By Dipo Olowookere
On Thursday, July 26, 2018, policymakers, entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, the media and coworking space operators will gather at the IMAX Filmhouse in Lekki, Lagos for the second coworking conference.
Organisers of the event, Venia Business Hub, explained that the Coworking Conference 2018 is aimed at connecting the dots on how coworking, co-creation, collaboration and technology are spurring innovation, entrepreneurship, wealth and job creation while charting the course for a new economy and the future of work.
It was disclosed that pre-qualified entrepreneurs, freelancers, service providers and investors can attend the event, which is sponsored by Access Bank Plc, for free.
The theme for this year’s event, according to the organisers, is ‘Coworking: The Catalyst for Innovation.’
Those pencilled down to speak at the conference include Dr Omobola Johnson, Partner at TLCom and former Honourable Minister of Communication Technology; Iyin Aboyeji of Flutterwave, Africa’s leading payment platform; Kola Aina, Chairman, Ventures Park, and Ola Brown of Greentree Investment Company.
“We are happy to see various stakeholders embracing coworking and leveraging on its possibilities to drive entrepreneurship. LagosInnovates is one such example of the response to coworking conference and we expect to see much more exciting collaborations and initiatives by various ecosystem enablers,” said Kola Oyeneyin, CEO, Venia Business Hub and Creator, Coworking Conference Nigeria.
“Access Bank is recognised as a leading Bank in driving digital banking and fintech innovation in Africa. We seek to create new opportunities in emerging markets by providing a platform designed to inspire and challenge innovators and entrepreneur.
“As such, we have partnered with Coworking Conference Nigeria and leveraged on our global platform to further foster innovation, drive entrepreneurship as well as economic development,” stated Victor Etuokwu, the Executive Director of the Personal Banking Division, at Access Bank.
With an annual growth rate of 24.2 percent, coworking is an emerging phenomenon that is shaping the entrepreneurial ecosystem globally with new coworking spaces popping up in most major cities. It is predicted that by 2022, there will be over 30,432 coworking spaces with over 5.1 million coworking members.
In Africa alone, over 250 coworking spaces have sprung up just within a decade. Interestingly, 80 percent of these spaces were established in the last four years.
Since its inception in Nigeria a few years ago, the coworking movement has continued to gain momentum, with a surge in the number of coworking spaces across the country, especially in the city of Lagos.
The country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has seen a fundamental shift since the emergence of coworking and tech hubs, with many leading startups like Taxify, Flutterwave, Branch Int’l, and AutoGeni tracing the start of their journeys to coworking spaces.