Technology has remained the major contributor to the GDP of most developed countries, and a key driver of the economies for developing countries like Nigeria.
However, research shows a disconnect between the youths- custodians of new age technological ideas, and the market; Genesys provides a training platform and a startup accelerator for small and innovative firms to survive, or avoid entirely, market and systemic failures during their early stages.
Nnamdi Anika is the managing director, Genesys Tech Hub, by Tenece Professional Services, and a twin-purpose Technology Hub that serves as a talent refinery and innovation incubator for young minds in all technology-driven sectors of the economy, with focus mainly on startup ecosystem in South East, Nigeria.
Located in Tenece’s state-of-the-art Eastern Regional Hub in Enugu, which is designed to support and equip its residents – who are mostly budding entrepreneurs – with sophisticated tools for unearthing the most formidable startups, Genesys Tech Hub represents an oasis of technology in the region.
Anika, in a chat with select technology reporter in lieu of the just concluded GenesysIGNITE organised in partnership with CfaTtech.ng, shares the idea behind establishing the Hub.
Can you speak briefly on Genesys Tech Hub’s key focus areas?
Genesys Tech Hub is what we call ideas, creativity and knowledge-based platform. It is designed to drive innovation and productivity in the South East and Nigeria at large. Our focus is on undergraduates and earlier graduates.
The Hub is designed to serve three main purposes; first, it is a centre of learning and development that is tilting towards mitigating the areas of digital divide in this region.
In that regard we created- Codename: Learnable. Essentially, it is a six months internship/bootcamp. Most of the participants are drawn from undergraduates who are undergoing internship or Industrial Attachment Training (IT) programme.
The second programme is focused on creating enabling environment for startups. The idea is to expand their horizons, give them access to market and resources that may not be readily at their disposal.
In this regard, we created a division called Genesys StartZone. It is simply our incubation programme; where we expose young startups to business mentoring, exposing them to some resources like legal support. The idea, for us, is to make sure that these startups get to a point they are matured to exist and run as independent business.
The third division serves as the nucleus of community of smart-young technology enthusiasts; these are talented individuals who are going to lead the tech revolution in the ecosystem, our region and Nigeria as a whole. That led to the creation of Agora.
How will these programmes and others in the offing help position startups for greater impacts?
The way we are running the system currently and based on the resources at our disposal, we try to take things in bits. We intend to upscale, accommodating as many as possible. We are aware that what we are doing is scratching the surface; there is a lot to be done. But in the last three years we have focused on undergraduates and fresh graduates. This has been the case because we have access to over 19 tertiary institutions based; it is based on our business model which we expect to impact the region even more in few years time.
Why South East? Why Enugu?
From a personal perspective, I grew up in this region. My undergraduate programme was the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), before travelling to London School of Economics for my Master programme. So, from the onset there has been an observation. If you look at the peers around, upon graduation everybody is in a hurry to move to Lagos. For me, I have always thought that economies don’t grow in pockets.
To grow your economy, there must be diversification. Therefore, every region should have niche and create an ecosystem, such that, as people are graduating they can see an area capable of propelling the career. From that perspective, I always thought we need to do something. We can’t all keep running to Lagos.
As I was returning from UK, after my graduation, I had a lot of job offers from Lagos and Abuja. But I decided that I have to be in Enugu; somebody has to be here, working hard to ensure that our people have more opportunities. We have to diversify this economy. I look at Lagos as an example and I am always like life’s expectancy rate is dropping; people are wake up at odd hours just to overcome traffic hurdles.
Now is the time to spread the economy. From that perspective and attraction, I align with the saying ‘charity begins at home’. If you are looking outside Lagos, what comes to mind is the environment where you understand the terrain and the needs.
Then, if you look at Enugu, it has the most tertiary institutions in the regions- both private and public universities. It has the best access; very easy to access Ebonyi State, Anambra, Abia, Imo and other States. It is central and it the international airport is a value addition.
It remains the capital of South Eastern region. In terms of infrastructure, you will see that Enugu is also leading in the park. It is the central point to create the Hub. At the end of the day, you intentions can’t be materialised if focused in one direction, but we need to have a base from which we can spread out.