Bosun Tijani, the man behind Nigeria’s biggest tech hub

With the Co-creation Hub and iHUB merger in 2019, quite a number of analysts posited that Bosun Tijjani had become one of the most powerful figures in African tech, since he then doubled as CEO of both companies.

But that is not all he is. Tijjani is also Co-founder of Truppr, a tech startup that dates back to 2014, as well as a partner with Growth Capital, a social innovation fund charting the growth path for a number of startups. He received and initiated Mark Zuckerberg’s first time visit to Nigeria and to Sub-saharan Africa in August 2016.

So, who is Olatunbosun Tijani?

The Nigerian-British entrepreneur was born on July 20, 1977, and after his early education, he bagged a diploma in Computer Science and (B.Sc.) in Economics from the University of Jos between 1996 and 2002. In 2003, He joined the Lagos Business School, Accenture and Junior Achievement for an MBA Course, Venture in Management.

He went further to get his MSc in Information systems and Management from the Warwick Business School in 2006/2007. In 2013, Bosun did the Innovation for Economic Development executive programme at the Harvard Kennedy School, and also recently added a PhD, Innovation & Economic Development at the University of Leicester.

Definitely a lover of education, one might say.

Career path

Even though Bosun Tijani is more known as a Founder and CEO, he had a very promising career before becoming an entrepreneur. From September 2003 till about mid-2004, he worked as a Business Development Manager with DeliveryKing.

Tijani also worked as Deployment Lead (Africa) with Hewlett Packard (HP) Global Micro-enterprises Acceleration Programe (GMEAP) for about a year, managing the ODel learning centre at the Africa Virtual University in Kenya and completing the deployment of the HP, IEEE and University of Ibadan telecentre in Nigeria within the period. He also initiated and completed the deployment of the HP Micro-enterprise Acceleration Programme learning centre at the Lagos Business School in Nigeria and provided recognizable support to its deployment in Egypt and Morocco.

Between November 2005 and May 2007, he was with the International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/WTO) as the ICT Consultant responsible for design, implementation and management of ICT for trade development related projects in developing countries. He successfully led the development and deployment of a web-marketing and information services programme in Ghana between March and September 2006 and subsequently in Uganda and Kenya, with record positive outputs. The programme was deployed in Ethiopia and extended to South Africa and Tanzania.

He also worked as Project Manager with INNOTEX, rNET Manager – Pan-European Research Network of Universities participating in the Framework Programme.

Obviously, a man of diverse parts, Tijani joined the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research as an Adjunct Research Fellow. His research focuses on applied digital epidemiology—the application of mobile and social data in improving public health and managing disease outbreaks in Nigeria.

Entrepreneur once, entrepreneur again

In December 2010, Tijani co-founded Co-creation HUB (CcHUB) with Femi Longe. CcHUB is Nigeria’s first open living lab and pre-incubation space designed to be a multi-functional, multi-purpose space. It is a place for technologists, social entrepreneurs, government, tech companies, impact investors and hackers in and around Lagos to co-create new solutions to the many social problems in Nigeria. CcHUB has led social technology projects including Lagos Innovation Hotspots and i-HQ, and driven the growth of social innovation using technology.

CcHUB took it a step further by starting Growth Capital in January 2016, as the pioneer social innovation fund in Nigeria. The goal was to support high potential, early-stage businesses using technology to build the next-generation infrastructure, and to create a path to scale for outliers driving social change in Nigeria. The participating investors bring together their experience, resources and networks to support the startup. Growth Capital has helped CcHUB grow a portfolio of strong startup companies.

In 2019, CcHUB acquired Kenya’s iHub, with Tijjani sitting as the CEO, and championing the growth of start-up communities. On the income sources for the organisation, Tijani stated in an interview that consulting services (for corporates, governments and development agencies), and events services would be fostered, even as the organisation expected greater returns on its investment funds.

“Our size will become a major part of us being able to invest in startups, and the longer we stay invested the more we will start to see significant returns and exits,” said Tijani.

In 2014, Tijani again co-founded Truppr, a social tool that connects people to events and other people around them to help make fitness a lifestyle. This innovation simplified the process of organising amateur sporting events and teammates, and became a one-stop-shop for finding and booking sports venues in cities around the world, and finding fitness teammates even in a new city.

Other things to know

Bosun has been named as one of the 100 Most Influential People on the continent by New Africa Magazine. He is also an associate of the Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship. He received the Draper Hills Fellowship, Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), from Stanford University in 2014.

He recently became the Board Chairman of LifeBank in February 2022, in addition to his role as CEO of CcHUB (since December 2010).

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