The story of emerging tech cities around the world has been a greatly debated topic among techies and industry players for decades. While some people strongly believe that you should move any tech Start-up to a known tech city close to you, some others are on the other end of the chain with a strong certainty that the company that might overtake your start up with a better solution and or workflow is in an unknown location with tenacious founders working tirelessly.
In Africa, at the moment we have few cities that we can boldly tag a “Tech city”. On the top of the list are Nairobi, Jo’Burg, Lagos and Cairo (not in any specific order). On the emerging list, we have cities like Entebe, Jos, Kaduna, Port-Harcourt, Kigali, Akure to mention a few.
Akure is the Ondo State capital- the only Yoruba speaking state listed among the Niger Delta regions- has a lot of tech vibes and energy running in the city. Some say the presence of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) – arguably the best Technology University in the country can be the reason for the energy. The institution also accounts for a large percentage of the developer work force in the Nigerian Technology scene (In terms of products and even current students).
There are about 50 tech start-ups that have started business and even expanded to other cities with their principal place of operation in Akure. The bond between the founders in the ecosystem is its strength. This led to the to the launching of the #AkureTechUp initiative in July 2016 to further help foster growth amidst the startups in the eco system.
The AkureTechUp aims to make Akure a tech city that is globally known for quality products, companies and developers. So the emphasis is on the quality of ideas and solutions and not just quantity.
Startups in the scene meet at least once every quarter to give updates, share stories and plan events & programs for the quarter that will benefit the ecosystem. Fun is not left out as there are also trips, parties, novelty football matches and other events that will help to strengthen the bond within members of the community.
In a chat with the conveners of the AkureTechUp Initiative, Kitan David and Joel Ogunsola (who both run their active tech start ups in the eco-system), they emphasize that Akure has the potential to become the silicon valley of Africa; they argue that the right ingredients to make this happen are in seed form and would be nurtured to full maturity.
Interestingly, the cost of operation and living in Akure is quite affordable and there is a considerable amount of support from the current government administration for the tech eco-system. Hence, it makes complete sense for some start ups to shift their developer base to the City as they are able to afford conducive housing, lower cost of operations and good salaries for their developers.
Wouldn’t you rather start in Akure – the fastest growing knowledge base city in West Africa?