Techies will argue that life depends on what they are passionate about. They say this is the information age, and life as we know it will be impossible without their love to innovate and share with us, the masses. While I will normally roll my eyes at such a claim, I must say I was infected by the virus this weekend in Kaduna.
The event lasted three days with various activities including a startup clinic, hackathon series, various panel discussions, a women-in-tech session, straight talks, pep talks, pitches, various speeches of goodwill and support from SMEDAN, Bank of Industry, Kaduna State Government, Nigerian Export Import Bank, Microsoft, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Jaiz Bank, MTN Nigeria, and many more.
It was absolutely amazing to see what these young men and women came up with in a matter of minutes and hours. The passion in their voice, the twinkle in their eyes, and the spring in their steps as they deliberated and proffered effective solutions to what they believed where the problems of the agricultural value chain in the state was such a joy to witness.
But I had no idea I was about to be floored. The next day, I was honored to moderate the panel for the women. Yes, you read right. There are women in tech, arewa women in tech, doing some really really awesome things too, if I might add.
From Dr Amina Sambo who is a researcher in artificial intelligence, a lady with almost two decades of experience in ICT, to Maryam Lawan Gwadabe, CEO Blue sapphire, Kano, who stole my heart with this statement, “women actually should be leading tech because it is one sector that affords you the opportunity to do so much while sitting in your home”, she told of how she switched to catering for women when she realized her training classes will only have one girl in a class of 40-50 students.
I was also very impressed with Nasira Zubairu, she is living the boss life, with her love for designing apps that are solution driven, she is any serious SME owner’s dream, creating accounting, HR, and general finance apps. Her company also does total branding, and provides packaging solutions. Then there was Hajiya Halima Idris, the SA on creative arts development to the Kaduna state governor, she spoke passionately about the need to encourage our women and youths to harness their creative potential and provide an umbrella that will mentor, package and showcase them to the world.
CEO, Jaruma Magazine, Bara’atu Nasidi was the cherry on the cake, as she spoke highly of tech, and how it has been the vehicle for her platform, and how she has been able to expand her reach and impact due to her decision to run an online magazine for the modern arewa woman.
I salute the startup arewa team for investing time and resources into streamlining this sector, and making it a favorable competitive ground. The numbers and enthusiasm in Kaduna has shown that this was like hot lava bubbling under the surface, and with the mentoring and direction of Emerge Tech Africa and Network of Incubators & Innovators in Nigeria (NIINE), our arewa techies burst to the surface like the volcano, and they will soon dominate the sector.
I look forward to the opportunities the organizing team will provide to these techies, and the innovative solutions they will create. I look forward to more women like the ones I saw in Kaduna being highlighted and celebrated as the startup arewa train continues it’s sojourn, but most importantly, I look forward to arewa youths rising up, and showing they have what it takes to change our world, and Kaduna showed up!