As part of the curated events around the “Geek On A Plane” 500 start-ups tech tour, a press conference held on Monday 20 March at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The press conference brought together members of the press, entrepreneurs, technology experts and some people working in the Nigerian film industry in various capacities who came to engage the Geeks on A Plane curators visiting from the Silicon Valley on a tech tour.
The visit is intended to create interaction and future business linkages between Silicon Valley and Nigeria’s ecosystem.
The Geeks on A Plane are visiting 4 major African cities starting with Lagos Nigeria in a 2 and half-week tour.
On the panel were curators of the tour which comprised of Dave Mclure, Founder 500 Start-ups (500 start-ups have made investments in 6 companies in Nigeria and other 5 across Africa and visited to learn more about the financial ecosystem in Lagos and Nigeria), Chris Burns, senior coordinator for digital development, USAID (He is part of global development lab which aims at bringing innovation technology and partnerships across sector based programmes in developing countries. Currently focused on digital development using tools widely available to entrepreneurs especially the food security programme.), Stephen Ozoigbo, CEO, African Technology Foundation (He planned the event for about 2 years and is burdened with the task of walking the geeks through curated events across Africa. One of the marquee events is Geeks Meet Nollywood, which includes the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) and will take place at an exclusive VIP event the Filmhouse IMAX later today. The spotlight is on the influence of technology on media and entertainment and what can be improved upon.) Monique Woodard, major venture partner 500 Shades, 500 Start-ups a based in silicon valley but investing globally, Jeff Harbach, CEO, Kauffman Fellows. Chioma Ude founder AFRIFF and Gbenga Obadina.
They were targeted questions from the organisers with the first one directed at Dave Mclure the founder of 500 start-ups.
The Geeks were looking to develop new products and services and searching for accelerators, investors and other venture capitalists to have more interest in the African continent and drive more technology, create jobs and of course make money!
They also discussed Smart phone penetration was a rich driver especially with the mobile revolution over the last 6 years. Nigeria seemed to be outpacing other countries in Africa in terms of numbers and use and that for USAID it meant more citizens could be reached directly with their programmes. With 45-65 percent of the people at the grass roots having access to mobile phones, this enables a drive for economic/financial inclusion and brings in the value of locally relevant content. Information could be provided to farmers and sick people thereby hopefully creating possibilities to improve the standards of living. He said USAID sought to maximise the use of technology
There were several questions asked by the press which where centred around how technology could curb piracy and increase income for filmmakers. Several members of the panel contributed answers which pointed to the fact that Nigeria had a very unique structure which had to be studied since there is no one solution to its multi layered and faceted industry.
They were also asked why they came to Nigeria despite the way the country is stereo typically viewed abroad as most of them are visiting for the first time.
They said they are aware of a lot of positive news emerging from the country and they have seen the entrepreneurial hustles of the citizens and they believe in trying things out. They also jocularly said the Nigerian Jollof rice and peppersoup was a major attraction.
The press conference wrapped up after 50 minutes so the Geeks could proceed to the other events they were attending.