CommunitiesDigital InnovationHubs

Digital Innovation Hubs and Their Impact on Local Communities

Digital innovation hubs, also known as co-working spaces, have become a driving force in the Nigerian tech space by providing support and resources to entrepreneurs and start-ups, assisting them bring their ideas to life. They have played a significant role in supporting local communities by providing access to technology and fostering innovation. Examples of these hubs in Nigeria include Akure Tech Hub, The Nest Innovation Technology Park, Aiivon Hub, Edo innovates, Wennovation Hub etc. In this article, we will explore the impact of digital innovation hubs in Nigeria on their local communities.

One of the major impacts of digital innovation hubs in Nigeria is the opportunity they provide for local entrepreneurs and start-ups to access resources and support that would otherwise be out of reach. Many of these hubs offer access to funding, mentorship, and training programs, mostly in the form of accelerators and incubation, all of which can be crucial for early-stage businesses looking to get off the ground. For example, the Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) in Lagos provides prototyping, product development, and business incubation services. In addition to its core services, CcHUB also hosts events and workshops focused on technology and innovation, providing a platform for knowledge sharing and networking.

The support provided by digital innovation hubs can help tech startups develop their ideas and bring them to market. This can have a positive impact on the local community by promoting job creation and economic growth. Start-ups that receive support from innovation hubs are more likely to succeed and create jobs, which can have a ripple effect on the local community. The provision of space for start-ups to flourish can aid in job creation and the stimulation of economic activity. This, in turn, can have a positive impact on the local community, promoting growth and development.

In addition to providing support for tech startups, innovation hubs and accelerators can contribute to the development of a stronger Nigerian tech ecosystem. These organizations can foster collaboration and networking by bringing together tech professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors, thereby contributing to the birth of a vibrant and thriving community of tech professionals in the country. This can lead to the development of new products, services, and technologies that can benefit the local community.

For example, Akure Tech Hub provides co-working spaces, business development, training, and mentorship services to entrepreneurs and start-ups which promotes collaboration. The Nest Hub also provides similar services. These organizations help support various startups and entrepreneurs in their respective locations, assisting them in turning their ideas into successful businesses.

Digital innovation hubs can also help bridge the digital divide by providing access to technology tools and co-working spaces to underserved communities. Many of these hubs offer internet access, computers, and other technology resources to entrepreneurs, students, and other members of the community. This can help to level the playing field and provide opportunities for individuals and communities that may otherwise be left behind.

In conclusion, digital innovation hubs in Nigeria are having a significant impact on their local communities. By providing support and resources for entrepreneurs, driving economic development, and fostering collaboration and networking, these hubs are helping to shape the future of Nigeria’s tech space. They are helping to create jobs, promote economic growth, and bridge the digital divide. As the tech space in Nigeria continues to evolve, digital innovation hubs will also evolve to keep meeting the needs of Nigeria’s innovation Ecosystem.

AfriConEU

TRANS-CONTINENTAL PARTNERSHIPS: AfriConEU Project – Enabling and Empowering the African Innovation Ecosystem Through Digital Innovation Hubs.

Digital innovation has become an increasingly important driver for Africa’s social and economic development in past few years. Digital technologies are providing solutions to the region’s pressing social concerns while also opening diverse new business opportunities.
The AfriConEU is an Horizon 2020 project centered around the improvement and creation of sustainable strategies to include partnerships between African and European Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) to foster digital growth and economic development through the establishment of a Trans-Continental Networking Academy for capacity building, information sharing, networking collaborations, joint projects, and venture development. This project would strengthen African DIHs’ ability to expedite the economy’s digital transformation.
The AfriConEU Project is set to achieve this goal by developing, testing, and validating a mechanism to share learnings, best practices, experiences, and resources between DIHs in Africa and the European Union (EU) in a way that is aggregated, easy to understand, replicable and self-sustaining. This Networking Academy, envisioned to empower both African and European Innovation Ecosystem will build local industries, boost innovation ecosystems, support the scale-up of African start-ups and empower the youth population with the necessary skills to thrive in a digitalized world.
Implementation of the Academy will be through the creation of an online multi-actor community (the AfriConEU Community) to facilitate dialogue, experience sharing, and collaboration between stakeholders from both continents. Eleven Partners across both continents on the project includes; Inova+ Innovation Services, SA (Portugal), Emerging Communities Tech-Up Organization (Nigeria), Youthmakers Hub Astiki Mi Kerdoskopiki Etaireia (Greece), Associacao Porto Business School-U.Porto (Portugal), Outbox U Ltd (Uganda), Dpixel SRL (Italy), Stimmuli for Social Change (Greece), ITC-Inovacijsko Tehnoloski Grozd Murska Sohota (Slovenia), Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (Tanzania), Africa Technology Business Network C.I.C (United Kingdom), HapaFoundation (Ghana).
Deliverables have been divided into various parts like: Context and State of the Art Analysis, Development of the AfriConEU Networking Academy, Roll out implementation and assessment, Community development and results uptake, e.t.c.
Emerging Communities Africa (ECA), Nigeria – a non-profit organization focused on catalyzing technology development to solve problems in underserved communities, leads the Stakeholder Engagement segment as part of Phase 4 of the project, which is the implementation and assessment phase. Focus will be on design of engagement strategies, and it is expected to run from January – April 2022 with series of engagement activities within this timeline. These activities will be performed in Akure (Nigeria), (as well as Kampala, Kumasi, and Tanzania respectively) with the aim of gathering local ecosystem actors to inform them about the Academy’s proposed resources and activities.
The first activity of these series of engagements will commence with a virtual Pre-Stakeholder’s Engagement targeted at key stakeholders in the Nigerian Innovation Ecosystem -Academia, Private Sector and Government to share knowledge and chart a path for fostering collaboration between DIH in Africa and Europe.
Predominantly, this project will enhance and foster insightful collaborative activities tailored towards knowledge sharing and Partnership Development programmes of the AfriConEU Networking Academy whilst strengthening the digital innovation ecosystem in Africa.

To learn more and stay updated on the AfriConEU Project;
Follow @africoneu on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, visit https://africoneu.eu/
Contact person: Executive Director, Emerging Communities Africa, Miss Peace Odili
Email: info@emergingcommunities.africa , website: emergingcommunities.africa/

Uncategorized

Moji Temowo, Third Place Winner of Essay Competition in Celebration of International Women’s Day.

GENDER EQUALITY IN TECH FROM A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE. By Mojitemowo

Achieving gender equality in the society, in the workplace, the family, even in the religious settings, has been a tough, but rewarding challenge. Changes have been seen, progress have been made and it shows in our daily lives. It shows when a see women being respected as a person, married or not, mother or not. It shows when the things that used to define a woman changed from being seen from the perspective of the man she was with, to being seen from the perspective of the woman herself. How smart she is, how valuable her inputs her, how intelligent are opinions sound. It shows, and the progress has been rewarding.
Unfortunately, this progress has not extended towards some certain areas, like Technology. Though over the years, the technology sector have seen considerable growth when it comes to gender equality,but it is still not enough.
Study shows that there are more percentage of women who study technology than there are of women who work in technology. Meaning these women study technology courses in school for years, are well versed in it and supposedly knowledgeable, but they do not put this knowledge to work. Apparently, the notion of work in tech does not jibe with the ‘responsibilities’ of a woman in her home. Working in Tech requires a certain degree of hands-on when it comes to practical experimentation of a product, which also happens to be frequently, and the average woman- by society’s standards- should be busy for an average of 80 percent of her day, doing house chores. Socially, women are the caretakers of a home,and they ensure the home is a warm and safe place for the whole family. Socially, women just wouldn’t have adequate enough time on their hands to work in Tech.
Normally, in the grand scheme of things, this grave miscalculation does not affect a lot, enough to shakethe balance of the whole world. But, I assure you, in twenty years or so, it will come to be. The overlooking of women not being enough in the technology sector will eventually become a national issue, because while men in technology suffice for now, it won’t be long before fresh perspectives and sets of eyes would be massively required of technology. And then, maybe the existing issues in technology would have to be visited. But why not visit them now?
Pay Gap. While there is a vast difference in the gender percentage in technology, there are still those who defy societal construct and these are the women whom we see in technology today; working, learning, expanding and earning from technology. And like almost every other sector in the development industry, they also have issues that need to be addressed. For example, the issue of the pay gap between the two genders, sorry, ‘the issue of vast pay gap between the two genders’. Leaving all facts and figures aside, it is barbaric that a person be receiving more pay check than another, in the same department, where these two people are assigned the same roles, given almost the same amount of responsibilities, but yet are paid differently. And even more unacceptable, are the reasons given for this difference in pay; men have more monetary responsibilities than women, men deserve the e.g. labor day bonus more because they are the breadwinners of the family. It doesn’t need a lot of explanation to explain just how wrong these notions are, and the evidence are all around to amount to the same conclusion. Women are more existential in providing for the family than men these days Roles. Another grave misstep made in technology is in assuming there are some specific roles deemed fit for men only. Diversification is something the tech sector definitely lacks. When some certain roles are being seen as ‘men only’, such roles become repetitive, they don’t receive enough creativity as they should, they become like a plant that is placed under a shed hence not awarding it enough sunlight. All such role may be lacking is gender-based freshness, the way a woman will see something might just differ, very vastly, from the way a man sees it. And of course, the notion that because of the responsibilities at home, women need to be assigned less practical roles in technology, needs to be dispelled. Let that woman on the field, see what she does. Interest. Most times, the interest of women in technology are misplaced because they have been modelled into a box due to the roles they have been assigned based on assumptions made by thegeneral public. So many conclusions. So many conclusions that it hurts the real interest of a woman in technology, not very woman wants to be in development of ideas department, some want to be in the building of sad ideas, they want to be involved in the nitty-gritty of it all. Men can’t do it all. One would think by now, that fact would be an established one, but sadly, that’s not the case. For sustainable development, for improvement that we can actually see and progress that is tangible in our society, we need to revise the gender biased culture that have taken place in the technology sector. We need to diversify, equalize and respect the gender equilibrium in tech. Women are interested in technology, we want to be recognised in it, by it and through it, we went to school for it, didn’t we? We as a society need to not let the education of technology be the last step in a woman’s journey in the tech world.

Uncategorized

Bello Kafayat Sade, Second Place Winner of Essay Competition in Celebration of International Women’s Day.

Bello Kafayat Sade, Second Place Winner of Essay Competition in Celebration of International Women’s Day.

GENDER EQUALITY IN TECH FROM A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE. By Bello Kafayat Sade

Gender equality is when people of all genders have equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities.

Gender equality is a human right, but our world faces a persistent gap in access to opportunities and decision-making power for women and men.
Globally, women have fewer opportunities for economic participation than men, less access to basic and higher education, greater health and safety risks, and less political representation.
Guaranteeing the rights of women and giving them opportunities to reach their full potential is critical not only for attaining gender equality, but also for meeting a wide range of international development goals. Empowered women and girls contribute to the health and productivity of their families, communities, and countries, creating a ripple effect that benefits everyone.
The word gender describes the socially-constructed roles and responsibilities that societies consider appropriate for men and women. (Source) Gender equality means that men and women have equal power and equal opportunities for financial independence, education, and personal development.(Source) Women’s empowerment is a critical aspect of achieving gender equality. It includes increasing a woman’s sense of self-worth, her decision-making power, her access to opportunities and resources, her power The gender pay gap measures the difference between the average earnings of women and men in the workforce.

The gender pay gap is an internationally established measure of women’s position in the economy in comparison to men. The gender pay gap is the result of the social and economic factors that combine to reduce women’s earning capacity over their lifetime.
Closing the gender pay gap goes beyond just ensuring equal pay. It requires cultural change to remove the barriers to the full and equal participation of women in the workforce.

What it is not:
It is not the difference between two people being paid differently for work of the same or comparable value, which is unlawful. This is called unequal pay. Equal Pay is when men and women receive equal
pay for work of equal or comparable value. In practical terms, this means that: men and women performing the same work are paid the same amount men and women performing different work of equal or comparable value are paid the same amount.
Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data both show a gender pay gap favouring full-time working men over full-time working women in Australia.
The gender pay gap often starts when women first enter the workforce. A combination of factors affect women’s lifetime economic security and makes it likely that over a lifetime women will earn less than men, be less likely to advance their careers as far as men, and accumulate less superannuation and savings than men, and will therefore be more likely to live in poverty in old age.
What drives the gender pay gap?
The gap between women’s and men’s earnings is a symptom of a broader cultural problem in workplaces. It reflects the historic and systemic undervaluing of women’s workplace contributions and the significant barriers that lead to the under-representation of women in senior executive and management roles.

The gender pay gap is influenced by a number of factors, including:
conscious and unconscious discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions women and men working in different industries and different jobs, with female-dominated industries and jobs attracting lower wages lack of workplace flexibility to accommodate caring and other responsibilities, especially in senior roles high rates of part-time work for women women’s greater time out of the workforce for caring responsibilities impacting career progression and opportunities.
The benefits of gender equality Everyone benefits from gender equality.
Gender equality helps prevent violence against women and girls and makes our communities safer and healthier. It is a human right and it is good for the economy.

Gender equality prevents violence against women and girls Gender inequality is a root cause of violence against women. The four main drivers of violence against women are:
condoning violence against women men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence rigid gender roles and stereotypes male relationships that emphasise aggression and disrespect towards women The best way to prevent violence against women is to promote gender equality.
Gender equality is good for the economy Every day that we fail to deliver gender equality, we pay the price.

GDP would increase by 11% if the gender employment gap was closed. The Australian economy would gain $8 billion if women transitioned from tertiary education into the workforce at the same rate as men. Businesses with at least 30% women in leadership positions are 15% more profitable. Family violence costs the Victorian economy more than $3.4 billion a year and takes up 40% of police work.
Consequently, it is asserted that gender equality is both a human rights issue and a precondition for, and indicator of, sustainable development. It is also affirmed that gender disparity is prevalent across the cultures of the world and that without serious steps to tackle it, sustainable development cannot be achieved. Furthermore, UN Women rightly outlined that to create a just and sustainable world and to enhance women’s roles in sustaining their families and communities, achieving gender equality is paramount. On the other hand, if gender equality is not maintained, it will retard the country’s development. In line with this idea, Stevens (2010) interestingly underlines that “an increasing number of studies indicate that gender inequalities are extracting high economic costs and leading to social inequities and environmental degradation around the world.”
Therefore, one can understand from such explanations that without the equal inclusion of women in all areas of development initiatives, all the above-mentioned components of sustainable development cannot be achieved. However, gender inequalities across economic, social and environmental dimensions remain widespread and persistent Ethiopia’s case is also very much apparent. Being cognizant of the negative effects of the prevailing gender disparity, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development affirmed that “any development initiative has to engage and ensure that both men and women contribute and benefit equally from it.” The researcher, being firmly convinced by this assumption, further argues that women should be empowered and equally allowed to contribute to and benefit from all dimensions of development so as to bring about sustainability.

Uncategorized

Odeyemi Iyanu Victoria, First Place Winner of Essay Competition in Celebration of International Women’s Day.

Odeyemi Iyanu Victoria, First Place Winner of Essay Competition in Celebration of International Women’s Day.

GENDER EQUALITY IN TECH FROM A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE By Odeyemi Iyanu Victoria

What is Gender equality?
Gender equality is the state of equal ease of access to resources, including economic participation and decision-making, and the state of valuing different behaviors, aspirations and needs equally, regardless of gender.

Globally, 750 million women and girls were married before the age of 18 and at least 200 million women and girls in 30 countries have undergone FGM (female gender mutilation).In some countries, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working, daughters and sons do not have equal inheritance rights. There is noactive law protecting women from domestic violence. While women have made important inroads into political office across the world, their representation in national parliaments at 23.7 percent is still far from parity.

Women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership, and 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 report experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period.

The gender pay gap continues to be a regular staple of the news agenda .However, research has shown that there are reasons why the gender pay gap exists.
1) Caring responsibilities and part-time roles are shared unequally: Here, the argument is that women ‘choose’ to care for children, so they naturally end up in part-time jobs, below their skill levels, and with fewer progression opportunities.
SOLUTION: CREATE QUALITY FLEXIBLE JOBS THAT ALLOW WOMEN AND MEN TO BALANCE AMBITION WITH CARING RESPONSIBILITIES
2) There are more men in senior roles than women: At the heart of the problem is an assumption that senior jobs ‘naturally’ require long hours and constantavailability, and so cannot be done flexibly or part-time. This is largely due to the 1950s pattern of men going out to work and women being at home to support them enabling men to focus on work to the exclusion of everything else in life. And it has been exacerbated in many sectors by globalization and always-on technology, which have extended the working day to 10 or 12 hours.
SOLUTION: DESIGN SENIOR ROLES TO WORK FOR ALL.

There are also other barriers keeping women from accessing the top management level, which basically reflect some general psychological differences between the two genders .As women are more emotionally driven than men, they tend not to act in an authoritarian manner, and in many cases, it is hard for them to use imperatives and to show disapproval, when it is the case.
Gender role expectations may have an impact on underachievement and creativity.”Just when women are most likely to need sponsorship as they shoot for the highest-level jobs, they may be least likely to get it. They’re still viewed as “risky” appointments” .Gender perceptions may influence women’s ascent to senior positions as women are perceived as worse scientific leaders and are stereotyped as not possessing the innate talent that is required in some fields .On average, letters for men are 16% longer than letters for women and letters for women are 2.5x as likely to make a minimal assurance (‘she can do the job’) rather than a ringing endorsement (‘she is the best for the job’).

How then do we avoid gender bias in view of recommendation??
-Keep it professional.
-Be careful raising doubt.
-Stay away from stereotypes.
-Emphasize accomplishments.
-Make research not based on assumption.

A common example of implicit bias is favoring or being more receptive to familiar-sounding names than those from other cultural groups. Implicit bias doesn’t mean that inclusivity is not one of our values. It means that we are not aware of how our own implicit bias can impact our actions and decisions.
In conclusion I’d say: Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation or a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

Uncategorized

AfriconEU Projects Kicks Off

3 mins Read

AfriConEU is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 101016687. It is the first Trans-continental Networking Academy for African and European Digital Innovation Hubs to support African and European DIHs in capacity building, knowledge sharing, networking, collaboration, joint projects, and venture development. The Consortium launched the project on the 1st of February 2021, and it will last for 36 months until the 31st of January 2024.

AfriConEU is being implemented by eleven partners representing Digital Innovation Hubs, Universities, Consultancies, and Civil Society Organizations from five European and four African countries. The project is coordinated by INOVA+, Portugal and the partners are Emerging Communities Africa (ECA), Nigeria; Youthmakers Hub (YMH), Greece; ASSOCIAÇÃO PORTO BUSINESS SCHOOL (PBS), Portugal; OUTBOX (U) LIMITED, Uganda; DPIXEL SRL (dpixel), Italy; STIMMULI FOR SOCIAL CHANGE (Stimmuli), Greece; INOVACIJSKO TEHNOLOSKI GROZD MURSKASOBOTA (ITC), Slovenia; Buni Innovation Hub, Tanzania; Africa Technology Business Network (ATBN), the United Kingdom, and Hapa Space, Ghana.

The project essentially strengthens the digital innovation ecosystems in Africa by targeting existing Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) and supporting them through capacity building and networking activities. African DIHs are playing a central role in the development of digital entrepreneurship. By raising their capacities to tackle the challenges, they will be more effective in driving digital innovation forward. The project will develop, test, and validate the AfriConEU Networking Academy, an innovative mechanism for connecting and sharing best practices, experiences, and resources between DIHs in Africa and between DIHs in Africa and the EU, in a comprehensive, replicable, and self- sustaining way. In perfect alignment with the Africa-Europe Alliance goals, the AfriConEU project aims to enhance the capacity of African DIHs to accelerate the digital transformation of the African economy and society. The AfriConEU project adopts a Community of Practice approach. It combines it with Collaborative Design Techniques to bring together key stakeholders from both continents and engage them in the co-creation of the flagship programmes and the sub-programs of the AfriConEU Networking Academy. Through two flagship programmes, the AfriConEU Networking Academy will empower and enable African DIHs to best serve their local industry, boost their Startup ecosystem and empower the youth population with the necessary skills to thrive in a digitalized world. The main objective of the project is to develop the first Networking Academy between African and European DIHs with the aim to:

  1. facilitate knowledge and experience sharing,
  2. drive the development of mutually beneficial partnerships, and
  3. support the creation of collective projects to boost the digital economy, empoweringyouth and women and fostering innovation and growth.

To start with, AfriConEU’s s kick-off meeting took place on the 9th of February, digitally, due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The Project partners exchanged details regarding the Work Packages assigned to each of them and they discussed the future steps of the project. Moreover, the Consortium interacted with the European Commission’s representatives and discussed the future steps. The EU Representatives from DG DEVCO, DG Growth, and DG Research provided insights on ongoing initiatives. The partners attended presentations on current EU initiatives in Africa to create synergies

and use the results developed in these projects’ framework.

It has been decided that a meeting will take place once a month to monitor the project’s progress with the active participation of all team members of the Consortium. Moreover, AfriConEU’s partners organized online meetings with initiatives funded under the same call of Horizon 2020 to expand the project’s network and discuss future synergies. More specifically, a call with the DIGILOGIC project took place virtually on the 30th of March 2021 and a call with the HUBiquitous project took place on the 15th of April 2021. One of AfriConEU’s milestones so far was the successful participation in the Emerging Valley Online Edition on the 7th and 8th of April 2021. The partners interacted with the event’s speakers, Start-ups, Tech Hubs, and Investors from Africa and Europe. The event has been of great importance, as it allowed the project to more efficiently be communicated, solidify its position in a dynamic network, and, more importantly, become part of a new, innovative business ecosystem.

AfriConEU will launch research, coordinated by ATBN, to map and analyze the digital innovation ecosystems in Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, and Tanzania to get a deep understanding of the different stakeholders, challenges, and opportunities on the ground. Roundtables discussions have already been planned in Ghana and Uganda in April and May 2021, accordingly.

You can follow the future developments of AfriConEU on its Website, or simply by subscribing to the Newsletter. Very interesting content and events will follow. Suppose you are a Digital Innovation Hub, an Entrepreneur, an Investor, an Institution in the field of digital skills, or any other Stakeholder interested in taking part at some stage of the project. In that case, you can contact our team at africoneu@inova.business.