I had a chance to talk with Kendra Nnachi, Facebook’s Startup and Developer Programs Manager, Nigeria, at the just concluded Fbstart Accelerator Roadshow, which held at the University of Port Harcourt on the 30th of May 2018.
We got to talk in some depth about the Facebook Startup Accelerator program & it’s implications for the Nigerian tech ecosystem.
Kendra Nnachi, the country manager of the program stated that the FbStart Accelerator program was set up to encourage tech innovation in Nigeria and enable the creation of locally relevant deep tech solutions.
According to her, this program is aimed at tech entrepreneurs with non-forming ideas and innovations, in line with a slogan of the program “Crazy ideas are welcome”.
This program is meant to help with developing the research, building and application of these solutions emanating from the Nigerian tech ecosystem.
The Virtual accelerator program, which is aimed at students, aims to select 11 student teams nationwide, from Undergraduate, Masters, & PhD levels. These teams would be given funding of $5k, $10k, $12k respectively.
In addition to this, the teams would have technical support from Facebook engineers while developing their project.
They would also have local mentors, funds and trainings for every stage of their projects, tailor made to suit each team’s needs.
She also stated that the funding is equity free, and the main aim of the accelerator program is to ensure that each team has a viable product; this will prove the talent and potential of developers within Nigeria.
Concerning the partnership with the Ken Saro-Wiwa Hub, she stated that the Hub will serve as local mediator between Facebook’s NG-Hub and local tech talents, giving them the opportunity to access resources which will help develop their skills and innovations.
On the tech Ecosystem in Port-Harcourt, she stated that the city has seen some amazing growth since her last visit, and she was impressed by the large and growing number of young and hungry talents, seeking to develop their skitls.
She further stated that if these local talents were given the support they need, the city of Port-Harcourt should be ready to witness the next African tech explosion.
Speaking on the day’s event she also expressed her admiration for the robust & diverse turnout, with Tech talents of all genders well represented, eager to compete and develop.
The FbStart Accelerator Program was a huge success and I share Kendra Nnachi’s optimism on the future prospects of the Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Rivers State.