Our team were well represented at the just concluded Create 1.0 event which was organized by Akwa Ibom State Science & Technology Stakeholders Forum. The event was held at Ministry of Science & Technology, Uyo Akwa Ibom state and in attendance was our CEO, Mr. Hanson Johnson, the CEO of Hotels.ng Mr. Mark Essien and Uche Aniche, founder of Venue Hero and convener of #StartupSouth. Create 1.0 also had the Facebook Strategic Product Partnerships Manager Mr. Chukwuemeka Afigbo in attendance via Google hangout.
The coordinator of the forum who is also the Country Mentor, Google Developer Groups in Nigeria and the CEO of Start Innovation Hub declared the event open with opening remark reviewing the retrospect of technology in the state when there was no acceptance though things are beginning to change now.
He reviewed the present where there are skilled developers but with challenges of infrastructure and other forms of support to help scale ideas. He added that Uyo has taken the lead in technology entrepreneurship in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. This is unconnected with the activities of technology entrepreneurs in the city and of course Start Innovation Hub who has played a lead role in churning out entrepreneurs who are creating local solutions with global impact. He also encouraged entrepreneurs to keep on doing what they can do until they cannot be neglected because the future belongs to them.
Mark Essien of Hotels.ng in his keynote encouraged techies to be steadfast even in the face of numerable challenges facing the industry. The brief story of his rise in the industry was perfectly tailored to spur up developers and entrepreneurs to achieve more in the industry. Mark encouraged techies to go for technologies that are not currently common rather than seek easy going technologies that is currently in the market.
The CEO of hotels.ng charged developers to think of the latest technology like self-driven cars currently in design by Google. “If techies in Uyo ecosystem can design a technology for self-driven cars that can detect portholes, you can imagine how many countries in the world will go for such technology” he encouraged.
Mr. Chukwuemeka Afigbo joined us from London, United Kingdom and thanked the forum for inviting him to be part of Create 1.0. He shared with the community the opportunities and tools made available by Facebook for developers and encouraged developers to follow and be part of the fbstart programme.
Immediately after his session were reactions from the participants where some asked how can be part of fbstart programme and supports available for hackathon events. Chukwuemeka promised to send all relevant links and materials through the coordinator of the forum to the community.
In his parting words, he encouraged developers to collaborate and take advantage of technology hubs to bring their ideas to live. He also added that from experience, it is through hubs and communities that information flows, so if they need these information, they should be active members of the community.
Mr. Solomon Eyo thanked the State Governor for opening the office of the SA to the governor on ICT Matters and for making him the Special Assistant in the office. This, he informed developers has boost the industry giving hope and life to a once seemingly none existing industry in the state.
Mrs. Meflyn Anwana, the SA to the governor on New Media assured techies of government readiness to create an enabling environment for the industry to thrive in the state. Mrs. Anwana who spoke from the New Media angle promised the necessary publicity from her office to aid the Forum grow.
The highpoint of the event was the setting up of a panel to discuss on the theme of the event “Technology in Akwa Ibom State, Retrospect, Present and Prospects”. They came up with the following recommendations:
- Developers and entrepreneurs should form a community and take advantage of hubs to turn their ideas to products.
- There is dire need for the introduction of programming courses in primary and secondary schools.
- Introduction of IT clubs in schools in the state for the inculcation and furtherance of IT knowledge at basic level
- Free Space, Internet and Power should be given to developers and technology entrepreneurs in the e-library at least for a period of 2 years.
- There should be a special fund for technology entrepreneurship just as we have for agriculture.
- The academic community and the technology community should work together to facilitate growth and relevance of the ecosystem.
In a closing remark, Mr. David Akpan thanked the Honourable Commissioner for Science & Technology for her support towards the success of Create 1.0. He also appreciated Mark Essien for his keynote and attending the event in person and SA to the Governor on ICT Engr. Solomon Eyo and SA to the Governor on New Media Mrs. Meflyn Anwana for their support and staying to the end of the event.
The event will hold again in December, 2016. The Forum agreed.