Co-creation Hub (CcHUB), the leading social innovation centre in Nigeria, has launched the ‘CcHub Diaspora Challenge’, an international project that will engage entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists from African communities in the UK and source scalable business solutions to social challenges in Africa.
The launch, held at Facebook’s offices in central London last Saturday saw over 300 people meet to hear keynote addresses from CcHub’s Co-founder and CEO, ‘Bosun Tijani and Dr. Nelson Ogunshakin. Also in attendance was Emeka Afigbo, Platform Partnerships, Head of Middle East & Africa, representing Facebook, who supported the event.
They were also joined by Boko Inyundo, Rachel Jenkins, Iyin Aboyeji, Alae Ismail and Ike Anya, who looked at the challenges of connecting African professionals in the Diaspora with improved development on the continent. Nigerian artist Cobhams Asuquo provided entertainment on the day.
The launch kicks off a UK-wide search for early stage ventures that are focused on one of three Thematic Areas; Financial Technology, Energy or Education. A panel of esteemed judges made up of academics, industry experts and investors will select two ventures from each Thematic Area who will go on to receive nine months’ incubation from CcHUB and investment of $15,000 from CcHub. Ventures which are able to demonstrate sustainability and innovation are then each able to access a further $250,000 seed investment from Growth Capital.
Tijani said, “We have long wanted to build stronger tech community connections between the UK and Africa in order to increase Diaspora community involvement. CcHub is a social innovation hub – we innovate and build to address social problems, and we want to facilitate development-focused dialogues and attract the best talent to help us in our mission. The CcHub Diaspora Challenge is the starting pistol to engaging, mentoring, incubating and investing in Africans in the UK who can help ‘build Africa’ alongside us.”
UK-based Africans make up approximately 35% of UK outflow remittances. Although remittances are a noteworthy contribution to Africa’s development, there remain gaps in the Diaspora community contribution to development that needs to be filled. With over 300,000 highly qualified Africans in the Diaspora, and about 10% of which have PhDs, the brain drain occurrence has long been a conundrum and the emigration of African professionals to the West is one of the greatest obstacles to African development. CcHub aims to alleviate the consequences of brain drain by purposefully engaging the Diaspora community, harnessing their intellect and leveraging their network.
Tijani concludes, “The African Diaspora has produced some of the most well known, pioneering entrepreneurs that are currently leading the technological revolution unfolding across the continent. With the CcHub Diaspora Challenge, we are searching for the next Jason Njoku, Sim Shagaya, Ory Okolloh, Bilikiss Adebiyi, Iyin Aboyeji and many more. They are out there, and we hope to find them in the UK over the coming months.”
CcHub is a vibrant community of over 15,200 technologists, entrepreneurs and other forward thinking Nigerians and in its five years, has incubated and provided support to a portfolio of over 55 early stage ventures providing solutions to social problems with technology. In August 2016, the hub was Facebook Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s first port of call when he visited Lagos on his tour of Africa.
The technology hub is the first in Nigeria to serve as an Open Living Lab in which user-driven innovation is fully integrated in the co-creative process of new services, products and societal infrastructures.
CcHUB’s methodology is hinged on engaging a community of progressive stakeholders (end-users, subject matter experts, government agencies, businesses, academics, civil societies etc.) who bring their creativity and knowledge to play in co-creating solutions to social challenges faced by the average Nigerian through our open living labs. The resulting innovations are then supported to become sustainable market solutions by providing proactive business support, advice, mentorship and funding through our pre-incubation & research unit.