West Africa

Startups: Tunji Eleso

Tunji Eleso on the idea behind Co-Creation Hub and the future of this platform promoting African startups 

Olivia Cuthbert
Thomas Imo

Tunji Eleso (41), managing partner at Co-Creation Hub in Lagos, Nigeria​

Tunji Eleso (41), Managing-Partner des Wachstumskapitalfonds des Co-Creation Hub in Lagos, Nigeria

“When my colleagues Bosun Tijani and Femi Longe came up with the idea to start the hub in 2008, the thinking was pretty simple. Having lived abroad, we’d seen the way people address challenges together rather than waiting for the government. We wanted to solve problems using technology and get solutions into the hands of the people. The hub supports startups at different stages of incubation, providing an open living lab where entrepreneurs can bring their ideas into being surrounded by the tools they need. GIZ has given us the opportunity to extend our support to startups we wouldn’t normally have had the capacity to work with, focusing on 13 promising young companies and nurturing them through an acceleration and mentorship programme to transform their enterprise into an investor-ready business. A lot of these companies have since gone on to bigger things and are already bringing in revenue. It’s great to have access to GIZ’s expertise and combine this with our experience on the ground to add value to startups finding ways to address issues in health, agriculture, transport and finance, as well as new areas like fintech. There are a lot of hurdles out there for entrepreneurs and we’re trying to ensure that the ecosystem is strong enough to support them, whether that’s providing mentors, enabling access to market, finding funding opportunities or simply being able to connect with the right kind of partners. When Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, came to Nigeria in 2016, the Co-Creation Hub was his first place he visited, which said a lot for the work we’ve done and the impact it’s had on society. It was a huge validation and reinforced our conviction that the next generation of African kids won’t just be consumers of technology, they can become its creators.”

More voices:

Jan Schwaab

Debu Odulana

Edmond Nonie

Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu

January 2019

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