Versecom, a technology services company and IHS Nigeria this week launched a low-cost energy and environmental hub in Lagos, to help startups overcome cost issues related to access to offices. The center also has a co-working space for the self-employed and is located at Rafiu Jafojo Park Shasha, Alimosho.
The Hub has a coworking space with a capacity of 700 seats with amenities such as WiFi, air conditioning, uninterrupted power, etc. All of these can be enjoyed by freelancers, workers and teams for a flat fee of just 1,000 per day.
The center is open to individuals and teams, but community events and challenges will be tailored to energy and environmental startups. These are very rare in Nigeria and Africa in general because they have not had the support to test their products and evolve them, according to Timilehin Odusina, CEO of Versecom.
“Nigeria has a very dynamic software innovation space. What we’re looking at now is something around the hardware. Some of the problems we face can only be solved from a material point of view, ”said Odusina. TechCabal.
To remove obstacles to innovation in the sector, the hub has an integrated energy laboratory with equipment such as a transformer winder and an oscilloscope. These will be used to test energy and waste management solutions and experiments.
In the near future, Odusina hopes that the center can serve as an incubator for teams solving unique problems around energy and the environment. “At the hub, we can look at questions such as how to solve the electricity problem in the country or generate sustainable energy from renewable sources. This is the objective of the initiative, ”he said.
Odusina explains that setting up the innovation hub in Alimosho was a strategic choice due to two main factors. It is the largest local government area in Lagos and has the advantage of ties to different parts of the state.
There is also a market opportunity. Alimosho’s size means it is most likely home to working-class millennials, most of whom will have to travel to places like Yaba or Ikeja when they need to use co-working spaces.
“Imagine living here and spending another 40,000 to 50,000 a month just to transport yourself to one of the other communities where there are coworking spaces. Looking at it from an innovation point of view, it kills the spirit of innovation, ”said Odusina.
The general manager of Versecom hopes that this coworking space will de-clutter the popular tech hubs of Lagos and, as a result, attract more talent to Alimosho and other locations planned for low-cost centers. He believes that technology and innovation should be spread across all regions of the state.
After that ?
Odusina revealed that the hub – which was set to be completed in 2019 but was delayed by the coronavirus outbreak – is already planning to host the first major hackathon later this year with a focus on management garbage.
“The plan is to examine innovative ideas for collecting waste for canals and waterways,” he said. The company will also have capacity building programs around energy.
Meanwhile, the Energy & Environmental Hub is the first of six low-cost hubs and coworking spaces planned to be located in different public parks around Lagos.
According to Odusina, the following hubs will be designed to tackle unique issues in industries similar to Alimosho’s. These include concepts such as smart cities and connectivity; agricultural and health technologies; beauty care; retail, logistics and transport; as well as fintech and entertainment.
“Innovation and ideas will be crucial in moving the country forward. It goes beyond grants or one-off investments. It’s about creating an environment conducive to the flourishing of innovators, ”he said.
Besides Versecom and IHS Nigeria, the initiative also involves government agencies such as the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).
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