I could have named this 17th piece on the eve of my 30th birthday – “Bosun Tijani and Femi Longe“ . I decided to call it Co-Creation Hub as they would prefer it that way. Because I know these people prefer that their work keeps being lit ahead of them. It was from them I learnt it is more sustainable to invest in deepening the brand rather bask in self-glorification. I am glad that I met Bosun, Femi and Tunji Eleso in this span of life – amazing beacons on the path of tech startups in Nigeria.
Yesterday, I tried hard to find out exactly how I was invited to meet Bosun and Femi Longe, I could not. I ran through my emails in 2010 and this can’t placed. Wow.
I surrender that this has nothing to do with me but this is actually a product of God’s providence.
My early memories were of this meeting pictured above. We met in La Catchette in Ikeja. This was on the 4th of October 2010. It was where I met Funmilayo Ajala, Segun Ikuyenjo, Ayoola Olaniyi, Femi Longe and Bosun Tijani.
They sounded bright, they had an idea. They had lightbulbs over their heads. I still could not get what exactly we were going but I know they were up to great things from the start.
When we met over drinks in Ikeja, Bosun spoke about his lofty dreams for a place where we can co-create social innovation. That sounded nice but still hazy to me. We set up emails together and it was looking like we were going to do business. I can flatter myself that I might have carried a label of Co-Creation Hub co-founder. I still saw that email last night, – email@example.com. Interesting but that was not the goal. This was unto something bigger. It was like peeling onions, it will unravel finally with BudgIT.
When the call came up to share ideas, I just sat before my laptop in First Bank. They were calling ideas that can improve governance. What can I put down here? I did a bit of Google search and I found an idea in Finland trying to simplify budget. I thought yeah. Let me pitch this in a single line. I did.
I am glad that BudgIT made it to Co-Creation Hub. Honestly, my co-Founder and I could have abandoned it and move on. After getting the prize money (N1500,00), I almost gave up. Till, I found out that Co-Creation Hub was getting $200,000. Till I found out that I had not done anything with the money given to us. I gave it my shot.
In the end, I found out that I had to run with an idea called BudgIT and Co-Creation Hub will be the cushy nest where I would lay the eggs. For months, poring over the idea with Joseph Agunbiade, we finally got mentorship for over 2 years with Co-Creation Hub.
I cant emphasize enough why we need big thinkers in the Nigerian space. If it was about considering the economics of the idea, they wont have started.
The biggest limit to our creativity most times are:
“What is in for me”
“‘How will I make money”
“I will go hungry if I try this”
Whereas we have not figured out a simple guide that: money chases after value. If we sit back and ask often, “will this deliver value?” And we mix that with persistence and courage, someone somewhere is our customer or user.
If you are in doubt, ask Google. They did not start out thinking they wanted to make money, it was about organizing world information. They are worth over $450bn, almost the size of Nigeria’s economy.
I am eternally grateful to Co-Creation Hub. The Chuka Ofili, Kene Udeze, Babajide Fadoju, Sola Ajayi, Segun Fodeke. Lai and the amazing community. They played a big part in BudgIT, they in great sweat built the budget cut app that triggered BudgIT to fame in 2012 during the fuel crisis. That to me was the acceleration point of BudgIT. It was a commitment without a cost, powered by the community in Co-Creation Hub. Till date, BudgIT is still looking for that kind of trigger moment.
We are still trying to figure out another, three years after.