A gentleman walked up to me in the lobby of Chelsea Hotel central area, Abuja. Its was 8am, he saw us instaling roll-up banners and wanted to know what event we were preparing for. This is CMS Africa Summit 17, premier open source tech event that brings together top ranking web developers, online marketers, software engineers, online retailers, web administrators, online banking admins, company owners, Open source enthusiasts and tech students to a two day conference. This years conference was in Abuja Nigeria, getting here, a long and difficult journey.
The gentleman, his name is Mud Yahaya, working for Greetings Media in Abuja. He was really keen that his staff be given a chance to attend the conference. We had been organizing this event for months, on the 3rd of March, the D-day for the event, we were fully booked. This, was devastating news for Mr. Mud, there was some determination of his face that I wouldn’t find anywhere at that time, especially in Abuja, where people like to start their day after 9am. As I said, it was 8am. We organized seven slots for him, which he paid for, and he was glad but wanted more slots for his other staff. An hour later the registration table became busy, we were ready to launch.
There are many things that always run my mind, on the day of the summit. Normally, I have to make sure that things are in order, especially for the launch. This day, I was holding the camera…..I was the photographer amongst other duties. And my mind kept flashing on my encounter with Mr. Mud, and my mind flashed to his office, a place I have never been and the sight of young people I had denied opportunity to attend the summit. So after battling with my soul when the keynote speech was on going, I decided to call Mr. Mud and told him to bring the employees he would bring. Minutes later, a van was at the front entrance, with young men and women ready for their experience of their life. At that minute, I felt very proud, and very happy.
This has been my experience every summit we have held since 2013. I have meet and interacted with young men and women who want to do something new, and they are determined and focused. CMS Africa has worked with institutions around the Africa, focusing on Information Technology. I have always shared that I have met 20 year olds who already know what they want do with their lives, I have also met 50 year olds who still don’t know what they want to do with their lives. Its just Life. Some people will grasp it early in life and for other it will take time. Some harness opportunities in front of them while for others, they flush it right in front of their eyes.
The cmssummit17 was represented well, all areas of content management, business development and start-up and e-Commerce. Nigeria is a country of 180 million people, for a country this big, trade always thrives and e-Commerce is a developing idea here. Site like jiji.nj is open platform where people are allowed to buy and sell stuff without having to pay anything. This year, the vice president of Magento Association was among the speakers. This is the second time he is speaking in this summit. Speaking on Meet Magento, the open source that is changing the world. Job Thomas, leading the team of developers and happiness engineers from Automatic speaking on a wide variety of topic on different products from Automatic including WordPress and the world of content, eCommerce for fun and profit, WordPress customizer and JetPack and many more.
The first and only Joomla! certification in Africa is in Abuja, Nigeria. The centre is run by Adedayo who is also Nigeria Lead for CMS Africa Summit. In her presentation, she highlighted about her journey as a female developer in an area dominated by men. The Joomla! Certification Program has been created to ensure the competence of Joomla! professionals through documented measurement of skills and knowledge. The program aims to establish a certain standard whilst promoting a qualified workforce. Professional certification can play an important role in the decision of a company or business owner when hiring skilled individuals for specific roles.
Later that evening we went to a tour at the Venture Platform, a world-class full-service innovation hub in Abuja. At the core of VP’s value proposition is an intensive 16-week accelerator program, a residence for need-based cohorts and a paid co-working space for free-lance entrepreneurs and professionals on the go. Its a creative place, with positive vibe. We were taken on a tour of the premises and what they offer. One of the products they are offering is VP Hub’s accelerator program, a pro-founder series of coordinated activities and interventions designed to support startups at the MVP stage with mentorship, business re-engineering, work space, living space, back office support, shared services and seed funding.
The goal is to ensure that by the end of the 3 to 4-month program, our accepted startups will have attained product/market fit, gained traction (revenue, partnerships, and commitments) and will be ready for early stage investors that they will meet during the program and at the Demo-Day event, that ends the program.
On the last day of the event Mr. Mud came to me and held my hand, for a minute he thanked me for a great experience and invited me in his office. I had made a new friendship, away from home. This was the first dry summit in four years, the temperatures in Abuja were as high as 38 degrees. I have shared pictures of the summit on the link below, Abuja had been great and see you next year.