Microsoft Power Platform Bootcamp - Bayelsa
Interview with Asieri Odusi
Over the last week, the Bayelsa Tech Hub played host to the Microsoft Power Platform Bootcamp held in Yenagoa Bayelsa state in Nigeria.
The two-day event had many activities, including Introduction to Microsoft Azure AI services, Introduction to Power Platform, Mixed Reality, Community Building, and many more.
Photo: Ajiri Gunn, Japhlet Nwamu and Anthony Oyakhilome Justice
Photo: David Abu sharing swags at the Microsoft Power Platform Bootcamp
Photo: Winners of the Power Platform fundamentals with their swags
Speakers at the event included PM Engineering Innovations at Microsoft- Nwem Nweke, Global Power BI Cloud Advocate at Microsoft – David Abu, Business Program Manager at Microsoft - Kendra Nnachi, Gold Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador – Japhlet Nwamu, and Beta Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors – Ajiri Gunn, Lateefah Bello, and my humble self Anthony Oyakhilome Justice.
Photo: Some participants with their swags
The event that took the participants from introduction to Azure AI on th first day to coding their own AI game bots on the second day and winning amazing prizes from the Microsoft African Development Center, had the participants gushing about the event afterward.
I had a sit down with Mr. Asieri Odusi - the Manager of the Bayelsa Tech Hub where the Microsoft Power Platform Bootcamp took place, to discuss the Bayelsa Tech Hub, the tech community in the state, and the plans the Hub have in place to keep this interest in tech in the region growing after the Power Platform Bootcamp.
Q: Good afternoon Mr…
Mr. Asieri Odusi.
Photo: Mr. Asieri Odusi - Bayelsa Tech Hub Manager
Q: Thank you, Mr. Asieri Odusi, for granting this interview. We are here on the first day of the Microsoft Power Platform Bootcamp at the Bayelsa Tech Hub. So how long have you been with the Bayelsa Tech Hub?
Okay, so I've been working with the Bayelsa Tech Hub for about a year and three months now.
Q: Who powers the Bayelsa Tech Hub?
Bayelsa Tech is actually powered by the Bank of Industry. It was established on November 4th, 2019, as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project to the Bayelsa state government. The Bayelsa Tech Hub was actually established for two broad objectives.
The first one is to use technology as a driver for MSME development in the state. The Bank of Industry is looking at how this facility can be a platform where micro, small, and medium enterprises within Bayelsa state and its environs can leverage or access its facilities, access its services to help them scale from where they are to the point where they are now innovation-driven enterprises. For that purpose, we provide them with training in areas of digital marketing and various tech-related skillsets that can help small businesses grow better.
The second objective is to introduce young people within the environment to the whole opportunities available In technology. We also provide different training programs in cybersecurity, user interface and user experience designs, computer programming, and emerging technologies. So that young people within this region can begin to aspire to do something and can begin to build the next Facebook, the next Paystack, the next Flutterwave. That is the vision behind the establishment of this facility.
Q: Where is the Bayelsa Tech Hub located?
The Bayelsa Tech Hub is located on the 4th floor of the Transparency Plaza. The Transparency Plaza is at No. 5 Oxbow Lake Road, beside CBN Headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.
Photo: Bayelsa Tech Hub
Q: What are the services you provide as a hub?
Some of the services we provide as a hub include co-work spaces for people who need a workspace to operate from. We also even invest in robotics, so we introduce people to embedded systems and robotics. We also have provisions for incubation programs every year to scout for innovative ideas that are solving problems locally and scaling globally. The incubation program runs for a period of 4-6 months, and afterward, we introduce them to venture capitalists and possible investors. So those are the things we do at the Bayelsa Tech Hub.
Q: That’s a lot; what’s the target audience age bracket that the Bayelsa Tech Hub caters to?
So, our major focus is the younger generation. Young people between the ages of sixteen to about forty. So that means students, graduates, and working professionals running their own small businesses. We also cater to young people from about six to seventeen years of age. We create STEM clubs and makers clubs where we introduce kids to science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, so these are the people we focus our services on.
Q: That’s really cool; how does Microsoft play into this vision?
Okay, Microsoft is a global platform for introducing many of these opportunities to the community that we serve, and then we see Microsoft as that player that can help spur the kind of growth that we seek. We want more young people to come into technology. We believe that Microsoft has that platform, the opportunities, the resources in terms of educational resources, and the expertise to introduce more of our young people to the various opportunities in technology. It is part of why we are setting up the Microsoft Bayelsa Tech Community, too, so they can be in the loop when events like this Power Platform Bootcamp are being organized.
Q: What do you feel will be the relationship between Bayelsa Tech Hub and Microsoft moving forward?
Oh, interesting. I actually envisage a situation where we can now begin to move young people who will be aspiring to work at Microsoft and contribute to the global solution that Microsoft provides. Then we also see it as a platform where we can even begin to have more Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors from these environments. I also see us championing the course of Microsoft and contributing to our local communities.
Photo: Group photo with Microsoft Power Platform Bayelsa participants
Q: That’s a lofty aspiration for the Bayelsa Tech Hub. If you eventually decide to go this route of partnership with Microsoft, how do you intend to keep students coming to the Bayelsa, a Tech Hub, given that finance might be an issue? Are there subsidized rates for students or something like that?
Interestingly, we have student membership plans available at the Bayelsa Tech Hub, and it is just a token of ten thousand naira (N10,000) for the entire year. So it means that as a student, you could actually come and make use of the facility and have access to electrical power and access to free internet. This is a deliberate move by the Bayelsa Tech Hub in growing young people in the region. We see students as the next generation of change leaders. The ones that will be inventing the solution that will probably change the nation's course for the better, so this is our way of providing that push and support for more young people to begin to go to the tech industry, conquer new territories and then build better solutions.
Q: So how do you ensure that these people who actually come to the Hub and say they are students are really students? Is there a verification process in place?
Yes, yes. So one of the registration criteria is that you must present a student ID card to ascertain that you belong to a particular secondary or tertiary institution. We are even in the process of getting student ambassadors from the various institutions, they will help with coordinating the registrations for all of their fellow students so they can come to the community, and they will also have support groups on Telegram and WhatsApp where we have assemblies of students based on the institutions they represent. When they graduate from school, we also find ways to bring them in to become core members in the tech community or this environment where we can deliberately channel them to other opportunities within the tech ecosystem.
Q: That’s really good to hear. It sounds like you already have a lot of things planned and I really hope and wish that you achieve all of the things you set out for the Bayelsa Tech Hub to achieve. So for people who want to keep in touch with the activities of the Bayelsa Tech Hub on social media, how do they do that?
OK, so the Bayelsa Tech Hub is present actively on Instagram @bayelsatechhub and Facebook @bayelsatechhub. We also have our website at Bayelsa Tech Hub. So, with this, you can actually keep in touch and reach us any day, any time.
Okay, thank you very much, Mr. Asieri, and good luck with your plans for the Hub.
Thank you very much for having me.