Genesys: More than just another Tech Hub

Over the last two decades, technology has leveraged the internet to create leading solutions that have been adopted all over the world. Nigeria is also adopting technology as a leading solution and moving past the oil and gas and manufacturing era, to cross the threshold into the Tech-Economy era. As a result, Nigeria has seen a myriad of startups bubbling up all across the country, over the past five years. Some of these startups have been able to break through and break-even but a few have also closed up shop along the way due to a list of factors.

The emergence of these startups has also led to the rise of Innovation or Tech hubs in almost every state in the country. Though much can be said about the founders of some of these tech startups and their ability (and inability) for the continued sustenance of their startup, it is still great news for the TechEconomy, as Tech Hubs provide great incubation spaces for young innovators, giving them shared working spaces, access to internet and exposure to the international community and funds. However, there is a huge factor that has not been considered — the tech startup ecosystem in Nigeria is incomplete.

Taking Silicon Valley in the United States as a case study, the interwoven relationship between the hightech business in the bay area and Stanford University, amongst other area universities, creates a healthy symbiosis — ideas and research spilling out of the universities and tech companies incubating these ideas.
Stanford contributed to the development and success of the Silicon Valley as a high-tech area of the United states due to the “its risk-taking culture, student body of Stanford, the culture of giving back, abundant capital, collaboration with industry, and government support.”

The reverse is the case for Nigeria. The education system, left alone, is unable to produce people that can work in standardized environments, let alone people that have brainy ideas. Hence, tech startups work like a silo, different from the higher institutions when the higher institutions should be the fuel for the startup industry to connect the students with enterprises. In an ideal situation, a fresh graduate should be able to create a product, grow it in the incubation stage and the big tech companies buy it, if required.

This gap — the inability to produce equipped young graduates as raw material — can be traced to the outdated curriculum still used by most universities in Nigeria, with the exception of a few. This tells on global impact, as the highest ranked Nigerian University in world University rankings is University of Ibadan, holding a position between 800 and 1000. There’s definitely something we’re doing wrong. This is where Tenecé comes in.

Tenecé Professional services is one of the biggest indigenous tech companies in Nigeria, with an interest in youth empowerment. Tenecé also has the largest market share for school management solutions in Nigeria, especially in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria. There are currently 19 higher institutions using the home-grown proprietary product, School Manager. Hence, it has moved to bridge this raw material gap by taking batches of interns from these schools, each year for the past three years, to groom and train them, by providing the conducive environment much needed. However, Tenecé is actually only able to retain a very small percentage of these interns, a testament that they are selflessly trained to be sent back into the university, and, eventually, the industry, to produce outstanding results.

The idea of Genesys was hatched by Tenecé five years ago, and the three-part first phase is just about to be completed — Genesys Tech Hub, Genesys Ignite and School Manager Workshop. Inasmuch as Tenecé is present to incubate ideas, fund projects as was seen at Genesys Ignite, the ultimate goal is to disrupt the education system in Nigeria.
The interwoven relationship between Tenecé and the higher institutions it manages, gives an added advantage — a foot through the door if you will — for accomplishing the next phase, which is to introduce an updated working curriculum into the higher institutions.

The top executives of these institutions — from the South Eastern and South Western parts of Nigeria — agreed to a summit to hear our proposition, at the first ever Inaugural School Manager Workshop happened August 15th-16th. The aim was to enlighten the executives about the importance of this goal and afterwards, present a world-class curriculum that reflects modern day technological needs. Since the tech companies are more in need of STEM graduates, the focus of this new standardized curriculum is the Sciences, especially Computer Science department. With the cooperation of the Government, Ministry of Education, and the Vice-Chancellors of these schools, the implementation of the curriculum, from the already developed implementation plan, will be smooth-sailing.

This solution will ensure that the disconnect between companies and higher institutions be removed, and these institutions will be able to produce highly equipped fresh graduates that can go to generate outstanding ideas for companies, or go on to create their own jobs.

 

Adaobi Onyeakagbu

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