Jos is a small city in northern Nigeria, occasionally affected by Boko Haram violence and with a population of less than one million people. Hardly the likely scene of a vibrant tech ecosystem, you might think.
That is not stopping new innovation hub nHub Nigeria from embarking on a mission to establish the city as one of Africa’s main tech outsourcing hubs, however. Launched in September last year by Daser David and Hyginus Miskoom, the hub is looking to create a vibrant tech ecosystem in the northern part of Nigeria as a counterbalance to generally negative news.
“There was no single tech hub in the north to give the tech story of northern Nigeria aside from the negative news the media has been carrying around. We know there are amazing developers in northern Nigeria doing amazing things,” David told Disrupt Africa.
David was initially working on building a tech ecosystem in Abuja, but realised the lifestyle in the Nigerian capital was less than ideal for developing products.
“Everyone is busy making money, the traffic congestion is much like Lagos, the weather is too hot, and the expensive nature of the town wasn’t favouring innovation. So I moved to Jos.”
David helped organise HackJos in March, the first hackathon in northern Nigeria and one that gained support from the likes of Hotels.ng and Andela. The event was a success and inspired David to launch nHub. He said the relatively low temperatures in Jos, alongside smaller traffic levels, lower cost of living and a good geographical landscape made it an ideal base for a tech outsourcing hub.
“We believe that products can be easily and cheaply built in Jos. A techpreneur can take a three-week trip to Jos, to nHub, to have his product developed, before shipping to Lagos or Abuja where the marketplaces are,” Dabid said.
“Instead of people paying all those solo developers who end up disappointing, they come to nHub, spend a few weeks, and get their MVP or full product.”
nHub is currently in the process of training techies to join the growing tech ecosystem in Jos.
“Developers can also take out time to come down to Jos to mingle and connect with our developers, to upgrade their skills in a full immersion programme we are offering,” David said.
“Companies can also send down their developers to come and upgrade their skills and teamwork performance. In essence, we offer training in our nHub Academy to any individual or company that wants to upgrade their development skills.”
The hub is currently self funded, making revenues from the nHub Academy.
“A lot of people are traveling to the hub for training. Organisations are sending their teams also to be trained. We needed this to keep the ball rolling while we work on achieving our objectives in the long run,” David said.
“Once we are able to establish a vibrant ecosystem, we will become sustainable from startups and tech companies paying the hub to have their jobs done, as well as providing developers on a hire basis. We also see nHub as an accelerator with interest in stock options.”