I always get excited at the slightest opportunity to travel, regardless of the purpose of the trip or the distance, to me the journey itself is a form of reward. On the day of my trip, I promptly jolted up at the first chime of my alarm, as I started preparing for my flight taking me from Lagos to Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Being the first flight, I had to wake up extra early, to beat the infamous Lagos traffic. I got to the airport in good time, boarded my flight, and off I go, to the Garden City of Port Harcourt.
The purpose of the trip was to connect with the tech community of the Garden City of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. And the plan was to be part of two tech events happening simultaneously within that period. The first event was Startup Port Harcourt Week, which was organized by Netopps, the organizers of Startup Sunday series which was instrumental in the creation of the Tech ecosystem in the city. The Startup Port Harcourt week was a week-long event which lasted through the 20th — 26th October 2019.
Edge Conference was the second event, organized by Chigisoft, one of the leading tech companies in the city. Interestingly, the venue for both events is directly opposite each other within the city. The Edge conference took place at TechCreek, while Startup Port Harcourt Week took place at Port Harcourt Pleasure Park.
The venue for both events made mobility quite easy, making me almost ubiquitous. I suspect both organizers had the event planned, as there was no clash in the timing of the event. The Edge event was a two-day event, which was held on the 25th and 26th of the same period.
The Goal of The Trip
The goal is simple, speak to people about the need for privacy, and why we need to keep our transactions confidential. Also, educate people on how Beam is an investable vehicle and can serve well as a means to store value. While having these interactions, it will be great to onboard interested people into the Beam Africa community on WhatsApp, who will love to know more about Beam, as well as those that will like to buy and hodl Beam tokens or those who will simply trade Beam on the various crypto exchanges.
The second phase of the intended purpose of this trip was to meet with key stakeholders in the state, where we can start conversations on how Beam can be applied on a state level. These conversations are very important as they are crucial in the promotion of financial sovereignty within the state, the country and Africa at large.
Lastly, as a way of gaining real sustainable traction within the region, it will be great to be granted an interview or appear on a local blog, this will preserve the memory of the event. While also ensuring Beam gets some exposure, and get people to ask questions and also provide feedback. And from these conversations, we can educate interested people on the value propositions Beam is trying to offer.
The Startup Port Harcourt Week Experience
It is always incredible to meet people who use their skillset to proffer solutions to real-world problems, and for society to embrace them. These are the people who are making a difference in the hostile world we live in today. And during the event, there were a number of these innovators of our time, as they share their stories, challenges and successes.
The event, which has been running for the past 3 years, features a great array of guests from tech leaders to entertainers and environmentalists. The Theme for this year’s event is “From Oil to Tech” which emphasises on the need for key players within the region to start looking at other sustainable ways to generate economic growth to reduce the region’s overdependence on oil.
Rivers State and the other oil-producing states within the Niger-Delta region of the country have enjoyed prosperity due to the high demand for oil in times past. This has also brought about several challenges to the region, such as violence and environmental pressure.
During the week, there was an array of programs, break-out sessions and panels. I was privileged to meet a score of great esteemed personalities during the event. Despite joining the event on the 3rd day, it was still an awesome experience, I learnt several things, as well as interacting with several people who are leaders in their respective startups and industries.
The Edge Experience
This power-packed tech event provided some highlights from the Port Harcourt trip. The event was organized by Chigisoft, a technology solution provider within the state. A company led by Mr Precious Chukundah, who so happens to be a Beamer! It was a 2-day event, which featured a demo day where the company showcased most of its innovative solutions they’ve developed for their clients.
The second day of the event saw the presence of some major key stakeholders in the state present, most notably, the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on ICT. There was a panel session which featured leaders in respective industries, we had Chinonso Iwuh, Founder of Bole Festival, Joseph Akintolayo, Founder & CEO of Swys, Kenneth Nwokoro, of TechCreek, and Kinikachi Okwu, CTO, Chigisoft. The panel was moderated by Mapple Dappa of Mapemond Resources. The conversation crisscrosses around the various areas of tech, and its importance as an enabler.
The Outcome of the Mission
It was a successful trip as all the set targets were achieved, first off we spoke with several people who got interested in Beam, and we’re following up on several people who downloaded the wallets and are looking at purchasing Beam tokens as a way of storing value. This is exciting for us at Beam, as we are slowly getting Africans to adopt Beam.
The major highlight of the trip was when met with one of the key stakeholders in the city, the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on ICT, Mr Asawo Ibifuro, who also happens to be a tech Entrepreneur before his appointment by the state.
We met twice, the first meeting was during the Edge conference, and the second meeting was at his establishment at Cinfores Limited where we discussed the value propositions of Beam.
Lastly, we got a bit of PR during the Startup Port Harcourt week event when the Press crew granted us an interview to speak about Beam, as well as the unique advantages the project provides. We got featured in an interview for a local blog within the city of Port Harcourt. An article by Okechukwu Matthew, In his “My Dialogue Series” where we spoke about Beam. In times past, he has featured other prominent Nigerian entrepreneurs like Okechukwu Ofili, Author, Founder, Okadabooks.