Ibuomi Abibo is a developer with Prairie View University, Texas and holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science, a Masters degree in Software development and is currently pursuing an MBA at Prairie View University. Chatting with Akelachi Kejeh, Ibuomi shares his views on tech and it’s application, going global as a local startup and the Nigerian tech space, from the perspective of a diasporan.
Techative: What are your thoughts on the Nigerian tech and startup space?
Ibuomi: My experience with the ecosystem was when I attended Startup Sunday in Port Harcourt in 2015. I was very impressed by the meetup and how the community was growing organically. I was also super impressed by the people I met at the meetup.
Techative: What should be done to strengthen the ecosystem?
Ibuomi: Strength comes from the ground up. A person has to be firm footed to be able to lift others up. So I’d say the way the community is moving now- organically- is best.
There’s also the need to engage with other stakeholders like government and older individuals. I mention older individuals because they are potential users that we usually neglect because it might be more difficult for them to adopt your technology. But if they are properly carried along, they would add value to the ecosystem and they are also potential investors.
Techative: Do you really think digital skills can really be a pathway to solving our unemployment problem as a country?
Ibuomi: Yes, it can be done. Especially when these skills are utilised for local economy…
Techative: (chips in)… but the local audience can hardly afford to pay these guys their worth?
Ibuomi: Understanding the state of the economy and the primary need to survive and pay certain bills, outsourcing your skill is okay. But there should be a balance. Use your skills to also improve the livelihood of the community thereby adding value to local economy. Look at India for example, loads for skilled talents but still a third world nation.
Techative: What do foreign investors want to see from African startups?
Ibuomi: Africa has a ton of natural resources and we might not know it until we step out of our backyard then you can begin to value what you have.
For foreign VC’s you need to show how you’re adding value to your local lifestyle. How are you using tech for your culture? How are you utilising your skill sets (human, technical etc) to improve where you stand?
Using technology to ease the local lifestyle, strengthen culture, simplifying existing activities – Agric, retail, transportation etc. Let your technology nurture your nature and the people have the knowledge of why this technology is so important.
This increases your value to foreign investors.
Techative: How can startups successfully move from local to global?
Ibuomi: Number one is to keep working at it. Number two, partner with diaspora. Partner with government as well. I know sometimes there’s a lot of cynicism and adversity in dealing with government but if government and local audiences can champion what you do, that’s great. Then you can use social media to ride on existing acceptance to make it global.
Techative: Any projects you’ve worked on/working on?
Ibuomi: Yeah, I created Roomies, an apartment finder for colleges but currently working on GreenPrints. It’s far from finished but it’s basically about using technology to drive sustainability in every sector in line with the SDG goals.
Techative: So how are you able to balance it all- work, MBA and personal projects?
Ibuomi: Passion will keep you doing what you do. Although I have to say, at some point I put off school for a while but that’s back on track.
Techative: Thank you for taking out your time to chat and share your knowledge.
Ibuomi: My pleasure.