Activities & Projects, ICTs in Education, ICTs in Peace Building


The theme of the September 2023 edition of, the Business Forum was Addressing
the Challenges in ICT startup in Kano. The program had the following panelists:
Sulaiman Musa Abdullahi, founder of Bookbay/CEO of Startbench HUB, Aminu
Ibrahim, Founder of Startbench Limited and Olimide Kuka of Nigeria Internet
Registration Association (NITDA).
In his opening remarks, the convener and Senior Program Officer, Centre for
Information Technology and Development (CITAD) Malam Isah Garba made the
welcomed remarks and said that the ICT Business Forum is an initiative of CITAD
every month, aims to discuss issues related to ICT development in the country by
bringing together IT professionals, ICT business owners, startup and youth with
potential of taking carrier in the ICT sector.
Sulaiman Musa Abdullahi, founder of Bookbay/CEO of Startbench has been
working in the area of the ICT sector in Kano for a long period and has taken the
participants to the challenges faced by the ICT startup in Kano. He said that
startups have problems of infrastructure connectivity and access to funding
whereby startups have ideas but without support locally and internationally. He
added that most of the startups lack deeper knowledge to scale through, and they
also have no idea how to form a team with serious people. In his response, when
asked about the issue of community support from the government, he said that
Kano like other states of the federation except Lagos is hard for a startup to get
support from the government. He admitted that there was a move from the last

administration to link startups with other relevant stakeholders in the ICT sector
like NITDA and hopping the present administration to build upon it.
The National Bureau of Statistics recently rated Kano as 3rd nationally with a high
level of internet penetration and any city with an online presence as such should
be an indication of economic progress according to Suleiman. He then talked
about the issue of mentorship and prayed for government intervention. The
government has assigned special advisers on entrepreneurship with the hope of
getting insight into entrepreneurship matters in the state.
On his part, Aminu Ibrahim hinted that providing infrastructure is the work of the
government alone. He discourages accessing loans as a startup from abroad in
any business sector because they have a target. He urged startups to first make a
survey before engaging in any ICT business and look for mentors. He then made a
call for government intervention, he said that the government should have been
organizing programs with educational institutions and stakeholders, advising to
educate startups. In Lagos, more than 70% of the startups have benefited from
such government support
Participants made the following comments
• It was observed that a lot of the startups want to solve problems that are
not in their area, which is why they often fail.
• It was advised that for a startup to solve a problem, there is a need to form
a hypothesis. There is a need to have a business model, a revenue model, and a
statistical analysis
• An ICT startup should be unique and must be problem-solving

• There is a need to have statistical data on ICT startup that scaled through
and those that failed in Kano
• There should be much awareness of ICT startups
• ICT ideas should be domesticated and translated into local languages
• People couldn’t differentiate between startup and SME, majority of the
startups are SMEs
• There is a lack of effective synergy in Kano among the startups
• Technophobia plays an important role in Kano for business people

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