Makers, by the numbers

What we found in the ‘State of Nigerian Hardware Survey’

Chuma Asuzu
Jul 30, 2018 · 3 min read

Data can confirm ideas but also provides a baseline to check improvements. While we know that there are many makers and entrepreneurs in the hardware space in Nigeria, we wanted to be able to make certain statements with quantitative data.

We developed the State of Nigerian Hardware Survey, inspired by Fictiv’s annual survey which captures a larger audience. In line with our usual ethos, we are presenting the results of that survey.

Who Responded?

Location and demographics of respondents.

About 60% of the respondents lived in Lagos and 88% are male.

Where do they work?

Employment and Industry of respondents.

29.8% of makers work for companies (which may or may not be hardware-related), while 24.6% are working for a hardware startup developing a product. 21.1% still are freelancing.

Consumer Electronics and 3D Printing (15.8% and 10.5% respectively) are the two biggest industries that attract makers, this makes sense as both industries go together for prototyping.

What is the expertise?


Mechanical and Electrical Engineers lead the pack significantly. But the key to this chart are the skills that are lacking: Machinists and Industrial Designers. It is quite interesting that there are more IP Lawyers and Accountants than the previous two, it would point to the idea that intellectual property and money are taken more seriously than design for manufacturing.

The surprise.

3 in every 4 people either pay for their design software or use freemium and open source software. The leading packages are: Arduino IDE, AutoCAD, Fusion360, Inventor and SolidWorks.

Free membership.

While everyone belongs to one or more communities, whether online or physical, only 7% pay for membership. Most communities are however free and there are not many paid memberships to belong to makerspaces.

Product development.

Only 3.5% of people have a product in market, very low. It would seem here that the problematic stage of product development is manufacturing; more focus needs to be on helping makers carry products to the market.

Developing relationships with overseas manufacturing partners is one way to do this, given the low amount below. We are thinking of organizing a trip of Shenzhen with the Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab sometime soon.

Biggest headache.

This was a surprise too.

Supply chain, the ease of getting components and materials, is the single biggest headache of makers in Nigeria. Funding follows quite closely, as early stage funding is hard to come by. The next three culprits are: people (there is a small ecosystem), lack of makerspaces and training.

Big thanks to all those who filled the survey and to TechCabal for sharing the survey, two respondents won $50 Adafruit gift certificates: Olabode Olakanmi and Dara Obademi!

Hardware Lagos

The community for makers and entrepreneurs in Lagos, Nigeria

Chuma Asuzu

Written by

Designer & Engineer, mostly writing about design and (hardware) tech in Africa.

Hardware Lagos

The community for makers and entrepreneurs in Lagos, Nigeria

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