Our Challenge is not this Economic Depression
Have you read the story of Ayokunle Adeniran, popularly known as ‘Sean’? This young Nigerian had invented a product which addressed a need in Nigeria and Africa. However, after some frustrations and having met a brick wall trying to make progress with his invention, the young man relocated to the United States and…bang! The impossible became possible. He made great progress with that invention. There are thousands like Sean; people with disruptive ideas and great abilities to tinker and create solutions to help solve specific challenges in our country and continent. Yet, many of them often do not receive needed encouragement and support. What should be done?
Nigeria (and Africa, in general) is blessed with brains and talents. However, it is worrisome to note that many of our inventors and innovators, having developed their ideas into prototypes, do lack support in terms of funds to help bring such prototypes to consumers. Yet, most of these inventions and innovations would help solve major challenges in the society.
Lots of times, such inventions are left to rust away, due to lack of support. You will find them tucked away in the workshops of talented roadside fabricators, corners of laboratories in universities, polytechnics, research institutes, etc.
Sometimes, after a fruitless and harrowing search for locally-sourced funds to mass-produce an invention, the inventor looks to foreign investors and organizations for help. If s/he is lucky, s/he gets signed on and such foreign partners not only take the glory, but end up paying peanuts to the Nigerian (or African). Do you know how many inventions have come out of Africa, but ended up with ‘Made in the United Kingdom’ and ‘Made in China’ tags on them? Why do we still import basic and essential items from toothpicks to match-boxes and whatnot, when most of the raw materials are in abundance, locally?
We must wake up to the realities of the times. In the midst of this economic depression (still, we practically sit squarely on abundance!), is it possible for a few rich and not-so-rich people in these parts to pull resources together to fund inventions, thereby encouraging new ‘Made in Nigeria’ products to get launched into the local and international markets and share in the profits from such investment? Is it possible for a Nigerian inventor to fully concentrate on churning out invention after invention, (knowing well enough this is his/her area of specialization), in as much as a pool of expertise and resources is available to scale that invention from prototype to launch and to distribution? Can that inventor live by the profits of that invention? Can society benefit from using that invention?
These questions are not begging for answers! The answer is YES. Yes, it is possible. Yes, we must take our destinies into our hands. We must not always wait for some government encouragement. We must not wait for the ‘right time’. The right time is NOW.
Our challenge is NOT this economic depression. Rather, our challenge is the dearth of willing citizens, ready to pull us out of the depression; those, ready to support the groundswell of innovations taking shape. This is our burden. It is our collective effort.
This is why Outrepreneurs.COM has kick-started an initiative to support Nigerian inventors and innovators and (thereby) help the country to leapfrog into the comity of technology and industrial players. It is our own little contribution towards making Nigeria and Africa great. This initiative, known as Outventors, will be deployed across other selected African countries as well, in due course. Our partners in this noble and onerous journey include 3DMakeryAfrica.COM (the first 3D Scanning and Printing firm in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa); angel investors in Nigeria and the diaspora; contract manufacturers; some experienced Nigerian inventors and renowned professionals in Patenting, Marketing and other fields.
How can you support this ground-breaking movement? If you know an inventor, innovator or a product designer/developer in Nigeria (stuck) with a prototype right now, tell him/her to go enlist, by completing this form.
Have you developed a game-changing innovation or invention that could make life better? Outventors is a gathering of momentum for inventors, innovators and product designers/developers to meet mentors, contract manufacturers, investors and like minds, at upcoming Outventor Meetups, Outventor Forums and the Outventor 1.0 Summit coming up later this year. Inventors and innovators actively looking for partnership and support to launch their prototypes into the market, or simply wishing to get their stories out, can fill this form now.
–The Outventors Project Team
Postscript: Remember the story of ‘Sean’ at the beginning of this piece? Read the full details here. You may also want to read the story of this other young Nigerian doing wonders in the field of Robotics.