Hello dear reader, It’s the start of another week and we will like to share this interesting interview with you. We had this interview with Solomon last year but we believe the contents are everlasting, Enjoy!
It is no new experience for students in tertiary institutions across Nigeria to be told by parents to face their studies squarely and avoid any form of extra-curricular activity. For some who eventually become inspired by technology, this quickly becomes an impossibility. Students discover that the world beyond the four walls of the university looks for only the excellent, and passion soon drives them to it.
For those who think extra-curricular activities is a hindrance from academic success, think again. With the present economic situation, job security might no longer be possible for some people. Unfortunately, many still leave school with such hopes, and no actual plan in the event that no job could be secured. One hindrance to people offering goods and services to others is the feeling of security. It is the fear of the consequences of taking risks. An entrepreneur is a person who sets up a business, or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit. For a technopreneur, according to collinsdictionary.com, is an entrepreneur who starts and manages their own technology business, or as the name implies, a technology entrepreneur. This technology business ranges from software to hardware development. Despite the economic situations in the country, individuals and groups still take the lead in developing the country in the various ways they can. Most interesting is who these people are, a category of people who inspire others to take the lead in building the country.
Nigeria is breeding tech talents and techpreneurs with the right technacy in various institutions around the country. One institution of particular interest is the Ekiti State University, having communities that breeds excellence.
Meet the founder of Google Developer Group, a passionate tech enthusiast, and a technology entrepreneur—a technopreneur. Beating the challenges of combining entrepreneurial activities with academics, he emerged as a first class graduate of computer science department, EKSU. Making a path in technological development in the country, he has embarked on various projects and hosted training events for people. A onetime Google Student Ambassador, he is Solomon Awosupin.
For students who think academics in a hindrance to pursuing their dreams and setting a path for others to follow, this should be repeated to them: think again.
Please tell us about yourself.
I am Solomon Awosupin. Google Developer Group Manager, Ekiti State University, was a Business Development Intern at Google, Lagos in 2015 . I am a technopreneur and tech enthusiast who is so passionate about the lives of Nigerians using technology. My tag line says “effect the change you can, when you still can”.
From your profile, it’s obvious that you have fervor for tech. Was it developed or innate?
If you had asked me the same question four years ago, I would say it developed. Until recently, I was able to relate my love for technology as innate. While growing up, I was known for troubleshooting on people’s mobile devices in my neighborhood. I had a very strong knack for computers. While serving as the class captain in SS1, I never allowed my class miss the last period on Mondays which was our computer science class, even if our instructor always hoped we missed it.
What projects have you participated to improve or promote the growth of tech in your school?
I have embarked on a lot of projects. Going down memory lane, my journey towards growing the tech ecosystem in Ekiti State University started in 2013 after my appointment as the Google Student Ambassador (GSA) in Nairobi, Kenya. Ever since then, I have constantly used every opportunity I had to preach tech to anyone who cared to listen. Some of the projects I embarked on as a GSA include the Freezone EKSU, AdClass EKSU – Digital Advertising training, EKSUite goes Google, Google Map-up Africa (Map maker event), and several others.
In 2014, I ended my tenure as GSA and founded a new community for developers – Google Developer Group (GDG), Ekiti State University Chapter. The community which was founded in August 2014 to satisfy the growing interest of Software Engineering in the Ekiti State region, hosted her very first event which featured over 100 students. We went further to host various training events like the just concluded DevFest Ekiti 2016 (more here), featured on a daily Android Study Jams – where we produced 2 out of 5 selected Google Android Nanodegree scholarship (worth USD 2500) winners across Africa, Polymer – Let’s Hack EKSU, Android for Beginners, Android Study Jams FUOYE.
After about a year and half GDG EKSU was founded, I realized that a major challenge our members faced was access to power and internet, as members were always found in every electricity powered spots such as outside a bank, beside the university health center and so on. To solve this challenge, some co-organizers and I took bold steps as we met the university management and after negotiations and meetings which went on for months, we were given a 7-room space for use as the GDG EKSU Hub, located beside Heritage Bank, EKSU.
Combining tech with your studies, what has been the major challenge so far?
At this point, I would say it has been God Almighty helping thus far. I love tech so much that I once organized a two day event two days before a major exam. With all the success recorded as Manager, GDG EKSU, I still ended up as the only First Class Graduate of Computer Science in 2016. It has been God teaching me about time management and priority.
As the leader of Google Developer Group (GDG) Ekiti state university, Ekiti, tell us more about the group and how it is helping to grow tech in EKSU.
Google Developer Group, Ekiti State University is a community made of tech enthusiast who are passionate about changing the world around them with technology. All our events and programs are free and community driven. Our aim is to equip students with relevant skills required to be innovators and produce employable youths from the university.
At the moment, we have been able to produce more than 4 tech start-ups owned by students, 15+ employed students and several freelancers amongst others.
(More details here)
We will like to know more about how you operate? Do you have weekly meetings? Are there any competition your group have organized for students on campus?
Before now members meet at our newly acquired hub to learn, share ideas and collaborate and we have our major meetings during events which is usually monthly. However, from December, 2016, we will be holding bi-weekly trainings and meetings at our hub.
Can you tell us more about the just concluded Developer’s Festival Ekiti 2016 hosted by your GDG chapter?
DevFest Ekiti 2016 which hosted over 700 technology enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and students from more than six universities and tertiary institutions to a one-day developers’ conference on Saturday 12th of November, 2016, was a huge success as we were able to empower and encourage the software giants of this time from Nigeria by providing relevant tools and technologies that would help them achieve their dreams.
What was the level of support from other GDG groups especially in terms of mobilization of participants from their respective institutions?
We planned this whole thing in less than two weeks and we were honored with large turnout of participants from various schools including FUTA, JABU, UNIBEN, AAUA, EKSU, FEDPOLYADO and FUOYE. I will also like to appreciate the likes of Yemisi Obielodan – Lead, Women Techmakers, EKSU, Yemisi was instrumental to the success of the event while taking up multiple responsibilities. She took charge of the welfare of all speakers from start to finish. People like Olayinka Oluwafemi, Bakare Kolade, Ajepe Tobi, Osakuade Opeyemi, Oso Victoria, Joshua Amaju, Fadodun Stella, every other co-organisers and members of EKSU also played prominent role in the success of the event.
In your own opinion, will you say the event fulfilled its purpose?
The event fulfilled its purpose and was a great reward to long hours of sleepless nights for organizers from EKSU. Together we covered everything from visitor’s welfare, speaker’s welfare, ushering, event decoration and several others.
What can you say about the growth of tech and techies in your school?
The tech space within EKSU is really growing and maturing. We now have over 350 members doing cool stuffs that matters and we are still growing.
It must be a really tasking job leading a developer group on campus. How are you coping?
As earlier mentioned, God’s grace and dedication to succeed saw us this far.
Are there any upcoming events of the GDG EKSU that tech lovers need to be aware of to improve the tech space?
Yes, there are… However, I will encourage any interested persons to stay glued to our blog and also register to be a member. It is free. Our WhatsApp group is also available via this link. We will be sharing updates through these media.
Where do you see tech in Nigeria going?
I see tech as the main revenue stream of Nigeria which will replace oil industry as the major contributor to the country’s GDP and also help to alleviate poverty in the country
What advice do you have for other tech enthusiast especially the beginners?
Hello beginner, you are not alone. Just keep trying and learning. With strong interest, the sky will be your starting point.