CoLab is Kaduna’s first innovation hub and co-working space which aims to grow a collaborative community of programmers, developers, designers, bloggers, graphic designers, photographers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and tech enthusiasts. Located in Barnawa, Kaduna, CoLab was founded by Sanusi Ismaila to make Kaduna as a whole the go-to place in Nigeria when there’s any IT
CoLab is Kaduna’s first innovation hub and co-working space which aims to grow a collaborative community of programmers, developers, designers, bloggers, graphic designers, photographers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and tech enthusiasts.
Located in Barnawa, Kaduna, CoLab was founded by Sanusi Ismaila to make Kaduna as a whole the go-to place in Nigeria when there’s any IT related need. According to him, the space was launched with a 5 point agenda in sight. This includes:
1. CoLab aims to provide an environment that allows natural curiosity, fosters learning, and inspires creativity and innovation. he space has been built with so much aesthetics so as to motivate smart people to interact with each other and birth crazy and revolutionary innovations.
2. The second agenda is to offer high level mentorship from both national and international mentors who have made impact globally or have experience working in some of the top startups and tech companies both in Nigeria and globally. The Ex-Director of Global Search at Yahoo and the former VP of an Investment bank in the UK, just to mention a few, are two of the international mentors of CoLab. The intention is to have them Skype in from time to time for general sessions and also one-on-one when the need arises.
3. Thirdly, CoLab plans to train anyone interested in the ICT skills (Coding, UI & UX Design, Blogging, Content Creation, Digital Marketing, IoT e.t.c) that are necessary to compete at an international level. In training them, CoLab will cover today’s languages and global best practices.
4. After getting trained, the hub will also try to link members of the CoLab community with jobs and opportunities, both remote and physical from across the country and globally, such that people can earn a living outside the structured bank or civil service jobs.
5. Finally, CoLab plans to attract attention back to Kaduna and build a profitable venture by setting up an in-house team consisting of the best brains, which can be used to tackle national and global problems.
Talking about the inspiration behind CoLab, Sanusi said 3 things informed the decision.
First is the fact that over time, the best IT people they had come across have been from around Kaduna, but very few of them understood the value of the skill(s) they had or had ever tried to apply it to solving real life problems.
His second inspiration is that technology is the single biggest vehicle for taking people out of poverty and poverty is very rampant in Kaduna.
The final inspiration is that Kaduna is an ideal environment for a startup/technology hub. According to him, Kaduna has better power supply compared to anywhere else he’s been to in Nigeria,. Also he mentioned that the cost of living is low, with basic infrastructure on ground. The internet is also fast and there is a lot of talent and a number of tertiary institutions in the state. It is also in close proximity to two key markets (Kano and Abuja) and can access a third, Lagos via air and train.
Going by his inspiration, it is only fair to say that these are very valid reasons to set-up an innovation hub like we have in other parts of the country.
Currently, the CoLab facilities include: two Outdoor workspaces (in view), two open indoor workspaces (completed), a private meeting room (70% done), a conference room (90% done), internet, constant power supply and a modern library with paper books and kindles.