For several years, I had always felt that there was no community of technology enthusiasts here in Abuja. I grew up in Lagos, and most of the people in technology that I reach out to, are over there. Getting married, moving to Abuja, and setting up Daydah really put a big distance between me and my pals.
I was lamenting this fact to one of my mentors, Arch. Wole Olabanji the other day, when he asked me if I had heard of Ventures Platform. Imagine my surprise when he told me that Ventures Platform (VP) was actually based in Abuja, not Lagos. He encouraged me to attend their upcoming event, Startup Jam.
I signed up for it, got there really early, then sat back in surprise as the remaining 59 seats in the room got taken in minutes.
There is a technology community in Abuja, a vibrant one at that.
The topic was 'Converting your idea into a Successful Startup', and the two people in the hot seat were Mr. J.J. Omojuwa, and Arch. Wole Olabanji.
They tackled the topic from two different angles: Olabanji proposed three business models to use, and illustrated how he had applied all in different startups he was a part of, while Omojuwa talked about branding from the very beginning, and how he had maintained deliberate focus on his major brand - himself.
The tiny colored slip of paper I had been given at the beginning of the meet-up turned out to be a random selection tool for a surprise pitching session. Six of us were called out to pitch our startups. I was the only female selected.
I got voted out however, and only two startups were left - even I got excited by the two ideas. Both of them were encouraged to share one big challenge they were facing, and we all pitched in to discuss and offer solutions. I even offered to help out with one of them.
All in all, it was fun. I really enjoyed my time, and was one of the last to leave.
I will definitely be attending more Startup Jams in the future.
Were you in the room last October? What lessons did you learn? Will you be there for the November edition?