The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), an institution dedicated to the promotion and celebration of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa, is partnering with Co-Creation Hub Nigeria (CcHub), Nigeria’s first open living lab and pre-incubation space dedicated to catalysing creative social technology ventures, in an effort to encourage innovative ideas that could help transform the social technology space in Nigeria.
Through the partnership, TEF will contribute to the growth and development of Nigeria’s emerging tech industry from the “Silicon Lagoon” by providing managed seed funding to 20 technological ideas/ventures targeted at typical social challenges faced by the average Nigerian. The fund will support the novel use of technology in several key areas of the economy including healthcare, education, agriculture, governance, inclusive technology, small business development, and finance. By focusing on the early stages of high-impact, results-oriented ideas/ventures, the seed funding will support experimentation and prototype development in order to accelerate the adoption of the solutions. Each technology venture will then have the potential to become a self-sustaining profitable social enterprise.
On its part, the Lagos-based CcHub will act as an incubator designed to accelerate the successful development of the funded social technology ventures through an array of business support resources and services developed and orchestrated by the hub’s management. In addition, the group will lead co-creation initiatives and facilitate multiple stakeholders to work together to create novel technologically-driven solutions for the myriad of social challenges that Nigerians face.
Dr. Wiebe Boer, CEO of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, said: “The partnership is part of our broader effort to develop an integrated venture pipeline development process in Nigeria. The Co-Creation Hub is doing work that is at the sweet spot of who we are as a Foundation –equipping emerging entrepreneurs with a passion for transformative social and economic wealth creation in Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general. TEF is pleased to support something on this level which has not previously been formally done in Nigeria.”
He added: “It is my belief that our collaboration with CcHub will help provide job creation opportunities across a broader geography than CcHub currently operates, and ultimately improve the impact investing space in Nigeria.”
Mrs. Omobola Johnson, the Honourable Minister of Communications Technology, said: “This is a great initiative on the part of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. The team at Co-Creation Hub are doing a great job, and they need all the support they can get. The Ministry also recognises Nigeria’s emergence as an ICT innovation centre and are partnering with the private sector to establish technology incubators across the country. This is,indeed, a step in the right direction.”
TEF has already identified and selected the following three social technology ventures being incubated by CcHub, who will be the first recipients of the business development grants:
- Efiko is a product of a social tech start-uptargeted at improving the pass rate for Nigeria’s secondary students in national exams. The solution isa mobile testing platform tied to school curricula and designed to provide access to assessment and learning resources for secondary school students.
- Office Motion is a software company that develops software products for small and medium-sized businesses. They are currently developing a product called Traclist, a web platform that allows micro and small retailers to showcase their inventory over the Internet, thereby giving consumers access to their inventory from web browsers and mobile devices.
- Varsoft is a product of Varsoft Technologies Ltd. It is an inclusive ICT product targeted at congregational type audiences, i.e. libraries, churches, seminars, libraries etc. The solution enables content delivery without the use of the Internet.
Bosun Tijani, the CEO of Co-Creation Hub Nigeria, said: “This partnership with The Tony Elumelu Foundation is exciting to us for many reasons. It is not every day that you see an African philanthropic organisation that is not just looking to throw grants at charity cases but is more interested in supporting causes that have the potential to create thousands of economic and social opportunities for Nigerian people. As young entrepreneurs in what the two organisations are now calling Lagos’s ‘Silicon Lagoon’, TEF’s interest and involvement in promoting social technology is an inspiration and forces us to set the bar high.”
About The Tony Elumelu Foundation
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an Africa-based and African-funded not-for-profit institution dedicated to the promotion and celebration of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa. As a 21st century catalytic philanthropy, the Foundation is committed to the economic transformation of Africa by enhancing the competitiveness and growth of the African private sector. Founded in 2010 by Tony O. Elumelu, MFR, the Foundation identifies and addresses systemic challenges that inhibit African entrepreneurs. For more information on The Tony Elumelu Foundation, click here.
About Co-Creation Hub Nigeria
Co-Creation Hub Nigeria is a social innovation centre dedicated to accelerating the application of social capital and technology for economic prosperity. The innovation hub is Africa’s premier living lab designed as a space where work to catalyse creative social tech ventures takes place. For more information about CcHub, click here.