Taking a closer observation at the history of coworking movement in Nigeria, right from the emergence, the surround details and factors, and of course to the current trends and status, one would be well convinced that Nigeria has experienced a significant surge in Coworking following its recorded success so far.
In Africa, over 250 Coworking spaces have sprung up in the last 3 years and Nigeria has not been left out. From two spaces in Lagos in 2011 to 75 coworking spaces in 2017, and currently over 107 coworking spaces across Nigeria, with Lagos leading with over 40 coworking spaces followed by Abuja and Port Harcourt which are gradually embracing the new trend. Consequently, since 2011, Coworking spaces have been on an upward trajectory.
The Nigeria Coworking Conference, held on Thursday 26th July 2018 at IMAX Filmhouse, Lekki, Lagos, on its second edition, featured together entrepreneurs, innovators, service providers, operators and policy drivers, to explore the interesting innovations, key partnerships and trends that is causing the industry’s explosion and value creation across multiple sectors all over the world, with the Nigerian Vice president Prof. Yemi Osibanjo as the keynote speaker.
The conference which was founded last year by Kola Oyenetin, the CEO Venia Business Hub, was officially sponsored by Access Bank Plc.
The Vice President whose mantra since taken office has been ‘nation building through innovation’ in an interactive session with global experts, entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, and leading figures in Nigeria’s coworking industry who are building and shaping Nigeria through their various ideas and platforms, while encouraging the linkage between the future of work ‘’collaboration’’ and other forms of learning, the Vice President laid emphasis on the government’s support on driving technology and innovation as a means of driving economic growth.
“Sharing space is the least profound; it is in the birthing of creativity and innovation. Co-creation is by far the game-changing affair of the economy” the vice president said.
Although for the past few years, coworking spaces in Nigeria have been lagging from investors’ priority, resulting to a hitch in growth and development. However, by evaluation, these have dramatically changed recently, considering the phenomenal shift and rate of growth in the coworking sector globally. Coworking movement in Nigeria as part of reform in the ecosystem is disruptively gaining momentum, creating investment drivers and opportunity, pulling venture capitals into the revolution.
Dr. Omobola Johnson, Partner, TLcom and one of the prestigious speakers at the event, believes that these spaces, either coworking space, incubator, accelerator etc. are driving factors which support and strengthen the entrepreneurial ideation and decision process and creating an enabling environment for tech companies to thrive and to grow through flexibility and viability that offers a soft landing for entrepreneurs and startups as it takes care of most overheads costs. ‘’Astute investors have discovered that what matters most as VC’s is the ideation process and primarily for the intent of growth, using innovation and creativity.” -Dr Omobola Johnson.
Emphasising on how coworking space operators should create opportunities and investment drivers, Dr. Omobola laid some key points such as first, location – to be one of the important factor, especially in the country with infrastructural challenges like transportation, broadband etc. secondly, to put up a demonstrable evidence of sustainable model that will not just see to service provided but also the quality of service provided. And thirdly, non-tangible things that are also eminent to the sustainable growth of real tech ecosystem.
Also among the speakers includes Kola Aina – Chairman, Venture Platform, Tosin Faniro-Dada; Head, Lagos Innovates, Tony Bacigalupo – principal, New Work Cities (Germany), Ola Brown – CEO, Flying Doctors Nigeria, Maria Rotilu – Country Manager, Branch Int’l, Adebowale Banjo – General Manager, AutoGenus, Bunma Akinyemiju – CEO, Ventures Garden, Sanusi Ismaila – Founder, CoLab, Alex Ahom, Founder, Shared-Germany, Olutosin Oni – Echo VC, Mosope Olaosebikan – CEO, Civic Lab, Ayo Akinmade, Executive Vice Chairman, Regus Nigeria, Fareed Arogundade – CEO, Workstation and also Iyin Aboyeji – Cofounder, Flutterwave, who shared so openly about his entrepreneurial Journey on the featured session: Start Small, Grow Big- Learning’s from my Entrepreneurial Journey.
Article by : Agu Kenechukwu