The secret to building a thriving tech hub is to focus on its social impact and role in developing the wider ecosystem, according to ‘Bosun Tijani, chief executive officer (CEO) at Nigeria’s CcHub.
Speaking at the second annual Africa Tech Summit London, Tijani said CcHub is founded on the belief that tech hubs should focus on building an organisation that impacts society.
“At CcHub, whatever you try to build, you need to be addressing a social problem in Africa,” he said.
CcHub’s approach of focusing on being a “social innovation hub” is the key to why it is one of few tech hubs to be profitable and sustainable, Tijani said.
“What we do is about society. OK, we make money and we make a profit. But for us, it’s about where will the tech be in five, 10, 15 years. It’s about building society,” he said.
Tijani says organisations should concentrate on developing the wider ecosystem and community, and in doing so funding and financial returns follow naturally.
“There’s a lot of excitement in Africa about funding, and raising investment. But we have to think more about ecosystem building. That in turn will attract more funding,” he said.
In addition to supporting startups in-house, Tijani outlined two areas which he believes are core roles of any tech hub.
First, he said hubs should nurture talent and help entrepreneurs expand their skills. Next, he said there must be a focus on pipeline development – without which, there will be no on-going investment opportunities stretching into the future.
Finally, he added government and corporates should be involved in developing the ecosystem, through value chain support.