The Innovation Support Network (ISN) hubs recently concluded their much-anticipated 5th annual gathering, a flagship event dedicated to showcasing innovation and collaboration within Nigeria’s thriving innovation ecosystem .
Held from September 13 to 15, 2023, at the prestigious Shehu Musa Yar’adua Center in Abuja, this year’s theme, “Unlocking potential: collaborating for growth and impact”has brought together a diverse community of innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers and industry leaders.
Innovation Support Network (ISN Hubs) is an organization focused on creating linkages with businesses, development partners, academia and government to catalyze Nigeria’s innovation ecosystem through its community of 168 innovation hubs , technology, impact and entrepreneurship across the country.
The event featured informative and engaging discussions, highlighting the central role that innovation hubs play in shaping Nigeria’s economic landscape.
One of the highlights of the occasion was the Annual General Meeting (AGM), a memorable gathering where we celebrated the outgoing Board Directors who completed their tenure.
These esteemed individuals included Mr. Hanson Johnson, outgoing Ecosystem Director and Founder of Start Innovation Hub; Wrong. Abdulganiyu Rufai Yakub, outgoing business director and founder of Digital Development Hub; Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, the outgoing CMO and co-founder of Go Do Hub, Madam Fayo Williams, the outgoing CFO and driving force of Exponential Hub; and Charles Emembolu, co-founder of Roar Nigeria Hub.
The AGM also saw the introduction of a new Executive Director, Oge Nnaife, who would lead the ISN Secretariat and bring his expertise to deepen the network’s footprints within the ecosystem as a thought leader and catalyst for innovation, technology and entrepreneurship as well as the election of a new cohort of board directors, each bringing their unique talents and perspectives.
Charles Emembolu, co-founder of Roar Nigeria Hub, took on the role of Director of Partnerships, while Maryam Lawan Gwadabe, the visionary founder of Blue Sapphire Hub, took on the role of Director of Enterprises.
Edward Esene, founder of Plus Incubation Hub, took on the role of chief marketing officer, and Blessing Ebere Achu, founder of 360 Creative Innovation Hub, took on the role of chief financial officer.
Theodore Longji, CEO of nHub, has been elected ecosystem director. The AGM served as a backdrop for these momentous transitions and reflections on our collective achievements.
Held at the Nigerian Army Resort Center in Asokoro, the event attracted a remarkable turnout, with over 130 people coming together to celebrate the spirit of innovation and collaboration that defines our thriving community.
On the second day of the event, the gathering itself featured an impressive lineup of speakers and panelists. Speeches were delivered by distinguished personalities such as the Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria, Leena Pylvänäinen, the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE (represented by Yakuba Musa), the National Coordinator of ONDI, the Chief project manager at the GIZ Digital Transformation Center, Nigeria, Dr. Thuweba Diwani and Khalil Suleiman Halilu, Executive Vice President/CEO of NASENI.
The event also featured dynamic panel discussions, bringing together representatives from various sectors, including government and private sector leaders like Obi Asika and Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome, professionally known as Alibaba, development partners, universities and innovation centers.
These discussions focused on the multiple ways in which collaboration with stakeholders can amplify the impact of the clusters’ initiatives and achievements.
Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, the outgoing Chief Marketing Officer, shared his enthusiasm, highlighting ISN Hubs’ mission to promote collaboration, inspire and support Nigerian hubs in promoting a diversified economy that champions technological development, innovation and start-up entrepreneurship.
The annual gathering served as a platform to showcase the exceptional work of network members in creating value across the country while fostering opportunities for impactful partnerships.
Panel sessions during the event covered topics such as domestication and implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act, state of the impact ecosystem in Nigeria, strategies to drive inclusive economic growth through effective partnerships, leveraging diverse expertise for innovation and sustainable growth, business innovation, and more.
Additionally, the event included a side session called Deal Room, where 12 startups, selected from a pool of 560 applications, pitched their ideas to potential investors for potential funding of up to $200,000. Four startups emerged as winners and are currently in discussions with investors.
The final day of the event included an enlightening tour of the innovation ecosystem in Abuja. Members of the ISN community visited notable locations such as Work and Connect, Ventures Park and Innov8 Hub.
In summary, the AGM, annual event and Abuja ecosystem tour provided the backdrop for important transitions, reflections on collective achievements, networking, bonding and invaluable sharing of experiences and knowledge.
This event marked a crucial milestone in the ISN Hubs’ journey towards promoting innovation and collaboration for the improvement of Nigeria’s economic landscape.
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