Let us take a look at Startups in the South Southern and South Eastern part of Nigeria as we reflect on the recent event at TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa. Startup Battlefield Africa is an event organized by a leading tech and startup news website TechCrunch. TechCrunch brings its experience with Startup Battlefield, one of the world’s premier startup competitions, to Sub-Saharan Africa to discover great early stage companies that have created technology to solve problems and develop the ecosystem within the region.
During the current Battlefield Africa, Lori Systems emerged Best of Show and Category Winner. Lori Systems is a local startup based in Nairobi. It has been building a logistics platform to improve cargo transportation across Africa. Most importantly, Lori Systems can optimize truck utilization so that you don’t waste time and money.
The company also handles invoicing, payment and tracking. It’s an all-in-one platform that leverages technology to elegantly solve logistics issues that have been around for a while. Lori Systems has been named Best of Show and won the productivity and utility category.
I must however, commend startups in the south southern part of Nigeria who are also building great solutions for our ecosystem. It has not really been easy for these founders. I recall when Emem Brownson launched Afro Pot, an app that is meant to deliver food to busy people who cannot make it to the restaurant for their launch.
The Startup in my observation had poor patronage. One of the most common challenges with startup in the region is poor understanding of the working of internet. Most people still find it very hard to believe that it is possible for one to order food online and get it delivered to his/her doorsteps. This fear is compounded when the users do not even know how to go about downloading the apps from the playstore.
With the rise of internet fraudsters in the early 21st century, any internet business was termed yahoo yahoo which was a very negative perception of the use of the new technology. However, while the said yahoo boys roamed the internet defrauding people in millions, there were some dedicated young people who devoted their time and energy positively to learning what was required to build applications that can provide solutions in the ecosystem.
I can also recall trying to find some solutions for some companies operating in Uyo. Unfortunately, I was either referred to Port Harcourt where they had zonal head offices or Lagos where most of their head offices reside. What I later discovered was that most of these industries conduct their interview and employ directly from Lagos when it comes to tech. This do not only discourage young people in the south in engaging fully in the industry but deprive them of role models as no one seems to have “made it” in the industry.
While the private sector operating in the region draw their workforce in the tech industry from Lagos, the government who are supposed to patronize the industry in the region believes also in going to Lagos or even abroad while they outsource IT projects. This is because the government official believes that going to Lagos and outside Nigeria to host a WordPress website will aid him or her input a budget a thousand times more than what is actually required for the project. By going outside the region therefore, they believe their track is permanently covered though the act constantly rob practitioners of the necessary experiences in the south.
Now as Kenyan startup, Lori Systems wins $25,000 at the first TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa, we are looking forward to startups in Nigeria South South and South Eastern States overcoming all challenges to remain focus in building spectacular solutions for our communities. It is worth noting that it is impossible for startup founders to concentrate in developing their codes while they starve away, therefore it will be ideal for the government and investors to identify these nascent startups and fund them to stand out and become a solution to some problems in the area including youth restiveness and unemployment.