July 23, 2017
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Anibe IdajiliAnibe IdajiliJul 10, 2017
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8min

Cloud computing is simply the delivery of computing services over the Internet. These services include databases, analytics, software, servers, networking, storage, etc. You can store/access information, programs over the Internet for personal or business use, and to perform numerous tasks on PC or mobile. 

Only few startups or small businesses have their own in-house IT departments and when something needs to be fixed, outside onsite services are always needed. These services are usually expensive and time-consuming.  While waiting for the technician, systems may be down, resulting in a loss of productivity and revenue.  Cloud computing solves many of these issues over traditional IT infrastructure.

With easy-to-use implementations and customizable features, cloud computing services providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) provide long-term business processes and transformations. However, in Nigeria, some cloud hosting companies include Rack Centre, MDXi, Excelsimo Networks, and Medallion Communications Limited.

As a startup owner, do you really understand the key benefits of cloud? Let’s talk about the major advantages of cloud computing:

 

Lower IT infrastructure cost

Cloud-based software applications can often cost less than their on-the-shelf counterparts. They can significantly lower the cost of online backup, data storage, and IT infrastructure. There are far less operational costs with a cloud service as compared to traditional, on-premise infrastructure.

Typical items associated with on-premise infrastructure are servers, operating systems, licensing fees, and network switches. There is also the cost of maintaining the physical, tangible hardware, like powering them with electricity and installing security systems to protect them.

With a cloud-based solution, there are none of those costs involved. A system administrator is able to oversee included and automatic processes that would otherwise be more manual work to put in place. Not only is money being saved from not having to purchase hardware, the IT team member has more time to spend productivity-wise on other projects.

 

Less space

Cloud computing evidently means less memory is utilised on office machines, increasing the lifespan of machines. Some of the space needed for network routing is also eliminated.

Like Google Cloud, particularly G Suite, with an internet connection, anything related to a company could be accessed at anytime and anywhere. Crucial documents that may need to be viewed outside of work hours is available, if needed. There is no need to wait until you’re back in the office to connect to the on-premise server. Many companies set up Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), so that access to files are limited to certain IP addresses or locations. This is not a limitation for access to documents using the cloud.

Another benefit for cloud-accessible items is the allowance of flexible hours and locations for business operations.  A company is free to hire more remote employees, full-time, part-time, or freelance, if it would best fit its business needs.

 

Flexible IT infrastructure capacity

There is no need to consider any changes to a cloud service’s capacity. If extra resources are needed, you can get them when you need them. If you run out of storage when adding files, you can add more storage, and only an amount that is needed.

Capacity in regards to on-premise IT infrastructure is not as flexible as the cloud. If you have a server that stores 2TB of data, and the files you have need more storage than that, you may need to buy a new server altogether.

Unlike cloud computing, there is no way to add more storage onto hardware. This is because it is built to only support a certain amount.

 

Latest and inexpensive versions of software

There are no expensive software upgrades. For instance, you can set automatic updates from a certain product, i.e. Oracle for databases. You could also have it customized so that only certain versions of that product are upgraded. 

The process of upgrading software for on-premise infrastructure tends to be more complex. If a software update is released, a system administrator typically needs to manually download and implement it. Once it is installed, the system administrator needs to test it to ensure nothing has been broken.

This entire process could take up to an entire day. But if it needs to be done when no employees are accessing the service, the system administrator needs to spend time on the weekend or late at night in order to fix the issue. In the end, productivity goes down for all employees.

 

Do you always need to visit the server room to troubleshoot issues? With cloud computing, you can put the administrative tools in the cloud and actually concentrate on what is important for your business.


Aishat AdamsonAishat AdamsonJul 7, 2017
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3min

In developed and developing economies, the role of Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) cannot be overemphasized. It is safe to say small businesses play a crucial role not only in job creation but economic productivity in general. However, these businesses need support for greater impact.

In Lagos, Nigeria’s leading commercial center, the case is no different. SGBs are major employers of labor and business owners face challenges. To this end, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), with support from Citi Foundation developed an entrepreneurial ecosystem snapshot to better understand support system in and around Lagos, Abuja (Nigeria) and Accra (Ghana).

Speaking at the launch of the Lagos Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Snapshot recently, the West African Regional Chapter Coordinator for Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), Olatunji Ajani, explained how the startup community in Nigeria’s economic hub requires actors to foster a spirit of inclusiveness and engagement across stakeholders – investors, capacity development providers, foundations, donor organisations, professional service providers, corporate partners, civil society organisations, and other community organisations, adding that SGBs would benefit from public-private partnerships (PPPs) that deliver high-quality business support.

ANDE event

Highlighting key findings from the report, ANDE West Africa Chapter Co-ordinator mentioned poor access to finance, lack of collaboration and coordination among actors supporting entrepreneurs, difficulty in finding competent and skilled talent, and high rent among the most pressing challenges in Lagos’ entrepreneurial ecosystem. However, the snapshot also captured the growing involvement of knowledge providers from the private sector who offer programmes and trainings tailored to build business capacity in startup founders, investments flows to different sectors, and the stage of business that attracts the most funding from investors among others.

The study also sheds light on the significant growth recorded in hubs and co-working spaces, startup accelerators and incubators. It highlighted the need for advisory services targeted at SGBs in the ecosystem and the opportunities for venture capitalists as businesses in the ecosystem continue to attract investment from local and global institutions.

Stakeholders at the event included ANDE members: AMSCO, Alitheia Capital, Dalberg, LEAP Africa, Oxfam, and TechnoServe. Other organisations such as Bank of Industry, Heritage Bank, and Fate Foundation were also in attendance.

ANDE event

In closing, ANDE West Africa Coordinator Ajani said members of the public can access a detailed version of the Lagos Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Snapshot online. He also emphasized that ANDE’s goal is to provide better insight about the business environment, local support systems, and entrepreneurial intermediaries in and around Lagos, Abuja (Nigeria) and Accra (Ghana).


Paul AdepojuJun 12, 2017
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3min

Nokia has launched its Open Innovation Challenge for the fifth year running, focusing now on the Internet of Things (IoT) for smart cities, mobility, safety and security, and connected industries. The challenge is being organized in partnership with private venture firm Nokia Growth Partners.

Nokia is shaping a new revolution in technology, where networks augment and aid our daily lives. We create the technology that connects the world and are looking to co-innovate with the ecosystem to invent disruptive technologies.

Co-innovation is an essential part of Nokia’s ambition to bring in people with creative ideas and smart solutions. The Nokia Open Innovation Challenge is calling for startups and innovators who are working on the next big ideas in IoT to improve people lives and able to demonstrate a working prototype for their idea that:

  • Improves cities by solving many urban challenges
  • Improves safety with technology
  • Improves how we interact and experience the world around us with virtual reality and machine interactions
  • Enables the next industrial revolution with LTE, robotics and sensors
  • Improves health with digital technologies

Submissions will be accepted between June 8 and September 20, after which they will be assessed and the top teams will be invited to a two-day concept development workshop with Nokia experts in Helsinki in November. The final judging and the award ceremony will be held right after the workshop.

“The industrial revolution is well on its way. Ultimately our aim at Nokia is to create technology that connects the world, a challenge which we embrace with nothing less than our relentless passion for innovation. But we know, that we cannot succeed alone. Co-innovating in an open ecosystem with start-ups and large tech companies in a healthy balance is so essential. The Nokia Open Innovation Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for innovators and entrepreneurs to join us as we embrace the challenge of creating technology to serve the growing needs for the Internet of Things,” said Kathrin Buvac, Chief Strategy Officer of Nokia.

“The Nokia Open Innovation Challenge is a celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in IoT as well as a fantastic opportunity to partner with a large technology corporation. We have sponsored the initiative for four years now because we always meet interesting companies through the challenge,” said Bo Ilsoe, Partner of Nokia Growth Partners.


Dolapo IyunadeJun 9, 2017
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3min

500 startups, a venture capital firm that provides funds to companies in their early stages, is now receiving applications for its 22nd batch. This seed program is set to take place in San Francisco, from the 24th of July 2017.

As of August 1, 2015, 500 Startups had invested in over 1,200 companies including CanvaCleanify and  Udemy. Of current investments, more than 20% have participated in other incubators, 20-30% are international, and over 60 have been acquired. To date, their biggest exits include $403M acquisition of Makerbot by Stratasys, $350M acquisition of Wildfire by Google, $200M acquisition of Viki by Rakuten, and $117M acquisition of Simple by BBVA. Even Nigerian Printivo was in the 20th batch of this program.

The program which runs for four months is filled with:

  • access to a network of 1000+ founders, 200+ mentors, and the 500 startups staff, who will give guidance when needed
  • a rich curriculum focused on marketing, culture, startup accounting, product design, mobile, user testing, sales, and more.
  • opportunities to build relationships and partnerships
  • a demo day reserved to pitch to investors
  • $150,000 investment in return for 6% of your company

They invest in all kinds of companies and their areas of interest include: Consumer Commerce, Family, Tech and Education, Design, Cloud services, International / emerging markets, Food Tech, Digital Healthcare, Mobile + Tablet (IOS and Android), Payments and Financial services, IoT/Drones/Hardware, Fashion, Beauty and so on.
Startups all over the world are encouraged to apply here.


Paul AdepojuMay 31, 2017
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6min

Nigeria’s Co-creation Hub (CcHUB) is partnering with Google for Entrepreneurs to launch PitchDrive – a three week, five-city European tech hub tour across London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Zurich and Paris. In a statement announcing the tour, the partnering institutions said it will bring 15 elite African tech companies together to pitch to investors, explore international opportunities and learn about frontier technology markets.

African startup founders looking to raise Series A funding and above will be selected by the PitchDrive team to embark on a landmark tour that aims to build stronger networks between European investors and African tech talent. Starting in London on 14th of August 2017, the cohort will visit Google’s Campus London, TQ Amsterdam, Factory Berlin and  Impact Hub in Zurich, concluding at NUMA Paris. Upon completion of the tour, the inaugural cohort will have pitched to over 300 investors, with the specific goal of raising over €20M in the three week period. This is the first tour of its kind to connect African tech companies with European capital, and the PitchDrive team is aiming to open up the sector to investors who want to build their portfolios to include emerging markets.

‘Bosun Tijani, CcHub Founder and CEO says:

“PitchDrive will hit the road in August to connect Africa’s tech elite with Europe’s most influential investors. Applicants will be subjected to a rigorous selection process, and those selected will go on to have their business models scrutinised and analysed by some very shrewd and highly experienced investors at a Demo Day on each stop of the tour. It will be tough, but ultimately, we hope to help secure a number of breakthrough capital deals for those who embark on this journey with us. This is an incredible opportunity, and applications for just 15 places on the PitchDrive bus, are now welcome.

“Google started in a garage two decades ago. Our bus is the equivalent of their garage. We hope that with the support of Google for Entrepreneurs on the PitchDrive tour, we may secure capital to launch a new trajectory for one or two African unicorns of the future”.

Pitchdrive

PitchDrive will provide all travel, accommodation and visa support, as well mentorship and support from notable tech founders well versed in fund raising, including Iroko Founder and CEO Jason Njoku, Saidah Nash Carter of Reuters, Stephen Newton of Illuminate Africa and David Grunwald of Google for Entrepreneurs.

David Grunwald, Head of Global Partnerships Google for Entrepreneurs, adds:

“Entrepreneurs from across Africa are building world-class tech companies, and we are delighted to be able to use the power of the Google for Entrepreneurs network to showcase their fantastic products to audiences in some of Europe’s most important tech ecosystems”

Applications are now open for African tech startups who are in a position to fundraise at seed stage and above. Those looking to apply must have been running for at least two years, and be a legal, registered enterprise able to demonstrate a minimum of 12 months revenue-generating operations and must be based in Africa. Ideally, startups will also have a strong management team who have worked together for at least 12 months and the founding team should own between 30-60% of the business with a high quality board. Founders must also be available for a three week period through the Summer of 2017.

The PitchDrive team are also looking for companies that are tech enabled or proprietary/patented tech, technology that has been validated by large reputable corporate customers (where applicable), relates to retail, mobile, financial technology, health or agriculture or have a high differentiation of technology / know how.

Potential applicants can find all criteria and apply at www.pitchdrive.xyz


Paul AdepojuMay 25, 2017
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2min

A total of four startups from Nigeria will be part of the fourth class of Google’s Launchpad Accelerator.

The selected startups are Delivery Science, which provides Enterprise Supply Chain Software as a Service (SaaS) solution to companies operating robust logistics and supply chain business processes; Gidi Mobile Limited offering gidimo which is a mobile learning platform that uses mastery learning and social gamification to deliver personal advancement, in a fun way, and at unprecedented scale; Flutterwave which is building technology and infrastructure for digital commerce across Africa starting with Rave, an app that helps merchants accept mobile money, cards and bank account payments across 4 African countries; and Paystack a startup that helps African businesses to accept payments from their customers.

They will join other startups from across the world to participate in Launchpad Accelerator which is a six-month acceleration program offering mentorship and access to Google Product Managers. They will also receive equity-free support, product credits, and access to Google’s full suite of Launchpad initiatives and connections.

They will enjoy all-expense-paid trip to Google Headquarters in Mountain View to collaborate with Google engineers/product managers and regional VCs.

Roy Glasberg, Global Lead, Launchpad Program & Accelerator, said, “We’re back at it again and excited to welcome an inspiring group of startups from all over the world for the 4th class of Launchpad Accelerator.

“This time around, startups from Asia and Latin America will be joined by peers from Africa and Europe.

“In addition to expanding our reach, we’re also expanding our curriculum. We’ll help the startups dig deeper into machine learning and AI, to help them leverage Google’s latest technologies to scale their apps”.

Class 4 kicks off July 17th, 2017 at the Google Developers Launchpad Space in San Francisco and will include 2 weeks of all-expense-paid training.


Bola LawalMay 15, 2017
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4min

Few weeks back, a fellow tech entrepreneur shared a post on Facebook where he ranted about his recent experience interviewing some candidates for an open position at his startup. He was very disappointed because some of the candidates could not articulate the activities of said startup. It was obvious they had not done any type of research to get familiar with its key activities. What really got me however, was a comment on the post by the country manager of the top ride-sharing company in the world. She posted,Our graduates are unemployable”. This statement shook me, especially because of who it came from. If more employers think this way, then we’re in a much bigger trouble, as the already high youth unemployment rate will continue to rise.

What are Employability Skills?
Simply put; “Career Capital” that people need to get a job!

There are job-specific skills that an employer requires in a potential candidate based on the stated job description. However, most employers will also want you to have some general skills.
There are eight skills that employers want you to have, no matter what industry you’re working in:

Communication, Teamwork, Problem solving, Initiative and enterprise, Planning and Organizing, Self-management, Learning, Technology

Basic Technology Skills: General technology skills that employers want include things like being able to use a computer for word processing and data analysis with excel spreadsheets, and email and so on.

Software: Some more specific technology skills relate to software, like social media (growth hacking), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Web/graphics design or video editing software or knowing programming languages.

Hardware: Other technology skills relate to hardware, like knowing how to use EFTPOS, a cash register, a photocopier or scanner, a camera or a recording studio.

Examples of ways to develop or improve your technology skills include:

  • Sign-up for web-based training courses on platforms like Coursera
  • Sign-up for Webinars hosted by top tech brands like Microsoft, Google, Facebook etc
  • Watch “how-to” videos on YouTube
  • Attend training programs at places like Aptech and NIIT
  • Take courses in school (university) that allow you work projects based on real life scenarios

*Be aware that these things vary based on individual interests and aptitude. And remember, “learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence”.


Paul AdepojuMay 1, 2017
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3min

Used cars are a big deal in Nigeria and a startup that is aggresively taking Nigeria’s informal used cars ecosystem online has just announced it has raised $5 million funding.

Cars45.com today announced it has raised a $5 million Series A round from the Frontier Cars Group, a holding company whose backers include Balderton Capital,  EchoVC, TPG Growth, and NEA. According to TechCrunch, Cars45 will deploy the capital to improve its platform that buys, sells, prices, and rates the condition of pre-owned autos.

“The used-car market in Nigeria is generally a big hassle. There’s so much mistrust, no vehicle history, and not much of a structured dealer network,” said Cars45 CEO Etop Ikpe. “We’ve created something that changes all that, offering transparency, speed, convenience, and safety, in a highly frictional and opaque market.”

Here is how Cars45 works. The process begins online, where owners enter their vehicle information for a free quote. They can then schedule an appointment at one of the company’s 13 inspection centers in Nigeria.

After a multi-point evaluation including engine, brakes, tires, and a road-test, Cars45 makes an offer. If accepted, the company commits to wire payment to the owner’s bank account within 45 minutes.

After pricing and creating a digital service history, Cars45 offers the autos it acquires to a private network of buyers, according to Ikpe. The startup’s revenue model―for the moment―is largely based on “fees from that private network of pre-verified buyers” who gain access to Cars45 vehicles, he said.


BellaRose OkojieBellaRose OkojieApr 21, 2017
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8min

There has been a heated conversation around the (un)likelihood of a “Yabacon Valley” ensuing on Twitter for the past week. A handful of Nigerian techies and notably the likes of Mark Essien, Oluyomi Ojo, Oo Nwoye have argued that Yabacon Valley doesn’t exist because of a number of reasons.

While all this banter went on on Twitter and inspired more arguments and fact checking, uncertainty still hung in the air about Yaba attaining the status of San Franciso’s Silicon Valley. Reminded me a lot of an article I wrote on Nollywood as either Surulere or 1/3 Pound road, Aba versus Hollywood and Bollywood. However, on my way to the office just two days ago, around the Ojodu Berger area of Lagos state, a flier was flung in my car by boys on roller skates. It was the campaign flier for a young politician by the name Adebola Mayowa running for Ojodu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) chairman.

First on his agenda was to “create a Tech hub & IT centre” in the Ojodu. (There’s a personal discrepancy as to whether Ojodu is different from Ojodu berger) Mayowa is a trained laboratory engineer at Milton Technical Centre, Cambridge, United Kingdom who rose to the position of Senior Manager at Integrated Electronics Company Limited, a foremost consultant to NAFDAC, GSK, etc” according to a website funded by certain “Youths for Mayowa Adebola”, found here.

 

From the issues raised by players in the ecosystem ranging from accommodation; affordability and availability, concentration of actual tech businesses in the area, road networks, investor friendliness, the list goes on, it is worthy of note that Ojodu is a place that links Lagos to other parts of Nigeria. By measurement, Ojodu Berger is far bigger than Yaba. For people who are visiting Lagos or returning, on road, Ojodu Berger is the first bus-stop. Accommodation is much cheaper there too, just check tolet.com.ng and you’ll see. Ojodu has also gotten a major face-lift on the road network and traffic management. The area is looking more and more high profile and attractive to say the least. So much that the thought of creating a “tech hub” there would seem like the cherry on top. But does this guarantee the success of a tech hub there? Will startup owners migrate?

Ojodu berger, Lagos. Will the tech community migrate to Ojodu if “Yabacon Valley” never happens? PIC: The Guardian
Is it a good idea to expect "the government" to institutionalize a tech hub or is 
it better left to the control of players in the ecosystem, as it is?

I thought it was interesting that Mayowa would make, specifically, creating a tech hub a campaign promise and so while his campaign flier and website do not give details about what this tech hub will look like; shape, form and concept, an earlier interview he had with The Guardian quotes him as saying,

“I want to meaningfully engage the youths in my LCDA through skills acquisition and entrepreneurial training. Majority of the people are energetic individuals between the ages of 16 and 25 and are mainly uneducated and unemployed. I want to implement programmes that will direct this energy into sustainable enterprises”

While Mayowa’s profile does not mention any practical involvement with modern/mobile technology except for his stint at the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology which is quite honestly a completely different kettle of fish (pun intended), it will be of great benefit to see what the LGA chairmanship candidates in Yaba have up their sleeves before the elections set to hold June this year. Also, engaging all parties in a debate will give a clearer, more realistic-futuristic view to this “Yabacon Valley” dream the Nigerian tech players so passionately believe can happen.

Not to add, there’s a nice ring to “Yabacon valley”. Ojoducon sounds like “Ojodu kan” meaning one Ojodu when pronounced with a Yoruba accent. Try it.


Dolapo IyunadeMar 24, 2017
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2min

Crowdfunding is not a new concept in Nigeria. With the likes of GoFundMe, people have been able to raise money towards charitable causes online. But that’s the thing, it’s online. What about the people that really want to provide help but have no access to the internet?

Donate-ng, an online fundraising and crowdfunding portal in Nigeria where individuals and charities with causes and projects can easily raise funds, has made things easy for this category of people. This has been made possible through the introduction of mobile Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service that enables people without internet connection or debit cards to donate to charitable causes.

Founded in 2015, their main aim is to change lives through collective giving. As such, the startup has successfully raised over ₦7 million towards various causes and charities, within just a year of its launch. Among their successful campaigns, the one that strikes me most is the one of #savekehindeadebiyi. In this campaign, they were able to raise over N1million within 60 days for the young cancer patient, Kehinde.

According to Mr. Ayo Amusa, Co-founder of donate-ng, “donate-ng is on a mission to ease the burden charities and charitable projects face when trying to raise funds and will continue to leverage technology and partnerships like this to make this possible”.

With this new way of doing things, Donate-ng is definitely a startup to watch out for. Visit https://www.donate-ng.com and support a charitable cause.


Dolapo IyunadeMar 15, 2017
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3min

Seedstars, the global organization with the mission of impacting people’s lives in emerging markets through entrepreneurship and technology, launched its fourth edition of the Seedstars World competition in 2016, backed by an international team of 15 members.

They have covered 65+ countries and regions, scouting for the best startups around the world and all 65 finalists have been selected to participate in a three days bootcamp followed by the famous Semi-Finals & Finals. The Seedstars Summit and final ceremony, which is open to public, will take place on April 6th whereby the “Seedstars World Global Winner” will be named and receive up to USD 500’000 in equity investment.

Seedstar Summit

Other sectors such as fintech and edtech will also be rewarded with equity investments and grants. The event is expecting around a thousand entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, corporate executives, business angels, government officials, journalists and startup enthusiasts to join for an amazing experience in Switzerland.

Some of the past winners are Simple Pay Nigeria (2013 winner), Giraffe from South Africa (last year’s winner). This year, Kangpe will be representing Nigeria in Switzerland. Kangpe is a service that allows patients discuss health issues quickly and confidentially with verified doctors 24/7 via SMS, Mobile App or Web within minutes.

Today, there are over 4 billion people without access to the Internet, which in my language means 4 billion potential consumers, opportunities and connected citizens.
– Alisée de Tonnac, CEO Seedstars World.

The underlying theme of the Summit this year will be Billions. The idea is to discuss how technology and entrepreneurship can impact billions of people’s lives. “Today, there are over 4 billion people without access to the Internet, which in my language means 4 billion potential consumers, opportunities and connected citizens. In the next 4 years alone, nearly half a billion people will come online for the first time. Venturing a bit further into the future, by 2020, 8 out of 10 smartphones will be located in emerging markets. Emerging Markets are at the center of the map!”, explains Alisée de Tonnac, CEO Seedstars World.

Watch the recap of the Seedstars Summit 2016 below

 


Paul AdepojuJan 30, 2017
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1min

LoftyInc Capital Management and partners have officially a new $25 million Afropreneur Fund II which focuses on early stage Africa-facing enterprises that leverage technologies to create social impact and tackle big problems. The launch was announced at Africa Diaspora Network’s Annual Investment Symposium, ADIS 2017 held in Silicon Valley, California on Friday January 28, 2017.

The key goal of the  Afropreneur Funds is to leverage these investments for social impact, contributing as much to social change and impact, as to the bottom-line- lifting millions out of poverty, illiteracy, sickness and unemployment.

“Afropreneur Fund 1 is a closed fund, that immediately provides our portfolio a source of critical follow-on funding in their critical phase of growth, while powering innovation across critical social impact sectors including financial integration, bridging the digital divide and under employment gaps, housing and literacy among many others,”LoftyInc said in a statement.


Flora AyodeleJan 27, 2017
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5min

GE recognises the importance of recruiting and retaining the best people. Successful people are like successful ideas. They don’t happen overnight, but need the right environment to reach their full potential. By introducing young talent to the best technologies, GE aims to build, empower and move Africa, and the world forward.

GE’s Early Career Development Programme (ECDP) is delivering exceptional results for young graduates in  Nigeria. The company’s senior leadership recruits young graduates and offers them intensive training and mentorship to improve their experience, skills and confidence in the professional working environment.

GE Africa’s ECDP programme was launched in 2010. It aims to build a pipeline of superior talent across Africa. Young graduates who show high growth potential are put through a gauntlet of intensive training that includes working with company leadership to complete challenging work assignments. The programme is structured to provide the graduates with practical work experience that allows candidates to identify potential areas of growth across all its business divisions

One of the successful candidates, Notey Akpotive says: “I got the  opportunity to have business mentors and I got to go on training. There was a big ‘orientation camp’ and it was really targeted, so you had regular catch-up meetings with both the ECDP and the company. It was so helpful for  someone like me [with very little prior experience in the workplace].”

Since its launch, the ECDP has grown significantly. Ever year it has increased the number of candidates and today it accepts about four a year across the SSA region. The ECDP has provided several young business leaders the opportunity to move into global leadership positions in their career path.

Due to the fast paced and  ever-changing business landscape, GE is constantly adapting the ECDP to help  the candidates get the most relevant and up-to-date experience. In Akpotive’s case, the growth trajectory has been phenomenal. She went from a training intern to an exceptional public speaker and facilitator for Fast Works Every  Day – a specially designed programme that teaches employees the importance of a customer-centric approach to conducting business.

The ECDP plays a pivotal role in  boosting experience levels and expertise in a short space of time. Not only  do graduates have access to permanent employment opportunities within GE, they also improve their chances of growing their careers outside of GE by gaining employment in other companies.

The ideal candidate for the ECDP must be a university graduate with less than two years of work experience. GE wants passionate young people who have demonstrated leadership abilities and who are curious and eager to learn. This is your opportunity to jump-start your future, develop your potential for leadership, build your skills and  take your passion for problem-solving to places you never thought possible.

If you or someone you know are a college or university graduate with an interest in Sales, Finance, Human Resources, Field Service Engineering, Operations, Information Technology, and  more, then do the following:

Click on this link, upload your resume and complete the submission process.

Alternatively, if the ECDP role isn’t open in your country, sign up for job notifications on the website. As soon  as a role you’re interested in is posted, you will receive an email notification.

Image above: Notey Akpotive. Credit: Courtesy GE


Paul AdepojuJan 23, 2017
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2min

New report has shown that the fintech sector received the most backing in 2016, with startups in the space raising a combined US$31.4 million.

On the overall, African tech startups raised funding in excess of US$129 million in 2016, with the number of startups securing funding up by 16.8 per cent compared to the previous year.

According to the DISRUPT AFRICA TECH STARTUPS FUNDING REPORT, 146 startups from across Africa raised US$129,113,200 in funding over the course of 2016. This displays substantial growth in the number of startups to raise funding as compared to the previous year, although the overall total amount of funding recorded declined.

South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya remained the three most popular investment destinations on the continent, accounting for 80.3 per cent of funds secured. Meanwhile, Egypt experienced over 100 per cent growth in fundraising, making it the fourth ranked destination.

“2016 was another great year for African tech startups and investors. Our ecosystem progressed in leaps and bounds over the course of the year, which is evidenced by strong growth in the number of startups raising funding, and an encouraging expansion of ecosystem activity across the continent. We’re excited to present the Disrupt Africa Tech Startups Funding Report 2016, and hope it helps chart the rise of Africa’s entrepreneurs,” said Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Disrupt Africa.

“The general theme of 2016 has been more rounds, but with fewer standout tickets than in 2015. The African tech space has not been immune to the economic pressures faced by other sectors, but it is proving extremely resilient. The fact more startups raised funding in 2016 than ever before demonstrates the vitality of this sector, and we expect investor interest to grow and grow over the course of 2017,” said Tom Jackson, co-founder of Disrupt Africa.


Paul AdepojuJan 19, 2017
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2min

Rocket Internet today announced that through the Rocket Internet Capital Partners fund (RICP), it has on January 18, 2017 successfully held its final closing at the hard cap of USD 1.0 billion dedicated to early stage and growth equity investments in the global Internet sector. This makes it Europe’s largest fund focused on the Internet sector.

The Fund is focused on generating strong returns for investors by investing in market-leading, high growth Internet related businesses. In addition to access to significant financial capital, RICP leverages Rocket Internet SE’s (“Rocket Internet”) sector know-how, regional and operational expertise as well as its deep network, global reach and access to portfolio companies. The Fund provides funding over the lifecycle of high growth Internet businesses.

RICP seeks to invest in key focus areas of the Internet sector including marketplaces,
e-commerce, financial technology, software and travel. RICP received strong backing from a diverse group of global investors, including financial institutions, pension funds, asset managers, foundations and high net worth individuals. Rocket Internet has contributed ca. 14% of the overall commitments.

“RICP having reached the hard cap of USD 1.0 billion shows the strong interest of leading investors, who share the enthusiasm for the attractive investment opportunity RICP presents”, says Oliver Samwer, Rocket Internet’s CEO.

Goldman Sachs International acted as placement agent for the Fund.


Paul AdepojuJan 18, 2017
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This week, the GSM Association (GSMA) released a report on Building Synergies: How Mobile Operators and Start-ups Can Partner for Impact in Emerging Markets and it submitted that a relationship that will be amiable to both parties must be balanced.

Specifically the report suggested that both parties need to benefit from the collaboration for it to make sense and be sustainable.

“Therefore, before going ahead with a partnership, mobile operators and start-ups need to clearly assess their haves and needs, and then use the framework above to identify specific opportunities for collaboration,” the report noted.

The reported revealed that it is important to note that a “have” on one side can fulfil different “needs” on the other side.

“For instance, the innovative and high-impact services a start-up provides can help a mobile operator with customer acquisition and customer retention.”

If presented the example of the partnership between ecommerce giant Jumia and Nigeria’s largest operator MTN as a case study.

“In Nigeria, when eCommerce start-up Jumia offers exclusive discounts to MTN customers, it not only generates new customers on the operator’s side, but also increases the satisfaction and loyalty of its existing customers,”GSMA stated.



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