Building a thriving startup ecosystem in Akure

In the last few months, the creative, business and tech communities in the Akure ecosystem have caught the attention of VCs and investors, especially for those in the tech space. Is there a backstory?

Akure currently has one of the most thriving tech ecosystems in Western Nigeria, boisterous with innovative and solution-driven ideas. As we edge towards maintaining the momentum, there are many questions we would have to answer before we delve into others, the big one “is there a future for tech and innovation in Akure?”

Let’s take a pause before we answer.

Akure, the capital of Ondo State, predominantly a civil servant society is home to the prestigious Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) amongst many other higher institutions. Its also home to a good number of startups with the spotlight on the tech ecosystem. The ecosystem is a relatively competitive one with an expressed desire to be one of the major players in technology-driven solutions in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.

Quite a number of people have relocated to the city in light of its evolution, either for investment, hope for job opportunities or at the very least to have a feel of its active yet seemingly calm ecosystem. Many are surprised at the sudden growth in terms of tech startups in Akure and wonder what the future holds for the city. However, to be certain about what the future holds in its infinite possibilities, we need to recount some salient points.

The city is home to the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), an institution that has produced a good number of excellent industry leaders in the country and some of them have stayed true towards developing and building a thriving community of talented and skilled individuals.

Let us do more…

This has become a mantra in the ecosystem for people who genuinely want to play their roles in building the community. A brief discussion with some of these names revealed that there is so much more to it than mere words:

No alt text provided for this image
Kitan David, Global Talent Lead, 115Garage.

Aboluwarin Olaoluwa David popularly referred to as KitanDavid, the host of the Global Human Series—the largest gathering of young entrepreneurs in the world—and the Talent lead at 115Garage has been a phenomenal input to the radical development of the Akure tech ecosystem and the community at large. Having started a company that recruited and nurtured the talent base in Akure while still an undergraduate, he recognized the wealth of talents concentrated in one location—FUTA—and moved to maximize the opportunity to do more.

Joel Ogunsola—Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Innovation and Partnership to the governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Aketi Akeredolu—has also flag shipped a lot of collaboration and partnership to help the budding ecosystem. and the beauty of it all is that the input in one space has a ripple effect through the others. All other spaces are rapidly evolving.

A chat with other stakeholders like Olusola Amusan—Founder, Curators University, the pioneer institution for training on Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, Ibukun Obe, Founder Premier Hub Innovation Centre, Abraham Akpan, Executive Director of Emerging Communities Africa and Akure Tech Hub—also revealed that the Akure ecosystem would definitely continue thriving and a lot is going into sustaining this rapid evolution.

Premier Innovation Hub, Akure.

Training, boot camps, symposiums, masterclasses etc. are popping up on all sides of the city for the singular purpose of building and nurturing a community that would sustain the growing ecosystem and with this, a means to become well equipped for the next wave of innovative invasion.

So, to the major question in the hearts of many, the answer is Yes!!!

There is a future for tech and innovation in Akure. Projections are that by 2030, a 70% increase from the current number of VCs would have come into the ecosystem. What does that tell you? The system is en route becoming all the more conducive for impact and solution-driven ideas.

You could take out your time to pull up a search on Akure, you could even be so radical as to do some findings on your own about the above-listed names, but be sure of one singular fact, Akure is evolving fast, are you skilled enough to keep up the pace?

  • Olugbemiro Toluwase (Communication Strategist based in Akure)