Abraham Akpan
7 min readJun 21, 2022

My year in review: Came, Saw, Impacted!

When I started writing this piece, it was meant to celebrate my first year at Co-creation Hub, but I got very busy and did not have the time to press send after writing the final draft. And trust me as I finish this piece, it is truly hard to say goodbye to my team.

My last day at CcHUB

Joining the CcHUB team meant I had to relocate from Akure (Ondo state Nigeria), a place I had moved to two years prior from Abuja to take up the role at Emerging Communities Africa and Akure Tech Hub and here I was moving again. I was going to miss my team but I was excited about the journey I was about to start.

Anyone that knows how relocating is would tell you that it is never easy, the planning, packing and getting a new apartment can be a herculean task.

This time the move was both personal and strategic. The personal bit was that I wanted to be closer to my family and strategically I wanted to move to the next level in my career, implementing programmes across Africa. I had done massive programmes in Nigeria and felt it was time to move on. Resuming as the Acceleration Manager at CcHUB presented a new challenge, I was joining the largest Innovation centre in Africa and I had to bring my ‘’A’’ game!

During my time at CcHUB, I had the opportunity to lead or be part of the team that implemented the following projects:

The first project I handled when I joined the team was the AYuTe Africa Challenge 2021 by Heifer International and I can dare say that it jumped on me (I mean jumped on me..lol), I was just on my second week at CcHUB still undergoing onboarding, when I had to join the team managing the implementation of the AYuTe Africa Challenge 2021 programme and not too long I was leading the implementation of the programme. This programme was the first time I had to deliver a project of this magnitude from selection to funding in less than 8 weeks..yes you heard me right 8 weeks!

I am so excited that we delivered and as a reward for that, we managed the 2022 edition of the programme. This programme saw the emergence of Cold Hubs and Hello Tractor as the winners of the competition and they a total sum of 1.5 million Dollars to grow their enterprise. These two companies later joined the post-investment programme which I managed and we have been supporting their growth for the last seven months.

While handling the AYuTe Africa Challenge, I was also supporting the Incubation of eleven (11) startup founders in The Business in Development programme by GIZ. In this programme entrepreneurs currently in Germany received support from CcHUB to set up their business enterprises in Nigeria. This programme was a very rewarding experience for me because even though my focus was acceleration, I got the opportunity to once again support early-stage founders build their enterprises.

Ideation workshop at UNILAG

Another interesting project I had the opportunity to lead was the Circular Plastic Innovation Hub (CPIEHub), a project funded by the British Council and implemented under the Innovation for African Universities (IAU) project. In this project, I got the opportunity to lead Ideation workshops at five Universities(Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Lagos, PAULESI, University of Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello University) across Nigeria. These ideation workshops culminated in a Demo Day, that featured the innovators and top industry players in the Circular Economy sector. Through this project, I am about to be a published author as the research works from this project are going to be published in an international journal.

In fulfilling the CcHub mandate for supporting Innovation and bridging the current gap between Academia and the private sector, I also got the opportunity to be part of the implementing team of PAULESI Center of Excellence an AfDB-funded project in Ibadan Nigeria. One of the projects that I put together was the STEM Showcase organized for students in secondary schools in Ibadan Nigeria.

I also got the opportunity to also support nine (9) Fintech Founders through the Fintech Incubation Programme powered by Google, Mojaloop and the Government of Rwanda. One of the last projects I got to work on was the CREATECH Acceleration Programme geared toward supporting fifteen founders in the creative economy sector- FanBase Africa, STARS App, Adirelounge, Tell!, Teraki, Idozi Collective, Fashtracker, Stylebitt, Nollydata, Usanii Space, Mawu Africa, Orange VFX, Vezuh, PayBox, and Twiva.

Other projects include the African University of Science and Technology Centre of Excellence (AUST Inspire) another AfDB-funded project in Abuja, SAIL Accelerator Programme for founders in the Ikorodu Senatorial district which is set to launch and many more that I can not talk about right now until perhaps they are announced.

Leading a session at the SAIL Accelerator Programme

For the start-up support team, I was in charge of the team engagement and welfare. In this role, I was in charge of making sure that the team spirit and energy were at optimum at every point in time. We work on a lot of projects, so it was very important that the team spirit was high.

I came up with spontaneous programmes and activities geared towards making sure that the morale of the team which was across Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda was in good shape.

With my teammates in Ibadan and Lagos

Amongst all the work I did at CcHUB, this has to be my proudest one, as it allowed me to build a rapport with each member of the team and not only that, they trusted that I had their back at every point in time. And last year we won the “team of the year” at the annual CcHUB employee award ceremony. I was so proud!

During last year’s employee’s award, when I was just 8 months in CcHUB I was nominated for 3 awards:

1. Most supportive staff of the year.

2. Vibe king of the year( I was surprised by this🤣)

3. Idea generator of the year(which I won)

To even be nominated when I had just joined the team eight months prior was nothing short of amazing for me.

International Recognition

I was one of the 55 Nigerians selected by the United State Government to be part of the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship programme in Public Management which I undertook at Syracuse University New York.

Bullish about growth!

Last year, I gave myself the push to start my master’s degree programme and as I write this, I am currently in my year two (2). Trust me, combining a full-time job and undergoing a second-degree programme is not a walk in the park. Oh before I forget, I made a distinction in my last two semester exams and I hope to continue maintaining the level of excellence I started with.

To grow professionally, I also joined The International leadership Association.

Finally, I joined the Chess in Slums Africa programme as a programme volunteer and was part of the team that implemented the Oshodi under bridge project, which saw kids who lived under one of the most dangerous bridges in Lagos gain a new lease of life through chess.

What is Next

From 2021 to 2022, I started supporting high-growth companies across Africa and one problem was common amongst them-Talent! They were willing to pay to attract good talent but suffered greatly in getting good talent to support their business.

It became more apparent now more than ever that much more needs to be done in the area of Human Capital Development. I was tired of the founders that I support complaining of not getting enough good hands to support their business. Noticing this gap, I am transitioning from startup development to Human capital development. I am not coming or claiming to be a superman, but as I have done many times in my career, I am arising and solving a problem where it matters the most.

It has been an amazing Journey at CcHUB and it was splendid under the leadership of Damilola- Teidi Ayoola (she is an amazing leader, ask anyone that has worked under her, and they will all tell you the same). I will miss my team members in no particular order, Nigeria- Onyinyechi Onifade, Bashir Ahmed, John Awodeyi, John Igwe, Victor Oyelade Kenya; Mugechi Ngandu, Wendy, Stephen Faith. You guys rock! Thanks for allowing me to serve you.

And to everyone who made my stay amazing, Thank you!

Abraham Akpan

Human Capital Development|Innovation|Programmes| Mandela Washington Fellow