2018 was indeed a great year for us at Venture Garden Group despite the economic headwinds. Even as today marks the last day of the year, it is important we look back on the year and take account of some of the major events/highlights in the last 12 months that contributed significantly to our growth at VGG and our vision to transform Africa through technology. This year has seen us launch new products and services, take on exciting collaborations and partnerships, host great events and record super astonishing achievements alongside the amazing humans at VGG.
To kickstart this recap, it is expected (to be honest, we couldn’t have done it any other way) that we begin with our move to our amazing Tech Hub called ‘Vibranium Valley’. Have you seen our space? It is tres magnificent!
Vibranium Valley is our 2600 square-meter tech campus which hosts all our Strategic Business Units (SBUs) and has been designed to foster collaboration and innovation in the tech space in Nigeria. As the hub continues to expand, we expect that it will house over 20 tech companies in 15 industries and up to 2000 staff. We are well on our way to actualizing this.
Our hub was opened by the US Ambassador, Stuart Symington and a group of representatives from the US Consulate on June 1, 2018. The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo also launched the space in a formal ceremony on June 22, 2018.
On the business side, even as we strive to create a data-to-cash experience for our clients, we are also focused on strengthening our internal processes and ensuring adequate security. With this in mind, we obtained the ISO 27001 certification.
Seeing that women typically receive less than 5% in Venture Capital funding, in 2018, our investment arm, Greenhouse Capital launched and successfully ran the first female led tech accelerator in Nigeria — Greenhouse Lab — which culminated in a demo day tagged ‘Demochella’.
On November 9, 2018, we held the first event in our Digital Lagos series with Babajide Sanwo-Olu. This series is aimed at bringing together the tech community and decision makers in Nigeria to discuss ways that will engender progress.
Techstar Amazon, our annual female developers’ hangout focused on promoting inclusion and diversity in the tech space in Nigeria was held on November 24, 2018 and featured speakers such as Adesua Etomi-Wellington, Adia Sowho, Onajite Emerhor, Solape Hammond, Lola Ekugo and Eyitayo Alimi
On December 1, 2018, we held the first Business Analysts Conference in Nigeria. The event drew business analysts across different industries to deliberate on how to synergize for the next billion users.
This year also saw us actively hit milestones through Garden Social Ventures (GSV), our subsidiary focused on providing project management and consultation services for social investment programs in Nigeria; Avitech, our subsidiary focused on providing technology solutions to the aviation sector; Powertech, our subsidiary with the aim to deliver high impact technology based solutions to the most prolific and fundamental challenges in the power sector and our core platforms — VigiPay and Garden Data.
Our Edutech SBU continues to set the pace in providing online learning platforms and bringing education to those who previously had no access to it.
Vibranium Valley had quite a number of important visits including senior executives from Facebook, Google, YCombinator, the Austrian Embassy, Microsoft and a host of others.
Our CEO, Bunmi Akinyemiju also spoke at a number of events on topics centered around innovation, disruption, finance, blockchain and venture capital. These events included Fintech Africa, NERC Power Sector Transformation Event, Chevening Alumni Leaders’ Summit, Access Bank Innovation Week, Bloomberg Africa Business Media Innovators Event, KPMG Alumni Dinner and a host of others.
THE HUMANS OF VGG
Our year with the #HumansofVGG began with the introduction of our monthly TGIF celebrations to aid interaction among team members and encourage team bonding. We hosted these events along varying themes and they were indeed exciting times.
The #HumansofVGG also took Valentines’ day up a notch by celebrating with a secret gifting spree and generally just having fun.
To celebrate International Women’s Day in 2018, the Garden Women’s Network (GWN) comprising women at VGG and the companies in its ecosystem hosted its second annual all-female hackathon tagged She Codes. This event brought together young girls from secondary schools, universities and working class women to proffer tech solutions to solve problems in Africa.
We celebrated our health week from the 9th to the 14th of April 2018, and had medical experts come talk to us in the office and give us health tips. We hosted some members of the Sickle Cell Aid Foundation (SCAF), had free medical tests for team members, some team members donated blood to save lives and we wrapped up the week with a fitness walk.
On May 23, 2018 we had our ‘Bring Your Child to Work’ day and the children had a lot of fun with all the activities we had lined up for them
We also kickstarted our Lunch and Learn Series in May and hosted a number of guests who stopped by the hub to share their experiences with us. At one of such events, we had Mrs Ify come in to share the key attributes of employees and good managers and how to handle crisis at work.
On June 23, 2018 we hosted VEST — Our annual football tournament among all the companies in the VGG ecosystem. Participating companies included all VGG SBUs and companies we are invested in through our investment arm- Greenhouse Capital.
We also held our Games Week from Aug 21–22, 2018 during the Sallah break. We wrapped up the year in style with the Classic Party! It was a beautiful time to unwind and reflect on a wonderful year. We also used this opportunity to reward staff who had been on this journey of transforming Africa through Technology with us for 3 years or more.
At the last team town hall for the year, we rewarded team members who had shown extra levels of tenacity and exemplified excellence.
We sure did have a blast in 2018 and are extremely excited about 2019! Follow us on Twitter @VentureGardenNG and Instagram @VentureGardenNG to get first dibs on all the exciting updates on the people and business at VGG.
Happy New Year!!