Nestled amidst the picturesque hills of Plateau State, the city of Jos has undergone a stunning metamorphosis in recent years, emerging unexpectedly as a vibrant hub for technological innovation and the increasing growth of startups.
Against the backdrop of its serene landscapes, Jos now showcases its remarkable potential in nurturing economic development, fostering creativity, and a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship.
Recently, we see events being hosted by these startups to create awareness, build innovations, and brainstorm on ideas to revive the tech ecosystem in Jos and cause it to thrive. Some examples of these events are, Cresthubs “Founders Mixers Jos” that was held in August, “DevFestJos 2023” to be hosted by Google Developers Group in November , and so on.
In a chat with Cresthub, Mr Bashir Sheidu, COO at nHub said, he thinks the revamp of these startups is as a result of the opportunities and potentials Accelerators and venture capitalists see in the North.
Challenges Faced, and Decline
The trajectory of Jos tech startup landscape resembles a rollercoaster journey, defined by daring early pioneers who envisioned grand possibilities. In bygone times, trailblazers like “InnoTech” and “PixelWave Innovations” paved the way, illuminating the path for others to follow.
In 2019, the Jos Angel Network was launched by nHub in a bid to assist startups and attract more investors. The launch of the network gave opportunities to a few startups, before it eventually went extinct.
Several challenges such as constrained access to funding, inadequate infrastructure, brain drain and a dearth of comprehensive support conspired to impede the upward trajectory of startups, ushering in a phase of decline in funding and financial capacity of these startups.
In comparison to the Jos startup ecosystem, Lagos State has about 194 startups according to sample database, which acclaims 76% of Nigeria’s startups. This goes along way to show that the North has experienced major fall backs especially in securing funds and building VC’s.
“I’m addition to investor bias, the lack of infrastructure in the North has also hindered the growth of the region’s startup ecosystem” said Surrayah Ahmad
Current State and Supportive Ecosystem
The Plateau State Information and Communication Development Agency (PICTDA) launched Code Plateau, an eight months intensive cohort to equip youths with the necessary digital skills needed in the 21st century.
The cohort is a program that prepares talents to take over the tech space with the required skills that would enable them thrive and attract Venture capitals.
Jos now proudly boasts a flourishing community of tech startups, underpinned by an enabling ecosystem that encompasses co-working spaces, innovation hubs, and networking platforms.
Initiatives like the “Jos Innovation Hub” have sowed the seeds for a nurturing milieu where startups can conceive ideas, collaborate seamlessly, and chart their growth trajectories.
Also, with the adoption of the Startup Act by the president in 2022, a number of these setbacks have been resolved.
Strategies for Sustainable Growth
When asked what strategies startups could employ to address decline in funding and sustainability, Mr Bashir said, “Create viable and scalable models that are solving real problems, understand how to properly create, deliver and capture value, integrate business models like the cellular economy for sustainability, be open to criticisms, try to create value tailored to your ecosystem needs, be ready to start small, understand market dynamics and have a minimal viable product”.
By perpetually nurturing innovation, investing ardently in indigenous talent, and adroitly adapting to the evolving currents of market trends, Jos’s startup ecosystem stands poised to ensure sustained long-term growth and viability.
In addition to these strategies, here are some other ideas that can ensure an unceasing resurgence in Jos’s tech startup;
- Incubation and Acceleration Initiatives: Startups are being meticulously nurtured through incubators and accelerators that offer invaluable mentorship, funding, and sagacious guidance, effectively propelling them toward the zenith of success.
- Governmental Incentives: Persistent governmental backing, including tax exemptions and grants for startups, is nurturing a culture of innovation that’s deeply ingrained.
- Networking and Knowledge Exchange: Regular appointments, conferences, and workshops are creating fertile grounds for startups to network, acquire wisdom from industry doyens, and engage in the exchange of visionary ideas. An example is the Lagos startup expo and Code Plateau.
In conclusion, the renaissance of tech startups in Jos, Plateau State, stands as a testimony to the indomitable spirit of resilience, the magic of collaboration, and the guiding light of visionary leadership.
From its modest beginnings to its present stature as a thriving crucible of innovation, Jos serves as a compelling testament to the manner in which unwavering determination, fostering ecosystems, and strategic planning can enhance a profound transformation, propelling a city to the vanguard of innovation and economic advancement.
As the journey advances, the tech pioneers of this city are primed to craft a legacy that reverberates far beyond its undulating hills and serene valleys.