By Oliseh O.
Northern Nigeria has not been underserved with this category of creative and entrepreneurial minds as there has been a technological outburst from the region. There is an ever increasing number of northern technopreneurs on the course of transforming their fairly shaped but ingenious ideas into tech empires, reigniting the Nigerian economy in the process. These individuals have studied the problems in their immediate environment and seized the opportunity of transforming their tech solutions to these problems into a commercial reality.
We have assembled a list of technopreneurs from Northern Nigeria quietly making giant strides in the technological ecosystem. It wasn’t an easy task coming up with this list as many northern technopreneurs don’t crave the publicity their other counterparts do. In no particular sequence, we present some of them with incredible products in the market.
If you know of anyone making good products in Northern Nigeria, let us know.
Hadiza A. Mohammed (YourBusinessHive; mAcademy; Wentech; VAS & Startup Arewa)
When speaking of northern women in technopreneurship, the first name that comes to mind is that of Hadiza Abba Mohammed. Hadiza is an illustrious woman with a knack for technology and a flair for entrepreneurship. She is a chartered accountant and sojourned into professional practice, working for Microsoft Nigeria and then the Central Bank of Nigeria before starting her entrepreneurial journey with the company she co-founded, Bilyak Consulting Limited, one of the big guns in the Nigerian VAS industry. She’s also the prime mover of the Women in Technology initiative, WenTech, a network supporting and promoting women in technology and entrepreneurship in the north. A personal mission for Hadiza is to bridge the educational divide in Nigeria and this desire sprung up into Nigeria’s foremost mobile learning platform MylearningAcademy.com, which has made learning resources accessible to everyone. She is also the founder of YourBusinessHive.com, a business directory platform that connects vendors to prospective customers.
Aminu Maida (ARCA NETWORKS PAYMENT SOLUTION)
Aminu Maida is a technology futurist passionate about developing state of the art and innovative technologies. He holds a master’s degree in Information Systems Engineering from Imperial College London. He is the co-founder of Arca payments company Ltd which is a highly advanced technology platform helping to empower the new, digital era for payments and fostering the open banking ecosystem. The company which was founded in 2016 helps start-ups, developers and SMEs gain access to the latest payments innovations. The company aims to become Africa’s premier payment services platform, fostering financial inclusion and innovation, & actively shaping the future of financial services, throughout the region.
Raji Musa (BFUND; VAS; NISHADI TV; mAcademy)
The invisible founder and entrepreneur, he is one that is never seen or heard of in the media or social media but when you come across him you know that he is that individual you never want to lose as a contact, advisor, mentor or friend. After several years in the consulting in the UK, Malaysia and Europe, he spent some time in Airtel and NCC before re-joining Bilyak Consulting Limited, which he co-founded. He is the silent power force behind Startup Arewa, Nishadi TV, mAcademy (www.mylearningacademy.com) and Bfund (a fund for supporting startups). Some of the ideas that his fund has supported include mechanics NG, Arowora.com and many more.
Muhammad Salisu Abdullahi (eTrash2Cash)
There are a number of environmental challenges that have to be tackled by creative ideas and innovations. The eTrash2cash is social technopreneur Salisu Abdullahi’s solution to environmental waste problems in the low-income communities. He is the Co-founder & CEO of the web, mobile app and SMS platform that helps low-income communities to earn direct cash incentives in exchange for their everyday waste. The firm has employed the services of over 14 social micro-entrepreneurs. The initiative has also helped to increase grassroots awareness on environmental sustainability and climate change. Salisu is an alumnus of Biochemistry, Ahmadu Bello University, and Zaria and has over 3 years‘ experience in waste management and recycling, particularly plastic wastes.
Nasir Yammama (Founder of Verdant)
Nasir Yammama is an intellectual hybrid intrigued by technology, enterprise, renewable energies and agriculture. The 28-year old who hails from Kastina, Nigeria is an alumnus of Information Technology, Sydney and holds a Master’s degree in Creative Technology from Middlesex University, London.
Nasir Yammama is the founder of Verdant AgricTech Ltd, a value chain company focused on offering solutions to farmers and other stakeholders for improved food production using low-cost technology. Nasir’s verdant couldn’t have come at a better time with the increasing call for Nigeria to diversify its economy towards agriculture. The social enterprise which began in 2014, started with just 50 farmers who were taught to use their basic phones to gather market information, weather and management skills, and financial services. Barely four years from inception has Verdant in collaboration with Oxfam and GIZ increased this number to 25,000 farmers. All services provided by Verdant are location-based and tailored to farmer’s specific crop choice and location.
Nasir Yammama is decorated with lots of awards and accolades. He received the Queen’s Young Leaders Award for 2017 for his innovative contributions in AgricTech and won the British Council and Virgin Atlantic’s Enterprise Challenge in 2015 where he was mentored by Sir Richard Branson and received a start-up grant for Verdant. He also featured in Forbes’s “Class of 2017 30 under 30”.
Aminu Bakori (Payant)
Payant.ng is the brainchild of the young Nigerian technopreneur Aminu Bakori. He is another young innovator and entrepreneur who sees technological innovation as a tool for solving most, if not all, of the problems faced by developing countries. He is from Bakori local government of Katsina state and obtained a BSc. in Statistics from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
Payant is a web-based invoicing software that helps freelancers, small, medium and large businesses to create invoices, automatically send payment reminders and let them accept instant payments faster online. The Kaduna-based FinTech Company which was launched in 2017 began with a first transaction of N500 and has gone to process over N1 billion in transactions with 1,600 registered merchants in less than 2 years in operation.
Faiz Bashir (FlexiSAF)
Faiz Bashir is the CEO and Co-founder of the Abuja-based Edtech firm, FlexiSAF Edusoft Limited. The company is pushing to improve the quality of education in Africa at an affordable cost using ICT and a sustainable business. They are the creators of SAFMS, a fully integrated school management software that has helped over 300 schools and 16 tertiary institutions in Nigeria to solve their challenges of complexity in management.