program is yet to kick off properly, CoLab remains home to about 8 startups, receiving mentoring and resources to nurture their ideas into businesses.
Asides being the first technology hub to emerge in the Northern region of Nigeria, the Jos-based nHub is almost in a class of its own with what appears to be a system that enables developers, software engineers and anyone with interest in hardcore technology to converge.
Daser David, founder of nHub, once hinted that nHub will be the one to build technology solutions from within Jos to the rest of Nigeria and even beyond.
nHub developers build products for health care, agricultural and other economic needs in Nigeria. The fellowship program, which spans a period of 8 months will see developers work on a host of projects, as each developer is subjected to a particular coding standard when handling projects.
Even after completing the program, a host of the developers are still retained while some will be hired out on to companies on temporary bases. Interestingly, the number of developers has grown tremendously since launch.
While it’s not the first technology hub to emerge within the federal capital territory, Ventures Platform, nonetheless, has become a standard for setting up a technology incubation facility.
Ventures Platform was founded by Kola Aina on the 3rd of June to serve as a launchpad for technology innovators solving Africa’s biggest challenges. Since commencing operations, Ventures Platform has played a critical role not just in the development of the Abuja technology ecosystem but in Nigeria at large.
Their well-coordinated hybrid incubation program spans a period of 6 weeks.
UPDATE [7th March, 2017]: We just got informed that Venture’s Platform’s hybrid incubation program has been converted into an accelerator program, and it now lasts 16 weeks.
Founded by Isaac Balami, BD Hub is a social enterprise dedicated to finding and enabling world-changing businesses of tomorrow.
At its core, BD Hub provides strategic guidance and mentoring support for young companies to thrive. BD Hub is in fact setting itself up to become the ‘largest innovation Hub from Northern Nigeria’ with several works still in the pipeline and a state-of-the-art facility in Wuse, Abuja.
Other management team members are Mohammed Jega, Job Oboro Chief and Daniel Steeves.
The Tangent Eco-Innovation Hub
The Tangent Eco-Innovation Hub is a non-profit initiative of G&P (Ghraizi & Partners Limited) focused on improving capacity in research and development of ICT applications, agriculture research, environmental management and renewable energy technologies.
With based in Abuja, the Tangent Eco-Innovation Hub provides employment opportunities and networking access to an exclusive community of researchers, renewable energy experts and venture capital partners that offer optimal opportunities towards the development of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Africa.
The initiative is led by Rosaline Rosaline G. Agiamoh, Country Director Tangent Eco-Innovation Hub and co-founder & Group Head Strategy of G&P Ltd.
As of the time of curating the list, Rosaline assures that the platform will be online before the end of March, 2017.
First emerging as a haven for developers and techpreneurs in Ilorin, Kwara state, Founders Hub has transited into a tech entrepreneurship development centre providing co-working space and incubation services to young businesses within the state.
The hybrid incubator has since taken on the mantra to “revolutionise the way people work and build businesses” around the Northern region.
Founded by Adeyinka Adekeye, Founders Hub has about 5 startups, which are in their early stage of product development, currently incubated in its facility.
Incubated startups undergo a 1-year incubation session where they are offered business development training, mentorship, and seed fund through an unnamed Angel investor.
Start Innovation Hub
The brainchild of Hanson Johnson, Start Innovation Hub is committed to providing young people, in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, with a collaborative platform to leverage on technology and create wealth.
The tech hub aims to achieve this by providing key ingredients like seed funding, mentorship, access to business expertise, networking opportunities, peer review, pitch development, product testing and introduction to investors.
Start Innovation Hub operates from the Ibom eLibrary Complex IBB Avenue, Uyo Akwa Ibom State.
In 2014, Tony Onuk and his twin brother struggled to secure office space — a major challenge for many entrepreneurs in Uyo, Akwa Ibom at the time. When the brothers eventually got funding, they decided to deploy it into solving the needs of entrepreneurs who had similar challenges — hence the Roothub was born.
Originally launched as a co-working space — the idea was to share the burden of overheads — it metamorphosed into an incubation and acceleration hub, in response to the teeming tech community of over 80 startups in Uyo. The transition was completed in 2016.
The Roothub incubation/acceleration method includes the provision of workspace, mentorship, business advisory, allied professional services — like legal, bookkeeping branding etc — and access to funding; in the process helping businesses transform from idea to execution.
About 5 startups are currently incubated at the Roothub.
Till today, OlotuSquare remains the most vibrant tech hub in the city of Port Harcourt and has since inception transited into a community that houses lots of business and tech organisations; fueling collaboration amongst these businesses.
As an entity, OlotuSquare offers training, incubation, co-working space, research, free consultation during office hours, tech expositions, among other tech support programs. OlotuSquare houses the Google Developer Group, Port Harcourt as well as the Java User Group, Port Harcourt.
The incubation hub, which was founded by Bruce Lucas, also runs a regular radio program on Rythm FM in Bayelsa and Aspire Radio in Port Harcourt.
Delta State Innovation Hub
With its long history as an oil and agriculture producing state, Delta State finally made a glaring effort at connecting with the new era that is fueled by ICT empowerment. The result birthed what appears to be the first tech hub to be launched in Delta State.
Launched in July 2016, the Delta State Innovation Hub (DS-iHub) is not only a paradigm shift from “oil dependency to knowledge acquisition” but will be critical to the long-term economic growth and sustainability of the state through SME support and embracing technology.
The Focus Hub Nigeria, is a new technology entrepreneurship and social innovation hub, based in Port-Harcourt, with a mandate to create sustainable business models to solving development challenges encountered in the Niger Delta.
As a non-profit entity, its primary objective is to act as a community centre where startups, SMEs, entrepreneurs, IT developers and programmers, impact investors, students, corporate and private organisations meet and interact for the purpose of technology and knowledge transfer, mentoring, training, incubation and networking.
The ultimate objective, however, is to drive economic growth, create jobs and enhance the competitiveness of the Niger Delta.
ROAR Nigeria Hub
Roar Nigeria is a University based tech startup incubator established by the management of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka to bolster innovation amongst students and non-students in the university.
The major aim of setting the hub is to bring students together into teams to proffer innovative tech solutions to problems in the society. Not only that, the hub also make it possible and easier for researchers to collaborate with students to bring their products and innovations to market, instead of just being stashed away in a drawer.
Wennovation Hub was founded by Sole Odetayo to serve as a beacon to the many young innovators and entrepreneurs springing up in the city of Ibadan. However, the hub also runs an office in Lagos, as part of efforts to inspire and empower African entrepreneurs.
Wennovation Hub focuses on social impact sectors including education, agriculture, healthcare and infrastructure with emphasis on creating jobs.
As an incubator/accelerator, Wennovation Hub provides a shared work environment where people meet, work, network, share ideas and collaborate on projects.
Located on the Herbert Macaulay road, Yaba, iDEA Hub provides support to digital entrepreneurs in the form of mentorship, co-working space, legal and other business support services.
With support from the government through the National Information Technology Development Fund (NITDEVF), the iDEA Hub spread its presence to Tinapa, Cross River, allowing it provide incubation, acceleration and mentorship services outside Yaba.
However, according to Helen Anatogu, CEO and program director, the iDEA Hub hasn’t received any form of financial support from the government since 2014; a little over a year after launching in 2013.
Co-Creation Hub (CcHub)
CcHub is widely credited for putting a physical location to what is commonly referred to as the technology ecosystem in Nigeria. Little wonder it was Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg’s first stop during his visit to Nigeria.
It remains Nigeria’s first open lab and pre-incubation space. The hub is designed to be a multi-functional, multi-purpose space where creative social tech ventures are catalysed. Not only that, it has become a go-to place for technologists, social entrepreneurs, government, tech companies, impact investors and hackers in and around Lagos to meet and co-create new solutions to the many social problems in Nigeria.
The CcHub was birthed by Bosun Tijani and Femi Longe with a $200,000 and $45,000 grant provided by the Omidyar Network and Indigo Trust respectively.
Having unveiled its $1.5 million accelerator fund on launch date, Friday 7th February 2014, Leadpath set out to power legendary companies in Africa by “bridging the gap between startups and market dominance”.
Leadpath Nigeria is a seed capital fund that specialises in providing short, medium and long-term funding to small and medium-sized startup businesses in high growth technology areas such as software, web and mobile technologies.
With an average funding ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.00 available as seed investment, Leadpath’s focus is on technology entrepreneurs solving real problems.
The accelerator is headed by Olumide Soyombo, Kazeem Tewogbade and Tope Ajao. Startups that are already in the Leadpath portfolio include Simer, URegista, Afriqbuy and Enreach.
Popular for nurturing startups like Waracake, Talkingbookz, Beattrafik, Medrep, Easyspace and Stylista, the Passion Incubator was founded by Olufunbi Falayi and Taiwo Ajetumobi in 2014.
Running a ‘cashless accelerator program’, the incubator provides support for a wide array of entrepreneurs, helping them build Minimum Viable Products so as to enable founders focus on business development early on, in a bid to gain traction quickly.
After functioning as a tech hub for about 2 years, the Passion Incubator officially launched its co-working space, called Leadspace, in Yaba. With seed investment from Leadpath, the plan is to grow Leadspace into the single largest network of shared office facilities in Nigeria.
Hebron Startup Labs
The Hebron Startup Labs is a living technology hub wholly funded and run by the management of Covenant University. Launched in March of 2017, it became Nigeria’s first incubation hub run by a tertiary institution.
The core drive and motivation for setting up the hub was to help produce more entrepreneurs (regardless of their academic level) from within the institution rather than just having a certificate upon graduation and contributing in part to unemployment in the country.
Originally run as a part of the university’s entrepreneurial curricular for students, the management of the hub decided to give it a more serious approach in 2015. But it wasn’t until early in 2017 that they finally secured a workspace approved by the school authority to carry out full operations.
As of this publication, there are more tech hubs in the Northern region of Nigeria than the Southern and eastern regions could muster. That says a lot about the Northern Nigeria’s coming of age, in terms of embracing technology.