The Scrounging of Wannapreneurs and the Nigerian confusion

by | Oct 20, 2015

The fast evolution of the Nigerian tech ecosystem of course has been a major brow-raising phenomenon in Africa. The emergence of innovative startups from various tech hubs across Nigeria has a singular advantage of advancing development and innovation in the society but on the other hand, has been an injection of unnecessary exuberance for some individuals to start up a company solving a “trivial problem” or a self acclaimed difficulty.

The use of the word “Wannapreneur” may mean differ depending on the context and viewpoint. Some may define it, as a person who talks about founding an enterprise and never does anything about it. But in this context, it means a person who is creating a solution that is not solving a problem.

At the recent App Circus Lagos held at CcHub, one of the finalists was an app that allows African Facebook users to chat with characters and words that expressed African communicative reflections e.g. happiness, surprise etc.  No offense to the organizers, I’ll ask the same question Ben Ronney asked “is this what the startup revolution has come to- sticker chatter? Seriously? Are you trying to build a million naira company from this? PS: No pessimism intended!

However, there are several serious startups solving real problems e.g. Wecyclers, BudgIT but, its quite unfortunate that a mass of “me too apps or solutions” (how many messenger apps do we need to survive?) tweaked version of existing products (how about a mamalette for dogs, they get pregnant too) airing the Nigerian “technosphere”. In fact, it’s quite unreasonable to waste time, resources, efforts and even emotions to solve a no-problem.

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The concept of entrepreneurship is the latest elegant element that’s glazing the minds of people and it has pushed some to form startups that are solving nothing. This needless urge to create something is just kicking up a rumpus in the ecosystem and of course, when there are too much demand for resources and funds, it will be difficult for good ideas to truly strive.

I remember one of the Hackathons I attended; a particular team worked on something I called, a “modified googleMap” and what this solution was about is just the same thing GoogleMap does, a simple peg-locating system using GoogleMap’s API.  Imagine! The judges did justice to that.

Nonetheless, it is not a crime to make an existing solution better, but to begin racing to the toilet of tech hubs and hacks to pitch an exact replica isn’t innovative.  The tendency of creating solutions is not found in the mentality of joining the bandwagon of founding startups, but in the genuine intuition to solve real problems.

No doubt, there is a real resurgence of entrepreneurial drive in Nigeria and there are a lot of problems yet to be solved. Entrepreneurship is a difficult hike and not a title or badge, and in this journey; failure is somewhat inevitable no wonder people produce what has worked not what can work.  It is worthy of note that, the change in approach to how we develop solution will go a long way in improving the society.

Create a solution that is a solution in every context.

Usman Abiola
Usman Abiola

Usman is an aspiring “DevSigner” and a digital avid. A UXvangelist, he enjoys mixing pixel to create good digital products. He has a cult love for medicine and combat-ready coffee. Graphic developer at GoMyWay Africa

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