25-year-old Master Gerald Konwea holds a degree in Information and Computer Systems from Benson Idahosa University with a Master’s of Science in Administration from the United States. He currently runs an IT company with a dream to change the sector for better. He spoke with BODE GBADEBO.
What informed you dreams?
During the course of earning myself a graduate degree, CLIQIT was developed. It was a dream I had back in time waiting for execution. I founded the company and I am presently the Chief Officer at CLIQIT.
As a professional in the ICT industry, what is your area of specialization?
I am concerned with the software and applications aspects of ICT. e-Business for short. My firm is called CLIQIT and it maintains the mycliqit.com website, which is intended to revolutionize how websites work, how they are used and how people interact with them. We have decided to begin with our website business because it seems to be easier to implement in our portfolio at the moment and it will also lay a better foundation to jumpstart the rest of our business.
In no time, we will begin our Research and Development arm, which will be concerned with softwares and applications that will be designed specifically for industries, markets and specific clients. These applications will be custom-built to fit organizational, market and industry processes and requirements. We will also look to revolutionize how applications work and how humans interact with them. We will limit it to the Nigerian market for now but with hopes for expansion and foreign market inclusion.
How would your services enhance the sector?
Our platform is designed to redefine user convenience. We have started what seems to be a basic classified site that enables users advertise goods and services but we are not done yet. We actually have these services just to test the system. We hope to include more services that will make things as sewing clothes easier, as well as other services in the education and tourism sectors. We are looking to also incorporate bills payment on our platform. Like I said earlier we are to redefine convenience, we will need to make the website a one-stop shop for businesses and individuals constantly sending queries and requests on a daily basis.
We have succeeded in testing our idea and we found out that it is implementable. With one password, a user can come to one site and upload and download just about anything and seek information. One unique feature we already have in place is the ability for users/shop owners to rent online stores in our online shopping mall for less with added complimentary services and benefits. We have managed to merge design and functionality, which is rare in the online business. With added functionality like this, it means that individuals and small businesses can now seamlessly and conveniently transact online, manage two or more businesses, manage non-business items as well as
advertise using one platform. The primary target is individuals and small businesses.
Any challenges that you face?
Of course, start-ups everywhere around the world face challenges especially when the scale of the startup is broad. In Africa, it is a lot more difficult with issues like funding and investors. Less people in
Africa are looking to invest in businesses especially ICT maybe due to the fact that this sector is only just gaining strength and popularity in Nigeria or due to total ignorance on the subject matter.
On the other hand, when these opportunities exist, there is either some huge politics attached to it or less publicity. One major issue with publicity rests with information dissemination. The world is in the
information age, which means that information is readily available but what this does is that it hides relevant information. Because there is too much information flying around, the vital information a person is hoping to derive utility from gets lost in the stampede.
What are the prospects of ICT for Nigeria’s economy?
An economist may better give you facts and figures but as it stands, I can categorically tell you that ICT in Nigeria is on the constant rise with successful startups in the e-commerce business.
Websites in Nigeria spring up every day addressing various needs and it is truly competitive. Nigeria, with the advent of Twitter and Facebook, accounts for the highest number of geo-political posts in Africa according to a recent research. These have a direct impact on the level of acceptance of ICT solutions especially when the country can now boast of 45 million active internet users. It isn’t surprising that more and more Nigerians are comfortable to now make orders from their homes. A lot more are comfortable making Point of Sale transactions. These technologies have been in existence but only a few years back, they were only but a dream in Nigeria.
The Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN) projects a growth rate of 10% over the global average and Nigeria’s IT market estimated at over 150billion USD. This is enormous potential and prospects and with less than half the population actively engaged in online activities, I will say it is the biggest market presently.
Where do you go from here?
Like I said earlier, we have successfully tested and we are looking to now introduce the unique ideas and services we believe websites should have that are currently absent. When we have successfully introduced those services, we will then begin to target our R&D arm, which intends actually to target the students population. We are looking to bring out Nigerian ingenuity. I remember some years back, I always said to myself, only if someone can believe in me or only if the rich amongst us can invest in youth talent. This is why we are going to create a national competition that will bring together youths from various parts of Nigeria to participate and the winner stands a chance to win a grand prize, work for CLIQIT and if not yet in a higher institution of learning, will receive a scholarship to college. I am currently in talks with an NGO from Atlanta in USA to partner on this bit.
To round this up, I would like to encourage Nigerian young minds towards entrepreneurship. It’s fun and engaging. We have waited for the government to give us jobs for so long. We can as well help the government create jobs. My graduate research project focused on the private sector and how it affects growth and development in Nigeria with a few comparative analysis.
Conclusively, the research identified the private sector as the major factor to growth and development in other nations. It is workable in Nigeria. This is why we need more and more entrepreneurs, especially young entrepreneurs.
I haven’t received funding thus far but with determination CLIQIT is moving from strength to strength. Someone once said that too easy access to capital is one of the reasons businesses fail. People are actually more creative when there is lack of funding. Think it, live it and give back to community.