An initiative to bring together technology entrepreneurs, investors and executives around the world, to build cross-border partnerships, Geeks on a Plane (GOAP), made its first stop in Africa, Lagos, last week.
The event brought together filmmakers working in various capacities, as well as the media, entrepreneurs, and technology experts, who engaged the group’s curators visiting from Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, California, U.S. on a technical tour intended to create interaction and between Silicon Valley and Nigeria’s ecosystem.
Curators of the tour include the founder of 500 Start-ups, Dave Mclure, who has already made investments in six companies in Nigeria and across Africa, to learn more about the financial ecosystem in Lagos and Nigeria.Others and CEO, African Technology Foundation, Stephen Ozoigbo. One of the key events was ‘Geeks Meet Nollywood,’ with Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) playing a key role. It took place at an exclusive VIP setting at Filmhouse IMAX later that day.
The spotlight was on the influence of technology on media, entertainment and what could be improved upon. The geeks were looking to develop new products and services and a search for accelerators, investors and other venture capitalists, who could be encouraged to have more interest in the African continent and drive more technology, create jobs and, of course, make money.
They also noted that smart phone penetration is a rich driver, especially with the mobile revolution over the last six years, and that Nigeria seemed to be outpacing other countries in Africa in terms of numbers and use which, for USAID, meant more citizens could be reached directly with innovative programmes. With 45-65 Percent of the people at the grassroots having access to mobile phones would enable a drive for economic and financial inclusion and bring in the value of locally relevant content.
According to Burns: “Maximising the use of technology, information could be provided to farmers and sick people, thereby hopefully creating possibilities to improve the standards of living.”
Other discussions centred on how technology could curb piracy and increase income for filmmakers. Several members of the panel pointed to the fact that Nigeria has a very unique structure, which had to be studied since there is no one solution to its multi-layered and multi-faceted industry.
They also explained their determination to come to Nigeria in spite of the way the country is viewed abroad in stereotypical lens, with most of them visiting for the first time. They said they are aware of a lot of positive news emerging from the country and they have seen the entrepreneurial spirit of the citizens and that they believe in trying things out themselves rather than relying on hearsay.