Inside Semicolon
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Inside Semicolon

Semicolon Community Hangout: When The Tribe Gathers…

What happens when a community of innovative thinkers gather at the Semicolon village? …That’s a question we’ll leave you to answer, but not without giving you some hints🤞

Last week, we had our first community hangout at the Village. As the Sun retired on what looked like the perfect Friday for a night-out, we opened our doors and welcoming arms to our Tribe members. This was our pilot event, and for us, the experience was going to be second to none. Everyone was bursting with energy and excitement in anticipation of the hangout and as the time drew nearer, we kept moving to new energy levels.

At exactly 5:00 pm, our tribe members began arriving. We had our fears on how the turnout was going to look like. Yes, our tickets were sold-out, but TGIF at the village? in Lagos? Well…🤔 (I’m quite sure you know what I mean). We didn’t have to worry for too long as after a while more people came, and then more, and some extra. We figured we were going to be hosting a lot more people than we had planned, but at the Semicolon Village, all are welcome.😁

The event stared off with some fun activity that had the tribe working in teams to achieve a common goal. Because being a Tech entrepreneur in Nigeria demands more than just technical skills, the game required that the teams applied negotiation, communication, and team-playing skills. While some teams were excellent at teamwork, they weren’t just as good with negotiations. At the end of the game, we had our winning team led by a Sheryl Sandberg in the making!

Sheryl Sandberg of the Semicolon Tribe

At this point, the mood was electric, and nothing could have been better than a talk from Mr. Ayo Adeboye, an industry leader to get the community empowered with new knowledge. He shared his empirical insights on what to expect when Setting Up A Tech Company In Nigeria.

Mr. Ayo Adeboye — Chairman Kwesé TV

So here is a quick refresher on Mr. Ayo Adeboye’s profile for those at the back. Many don’t know this, but he was the first Head of Finance of Econet Wireless. He was also one of the pioneers in the Nigerian telecommunications (GSM) industry.

He had a lot to share. Here are nuggets of wisdom we feel you should have in your armory:

  • Tomfoolery on Steroids: Technology is a magnifying glass into our lives, because it either brings out the best in people (like the everyday apps that positively affect our lives) or the worst in people ( the recent filming of the New Zealand shooting in a mosque by the terrorist). You choose what you want to be remembered for, greatness or chaos.
  • Dream Big: The beauty of youth is that one can afford to make mistakes. The most important thing is to fail forward. Go out into the world, dream and work towards those dreams!
  • Cultural reorientation: Your product or innovation has to be tailor-made for your audience. You can have a product that solves our electric power issue in Nigeria, which would be a big deal here. That same product might not be so much of a deal anywhere else in the world.
  • Business is all about service, service and service: You want to be successful in business? Find a problem, provide a solution. Being rich is a certification that you have served many people.
Being rich is a certification that you have served many people.
  • It’s a jungle out there: We all know this, don’t we? Nobody owes you anything. You are OYO — On Your Own. Know the good thing about the jungle though? You get to develop your muscles and survival instincts. There’s a popular proverb that goes: “If you can survive business in Nigeria, you can survive anywhere.”
  • What’s different about you? : What do you or your brand bring to the table? What makes you different from your competitors? These concepts — such as barrier to entry — are part of what our Natives adapt at the Village.
  • Can you keep a secret? : In the tech world, this could make or break your company. Being too chatty could spell the end for your company before it even gets started.
  • Choose your partners carefully : Most startups fail due to one singular reason — infighting between partners. The partners at Econet were involved in a 10-year lawsuit. During that period, MTN (their competitors) completely took charge of the market. Need I say more?
  • Do you have stamina? : Life is not a 100-meter dash. Take your time, be slow and consistent. That is better than being fast and being tired before the race is over. Ever heard the story of the Hare and the Tortoise?

After the insightful session, we had some fun activity to get everyone back to their excited states. In this activity, members of the tribe had to scribble hints that described a renowned individual in a post-it. The idea was for our tribe members to get correctly as many names as they could from the hints provided by other team members.

So let’s do one real quick — “The Great Oracle of Omaha — Investor”

Who could this be ?

And then, it was time for the man of the moment to step on stage.

Mr Razaq Ahmed, CEO and Co-founder of Cowrywise.

He spoke on Choosing Partner(s) — on how as a founder, selling your idea or business vision to your would-be partner(s) was pivotal for business growth. He reminded us that he does not code, but he understands how Cowrywise works — even the “coding” aspect.

Did you know that Cowrywise was accepted into the Y Combinator summer 2018 batch in July last year?

Y Combinator(YC) usually invests $120,000 in startups around the world that make it into its flagship programme.”

He added that applying for YC might have been the best decision they ever made, due to the lessons learnt and the networking opportunities, and went on to encourage anyone to apply once they have an idea for a start-up. He also advised the tribe not to shy away from disruption, but rather embrace it.

Innovation usually comes along with disruption. The making of camera phones disrupted the Kodak industry, the invention of Uber changed the way we commute from place to place.”

“No idea is new, but you know what is important? Execution. Execution of an idea is greater than its conception.” He said in conclusion.

As the event came to a close, members of our tribe bonded, networked and most importantly ate some good food. Memories were made, pictures were taken, and knowledge was gained. We can’t wait to do this again next month!

We’re building a community of amazing innovative thinkers like you, and we would love to have you on board. Join our community today. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin to stay in the loop on our hangouts. You can also visit to find out more about us!

Until next time, adios!




The official publication of Semicolon, a company passionately dedicated to fostering and harnessing great talent and innovation. Stay tuned for our insights on design, technology, and business.

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Managing the content crew at Semicolon; a social impact training institute and innovation hub focused on solving societal problems with disruptive technology.

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