Photo credit: CRESTHUB
“Why are the builders in Jos not building”,Publisher of CRESTHUB Johnpaul Nwobodo, said during his session when he spoke about “Fundraising strategies for Northern Entrepreneurs” at the Devfest 2023 Jos event. Other speakers also reiterated the need for developers in the North to build the tech ecosystem in the city of Jos.
The Google Devfest is the first of its kind I’d attend and my second tech event after being present at the LinkedIn Local event that was held in October 2023.
On getting to the venue of the event, I heard the Google Developer Group(GDG) lead organizer of Jos Devfest, Mr Victor Ajor, urging attendees to stay and build in the tech space. “If you are in tech and you have the passion please remain” he said. He emphasized the importance of passion, advising those in tech not to leave Jos in pursuit of better opportunities elsewhere, as local talents are consistently seeking environments that appreciate their skills.
I took notes of Mr Nwobodo’s session as he expressed his displeasure over the low engagements of tech talents building on the tech space. He emphasized on the low presence of startups and the low funds Northern Nigeria gets compared to the West and other parts of the country. During his presentation, I gleaned insights into the sequential procedures for securing grants, crowdfunding, and funding from Venture Capitalists..
The event featured various guest speakers, including Amina Gamaliel, a UI/UX Researcher and Designer; Paul Umar, a Microsoft EMEA Gold ambassador; Henry Adebayo Marvel, a Flutterwave developer, among others. The audience comprised seasoned developers in diverse fields and newcomers like myself entering the tech space.
What led to Jos Devfest
Devfest Jos, is an annual event that started in 2019. It is a decentralized tech conference for tech-inclined minds which was organized by the Google Developer Groups(GDG) community.
The event is an initiative of the Google Developers Group, it is an annual event that happens not only in Nigeria but also in other countries to allow tech enthusiasts and developers to connect with other developers and google experts. It is an eye opener as to the various opportunities networking offers.
This event seeks to inform and educate young developers and tech talents to build innovations and solidify the tech footprint in the state.
In an interview with CRESTHUB, the Co-Lead, GDG Jos, Loreta Tohomdet said Google Developer Group started in Jos because of the endearing need for this platform in the state and a safe space to connect. “we saw a need for a place where developers can connect, and since we could not get funding on our own, we had to leverage on the Google Developer Group platform” she said.
The major things that stood out for me today were:
- The importance of Prompt engineering in Bard AI: “Effective prompt engineering ensures that AI models produce accurate and relevant outputs” said the Microsoft EMEA Ambassador and AI expert Paul Umar. He spoke on how much this AI can relate and understand humans, and how to get the best of it using context and framing, clarity and specificity, Role based promoting and so on.
- Grants- crowdfunding- Venture Capitals: during the Devfest, the Founder of CRESTHUB and at Adaverse, Johnpaul Nwobodo, spoke on how to come about these different ways of getting funds. He emphasized the need for startups seeking to get funds to start from their local communities, families and friends(grants), or soliciting from other interested investors (crowdfunding), and how to get funding from Venture capitals.
He spoke extensively on how tech talents can make use of core fundraising strategies to raise funds.
According to a report, only about 5.9% of 188 founders in Northern Nigeria have access to VC funding. While Nigeria’s tech ecosystem has experienced tremendous growth, Lagos and startups in the Southwest have benefited more from this growth leaving other parts of the country to struggle in building startups and raising funds.
Startups in Nigeria raised over 20% of the total VC investment in Nigeria and these investments are from foreign and local investors with Lagos-based startups raising most of these funds.
The anticipation of encountering both new faces and prominent figures in the Jos tech ecosystem excited me. Witnessing developers network, exchange ideas, and share stories was a highlight. I’m eager to observe the initiatives that the builders in Jos will embark on following the conclusion of DevFest.