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Coworking Conference 2017 Best of tech, innovation, connectivity in one place!

Coworking Conference was set to show the best of tech, innovation, collaboration and connectivity.

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The air was exciting and electric as all roads led to the IMAX Theatre, Filmhouse Lekki 1 where Nigeria’s first Coworking Conference 2017 held in grand style.

The atmosphere was filled with curiosity and expectation. Coworking Conference was set to show the best of tech, innovation, collaboration and connectivity. Participants came early and flying high from all over Nigeria to grace the occasion; and in the true spirit of coworking - eager to network and ready to collaborate.  

The exhibition space was bustling with activities as service providers like wifi.com.ng, DIY Law, AutoGenius, Accounteer, and Fourth Canvas, displayed their solutions and services. (picture) 

With the registration over, the Coworking Conference kicked off with a fantastic presentation by the Creator, Coworking Conference Nigeria and CEO of Venia Group, Kola Oyeneyin.

Kola spoke on the value chain and opportunities in the Coworking Industry. He broke down the Industry value chain and enlightened the audience on opportunities in the Coworking Industry for various stakeholders, emphasizing that Coworking is beyond just provision of shared space to work. The next session featured Franklin Ozekhome, a pop-culture strategist and trends spotter, who is familiar with coworking trends and its impact on work, creation and innovation. Franklin spoke on coworking trends especially in the Nigerian space, with an emphasis on the underlying theme of co-creation. 

With everyone’s mind still ruminating on Franklin’s points, there was a brief remark from Tonye Cole, the CEO of Sahara Group, briefly before lunch. He challenged everyone to seek opportunities, take note of the little details, and think beyond country and beyond borders. 

The energy went up another level after lunch, with four engaging segments and free Wi-Fi for all participants provided by wifi.com.ng.  The panel of Coworking Industry players discussed the value proposition in coworking and their experiences in running one. They all agreed on the need to have some form of an alliance to support industry standardization and to push the SME agenda to the right stakeholders. Reinforcing the objective of the event to connect people and work across borders and continents, Leanne Beesley, the Cofounder of Coworker joined the conversation from Berlin, Germany. Leanne discussed the statistics and the factors driving the Coworking Sector. She also briefly stated statistics from Coworker.com where Nigeria ranks 5th in searches for coworking spaces in Africa, with Lagos being the primary search location. 

The much anticipated Investor and funding panel session kicked off right after Leanne’s presentation. Filled with financial heavyweights including Ken Opara, Fidelity Bank GM, Managed SMEs; Segun Olukoya of Lagos Angel Network (LAN); and Akin Oyebode, Executive secretary LSETF; the panel shed light on sources of funds for coworking members and also discussed specific actions different stakeholders can take to partner with Coworking Operators to properly structure and fund viable businesses in coworking spaces. 

The final session was a feature interview with the Cofounders of RED Africa, Chude Jideonwo and Adebola Williams, bringing home the theme of collaboration. Partners for over 14 years, Chude and Debola spoke on the power of collaboration, it's importance in the digital economy, and shared key lessons on building a successful partnership. 

The Conference closed on a high note, with key announcements on the Coworking Industry report, Coworking Alliance and the date for Coworking Conference 2018. In his closing remarks, Kola Oyeneyin gave a special thanks to Fidelity Bank for supporting the conference; and also appreciated the global partners - coworker.com, coworking Europe, Deskmag, Open and Coworking Insight; the media partners - Pulse.ng, Ventures Africa and Business Day; and the official Service provider - DIY Law, Accounteer, Autogenius, the remarkable effort of wifi.com.ng for enabling high speed livestream and providing free Wi-Fi for participants; and Fourth Canvas for the global standard designs and branding they did for Coworking Conference Nigeria.

There’s no doubt that Venia Business Hub, sponsor of Coworking Conference, has heralded a new era of collaboration in Nigeria. We look forward to Coworking Conference 2018 to see how this collaboration evolves.

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