Just recently, 75 hubs across Nigeria came together to launch a unifying body for Nigerian hubs which they call the Innovation Support Network’ (ISN) Hubs.

Based on approval from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), ISN will run as an NGO. The sole objective of this hub is to deepen collaborations amongst hubs and entrepreneurs across the country.

According to a reliable source, the hubs paid a subscription of ₦25,000 ($69) each, to birth the new entity.

“Individually, hubs find it difficult to achieve their goals. Coming together, so far, has given hubs a platform for collaboration, partnerships, exchange programmes. They can also an idea of what is happening in other regions,” says Hanson Johnson, CEO of Uyo-based Start Innovation hub.

This new network is quite commendable. In recent times, Nigerian startups have experienced many challenges coupled with a series of shutdowns. The coming together of these innovation hubs from all over the country will definitely enhance collaboration amongst them. This will equally foster growth.

For Charles Emembolu, founder of Roar Hub, his motivation for joining ISN is its potential to contribute to local growth.

“I believe the ISN structure will enable the development of our own locally brewed innovation templates, frameworks. It will also develop the ability to push forward better-guided government and organization engagement,” he said.

What makes the Innovation Support Network different from other hubs?

ISN comes with a lot of hope from the possibility of fostering collaboration amongst hubs. However, the big questions of whether existing structures do not foster collaboration between these hubs still linger in the air.

In reaction to this, the CEO of Jos-based nHub, Theodore Longji says the Innovation Support Network structure offers a lot more than what was in existence.

What we had previously was perhaps not strong enough in terms of sourcing for funds, opportunities and partnerships for hubs in the entire startup ecosystem.”

Given the number of hubs in the country, it is really hard to say if the majority of them have lived up to the promise. To this note, chief pioneer of ISN, Chukwuemeka Fred, believes for things to work, everyone has to really work together.

“Quite frankly, I assumed that not more than 10 hubs would pay the ₦25,000, but within just two weeks, 75 of them responded to my pleasant surprise,” says Chukwuemeka.

“Many of us playing in this sector believe that Nigeria’s greatest asset is its people. As such, all hands have to be on deck to lift our innovation capacity to such heights as Sweden and South Korea, amongst others,” he added.

These hubs believe that supporting one another with capacity, knowledge, finance, network, etc, is essential. Hopefully, with the coming of the ISN, things might truly begin to look different for hubs.

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