Good Internet: The Missing Ingredient in the budding Akure Tech Ecosystem

Akure tech ecosystem has consistently made headlines in recent times as a template for a government, private sector and academia backed cluster in Nigeria. 

In June 2017, the Ondo State government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal University of Technology, Akure and the Emerging Communities TechUp initiative (Akure TechUp) to establish the Akure Tech Hub which opened for business in July this year.

SeedDev, Tab Digitals, ASAP foods, TREP Labs, NWT, Bibi Foods, LifePro Food Mills, PlanetNest and a good number of startups/organizations working from the city have won grants and investments ranging into thousands of Dollars. Products from the Federal University of Technology Akure have built good portfolios from their experience and ideas whilst in the community to work in major OEMS and blue-chip tech companies around the world. The city hosts a few hubs like Curators Hub, Premier Innovation Hub and the Akure Tech Hub.

Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and other stakeholders at the commissioning of the Akure Tech Hub

However, as we continue to voice the dream of the Akure TechUp community to be the go-to area for technology solution for Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025, it is important that more structures are put in place to keep and engage talents and provide a conducive environment for startups and young entrepreneurs to blossom. In another article, we would discuss the other necessary frameworks, but for now, a major issue that has affected the quality of work for startups in the city is good internet.

Alayande Abiola and Taofeek Olalekan( TREP Labs) with the First Lady of Ondo State.

For tech or tech-enabled startups, we cannot overemphasize the importance of good and quality internet. In an interconnected world linked by technology, good internet is like oxygen, because no communication and research, no life for good business and growth. It is so important to the society that it is described as the decisive technology of our century and makes up the technological infrastructure of the world.

Delegates at the 1st African Space Generation Workshop at the Federal University of Technology Akure

The internet plays a critical role in the day-to-day operations of businesses and industries as it helps collaboration across and within organizations regardless of geographical location, real-time communication with partners and suppliers and access to clients anywhere in the world—the real-time operational advantage that this gives many if not all businesses to effectively and efficiently deliver solutions with significant time and cost saving is compelling.

I once tweeted that sometimes it’s hard to be more motivated than the speed of your internet. Startups in a place like Akure can achieve a lot more with faster internet. The current government administration, which seems to be interested in tech and startups has to do more with some capital investment on internet connectivity, and this can help businesses to achieve more as well as attract new investment and startups in the budding city

– Victor Fatanmi (Design Agency Co-founder)

That said, Oni Olaleke is the Chief Operations Officer of one the fastest growing red carpet and event experience company in Nigeria with clients all around the country. An integral part of their communications and operations is good internet; a slow or bad internet comes with huge effects on operational cost. “So recently we have been battling with the issue of bad network and because of that most of our designs, we have had to take to the printer with a flash drive. This has not only wasted time but it has cost us extra cash to deliver the designs. with a better network it will be easier to mail the designs and only go to the printer for pick up”, he explained.

Neptunn Co-founder, Praise Philemon adds that a better internet would drastically improve efficiency and delivery of jobs. Online meetings via Skype would be more seamless and we won’t have to worry about large files download. “I majorly use MTN and Etisalat at the studio and they pretty much have great speeds at an average of 7 – 8 Mbps. But they’re expensive to have. Meanwhile, for the cheaper ones, Airtel and GLO, their speed is really slow. So we have to spend more to get fast internet and this relatively increases our running cost at the studio. We spend an average of 40K per month, instead of 20K (for the cheaper ones)”, he added.

Internet, fast internet, is the basic requirements for any tech oriented city 

– Aregbede Ayo (Senior Developer, Lidstack)

In the 21st century, we cannot underestimate the importance of good internet in scalable businesses as it affects client/customer relations and operational excellence. If the mobile service providers cannot give the best of services to an upwardly mobile population of entrepreneurs in the city, relevant stakeholders should work to prevail on them to improve their services or create enabling incentives for other broadband service providers to enter the market.

Akure can grow, the pool of talent is here, however, to stem the migration of some of our best hands to cities with better internet services (which can cut down time and trips); the faster the stakeholders including the government can take into consideration the need for a better broadband service, the faster we can achieve our goal as the go-to city for tech solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa

Opeyemi Olugbemiro

Your tech story amazes me. When you think of a tech innovation that makes life better, you've caught my attention. #SerialOptimist Contact: opeyemi@zumalo.com

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