Oluwaseun David ADEPOJU is the Founder of TECHmIT Africa, a Technology and Innovation Ecosystem Advocacy Organization with headquarter in Ibadan Oyo state Nigeria. He and his team members help technology startups explore the power of collaboration and idea mix to achieve the massive survival of the valley of death in the Nigerian Innovation Ecosystem. He is the convener of the Ibadan Tech Startup Meet up which he organized in collaboration with the Impact Innovators Team. He is an alumnus of the University of Ibadan Nigeria where he bagged a first class degree in Library and Information Science in 2012 and a masters in Library and Information Science in 2015.He is also a proud alumnus of the Korean Development Institute of Public Policy and Management Sejong, South Korea where he bagged a masters in Public Policy with special interest in technology policy and electronic government. He is also a certified social media analytics expert from Queensland University of Technology, Australia.
Mr. Oluwaseun Adepoju it’s an honour to interview you on my blog today, without wasting much of our time, let’s get right on to it.
1. Tell us about your early journey into the world of startups?
My entrance into the start up world started in 2011 when I started a media company called Tabanaku Infomatrix. The start up failed because I didn’t understand how to run a business. I did so many free jobs for people and I spent my capital eventually. Fast forward to 2016 when I conducted a research on technology entrepreneurs and their survival of the valley of death in the Nigerian Innovation Ecosystem,my mind was opened to the challenges of start ups in Africa,especially tech start ups. As a practical start up and a technology policy expert, I floated TECHmIT Africa on my return to Nigeria to address the challenges facing tech start ups while advocating a healthy Innovation Ecosystem in the city of Ibadan.
2. How has it been running TECHmIT AFRICA from Ibadan?
It has been very challenging due to the gradual emergence of technology entrepreneurship in the city of Ibadan. However,the experience has also been rewarding because myself and my team members are seeing the bright future in the Ibadan start up scene because of the Innovative and Creative Ideas we have seen emerge steadily from young people in the city. We often times see needs to move to Lagos but we believe that the next technology cluster in the Nigerian start up scene is the city of Ibadan. Ibadan is like a grown up damsel ready to be married in terms technology entrepreneurship and tech business proliferation. We run on the principle of creating values in Ibadan rather than compete for the prominence of already establish scenes of Lagos.
3. You were a judge at two Hult Prize Events,what were your take homes from the startups that pitched?
It was a great privilege to be amongst the selection committee for the Hult Prize at the University of Ibadan and Covenant University. I was super impressed by the startups that pitched in both schools. I saw young men and woman who are creating values and solving problems accross sectors of the society by leveragin on technology. Most of the startups had ideas that will become global brands and international problem solving businesses if helped. The help is what TECHmIT AFRICA is here to render. I have no doubt that these start ups will change the narratives of Africa into a creative economy.
4. What are the unique parallels between the startup scene in Korea and Ibadan?
It is very pertinent that every third world country must learn from the stories of economic developmentnl of South Korea. The rapid economic development of Korea is undoubtedly technology driven. However, there are some parallel points of analysis between the Daejon City of Korea and Ibadan City of Nigeria. The start scene in the technology City of South Korea has many Technology Incubation Hubs like Innopolis. Ibadan City of Nigeria has also improved in its start up scene with the daily increase in Innovation labs and hubs. The technology city of Daejon in Korea also has consistent tech start up meet ups which has also been seen in the last two years in the city of Ibadan Nigeria. TECHmIT Africa has also been useful in this meet up area as the convener of the Ibadan Tech start up meet up in collaboration with the Impact Innovators team.
5. Tell us what its like being a global citizen?
I love the term GLOBAL CITIZEN because it perfectly defines who a normal youth should be in the 21st century. A global citizen is an individual who ia not location bound in his or her thought pattern and mentality. He or she does things with the global community in mind. A global citizen would have ethnic acceptance ,religious tolerance and cultural acclimatization. Tech start ups must be global citizens because technology is global and not location bound. They must create values with the global community in mind.
6. What interesting project is TECHmIT Africa working on?
We are currently working on the biggest Acceleration Program in the city of Ibadan for Technology start ups. It will be a 12weeks of intensive knowledge investment into the selected start ups. We have the best hands on deck as the Acceleration Principal,Tayo Fagbohun of placements.ng is a succesful start up who just won the techpointbuild storm picth with his co-founder. We have awesome line ups of faculty members and judges who are experts on their various climes. The Acceleration program will be coming up in the month of March 2018 and we are really looking forward to it.
We are going to have a meet and greet for start ups on Saturday 4th February in preration for the Acceleration Program. Further information will be communicated to the selected start ups.
The goodnews is that the start ups enrolled in the acceleration program will have the chance to be the first cohort of our Asia Nigeria technology exchange program and get featured in our IbTECHreport 1.0.
7. Tell us more about the Acceleration program and what it is set to achieve?
Arguably so. At no point in the history of the Ibadan Tech startup scene has any platform, individual or group ventured to do what my team is setting out to do.
We will radically redefine the concept of startup acceleration and ensure that successful startups from our cohort program go on to not just build customer satisfying services and solutions but also jumpstart them on the path towards building thriving legacy businesses.
We will make public the moving parts of our plans as we roll out.
8) What do you see TECHmIT achieving in a decades time?
Just as Y-combinator is synonymous with Airbnb, DropBox and the likes, TechmiT Africa within a decade will be the hotbed from which successful startup stories will be birthed.
It won’t just be about peddling an Ibadan to Nigeria type of narrative but rather we will prove the concept of glocality by exporting our talents and solutions to the world.