Over the last few decades, the city of Lagos, located in Nigeria and home to no less than 425 different startup companies, has developed a reputation for being one of the most important centers for innovation and entrepreneurship in all of Africa. Nevertheless, one state, in particular, has established itself as a center of innovation among young people over this period.
Ekiti State, located in the country’s southwestern region and best known for its verdant foliage, rolling hills, and waterfalls, is well on its way to becoming one of the largest homes for young entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This state can be found in the southwestern region of the country.
Here, young people are using the power of technology to solve some of the most critical problems in the area and give its inhabitants new ways to make money.
Adetunji Abayomi Adeolu is one such young pioneer. Abayomi grew up in Ado-Ekiti, and he helped found a company called RISE (Rice Inventory Storage & Exchange).
Rice farmers and processors working on a smaller scale now have access to a commodities storage and inventory management system, making it simpler and more lucrative for them to engage in commercial trading.
After working in the region’s rice trading and processing industry, Abayomi and his Co-Founder, Bayo Ayodele, came up with the idea for the company.
Here, they found that small-scale farmers often had trouble selling their crops at reasonable prices, let alone all year, because rice farming was seasonal and supply and demand changed constantly.
Without rice, rice processors couldn’t make rice goods that could be sold in stores. So, Abayomi and Ayodele worked together to discover a way out.
After researching and talking for a few weeks, the two came up with the idea for RISE and started working on making it happen.
This led the team to join the “youth innovation support program” of Global Alliance Africa. They learned how to run a business and market their idea to investors there.
Abayomi strives to grow his firm and take it to other parts of Nigeria. He wants to make the rice supply and value chains more financially stable.
Even though there are problems, he feels that youth ideas like his can play a big part in giving his society more chances.
Emmanuel Folorunso, who is 27 years old and the Creative Director of TechHead Nigeria, is another young inventor making a splash in Ekiti State.
Folorunso first had the notion after he concluded his university studies in mechatronics.
He wasn’t interested in the available occupations, so he enrolled in an AI program at the University of Texas in Austin. There, he became fascinated by how AI was being utilized to change industries worldwide.
Folorunso started TechHead Nigeria to bring technology’s benefits into people’s homes and make their lives easier.
He thinks AI has the potential to open up a world of possibilities, from automated entertainment to machine-learning cooking in your kitchen.
But Folorunso says that although technology is moving quickly, people have been slower than expected to employ AI at home.
So, he is now trying to get money for his idea, which is how he found out about Global Alliance Africa and the “youth innovation support program.”
Folorunsho is sure his pitching skills will get him an investment in the coming months now that he has been trained.
Young people are also creating changes in the health sector of Ekiti State. For example, The Health City wants to ensure everyone can access reliable information to help their mental and physical health.
The startup, which Olatunbosun Mobolaji started, wants to develop a community of young people where problems that may be prevented are treated before they become significant health risks.
Mobolaji started The Health City after realizing that two out of every five young Nigerians don’t have access to reliable information about their health, especially in sexual and reproductive health.
In reality, the research he and his team did showed that more than 70% of young people take care of their sexual health problems without getting expert help.
Mobolaji says this is because young Nigerians prefer to avoid talking about things like this that are very personal.
In response, The Health City team built a sexual health chatbot that gives confidential guidance to young people, initially in Ekiti and now everywhere else.
As it turns out, the solution was so popular that, among other things, the team started offering virtual consultations and referrals for physical services in February.
This brought Mobolaji to Global Alliance Africa’s “youth innovation support program.” Here, he learned important things about expanding different parts of the business and selling his idea to possible investors.
The success of innovators like Adetunji Abayomi, Emmanuel Folorunsho, and Oluwatunbosun Mobolaji shows that young innovation can be a powerful force for change and growth in Ekiti State.
Now, it’s up to the ecosystem and the people they serve to help them expand so that innovation and technology can have an even more significant impact on the region in the future.