Scarcity breeds innovation, right? But it takes resourcefulness and an entrepreneurial mind to recognize a gap in society and come up with a solution. This definitely seems to be the case with Nigeria’s young tech savvy entrepreneurs.
The narrative about Africa is changing every single day, driven with the opportunity in a continent of more than 300 million middle class Africans. The promise here is that the entrepreneurial drive we see in young technologists will translate to more African solutions to African problems, and thereby African prosperity.
Mark Essien, a hardware engineer and software developer, has been able to identify a need in Nigeria’s tourism and hospitality industry, and combine his technological skills with business acumen to create Nigeria’s very own “booking.com”. CP-Africa met up with Mark for an interview about his latest venture. With Hotels.com.ng, a hotel listings and reviews sites, Mark offers hotel owners across Nigeria the opportunity to increase their visibility to a growing online customer base, as well as provide these potential clients an easy way to make reservations at their hotels. In most parts of the world this kind of service is often taken for granted. In Nigeria however, with the boom in ownership of smart phones and access to internet, the launch of Hotels.com.ng is timely.
“What inspired me to start the site was not directly a passion for the hotel industry, but rather the observation that there is strong demand for technology products in Africa now, and that this demand is only going to grow.”
Oduntan Odubanjo, is yet another young Nigerian who is tapping into the mobile mania. He is the co-founder of Twinpine, a startup Pan-African mobile advertising network that provides mobile advertising services to brands and corporate businesses. As Oduntan and his company are finding out, they’re not the only players in the market. He shares a key lesson for budding entrepreneurs: carve out your own niche, provide context specific, localized solutions and be prepared to go beyond borders.
“Our knowledge of the market, excellent overall customer services and result-oriented focus also brings satisfaction to our clients.”
He explains his business model to Mfonobong Nsehe, sharing how Twinpine started and where the company is headed. You can read the interview at Forbes.com.
But its not just Nigeria… everyone’s talking about “Africa’s techies”, each with their own twist. If you want to get a more complete picture of what’s happening on the continent, then I suggest you read the different angles presented by African Voices and Global Voices hopes to show the range of Africa’s young technological entrepreneurs. From connecting under-served communities to tracking politicians’ performance, CNN’s African Voices shares these techies’ thoughts on how ICT is re-shaping Africa. Global Voices goes one step further, broadening the scope of tech innovation and entrepreneurship that is brewing in non-English speaking regions of Africa, and sharing outreach actions, from a technological standpoint, that take place in the most isolated areas.