Modupe Macaulay is the founder of CapitalSquare, a co-working space based in Nigeria’s commercial capital city of Lagos. In this exclusive interview, she spoke to HumanIPO about the centre, with special emphasis on its forthcoming Demo Day.
HumanIPO: What is the rationale behind Demo Day?
Macaulay: Demo Day is something we came up with because we wanted to give something back to the startup and SME community here in Lagos. There are so many businesses that would go much further if only more people knew about what they were doing, so we’re trying to make that happen.
Demo Day is a programme we’ll be running every other month, starting in March. For a few hours, we’ll bring together a number of creators who are doing something new and interesting in their industries (not necessarily tech). They’ll give a short talk and a demo of their products, and get some valuable feedback (as well as some tough questions) from our audience, who will be made up of other entrepreneurs, potential customers and investors, and the media.
What this does is open doors for the entrepreneurs, help them connect with a network of people who are interested in what they’re doing, and give them insight into possible ways to improve their business or product. And for the audience, it’s a great learning experience, and a great way to spark new ideas.
Who is eligible to attend?
Demo Day is open to everyone – entrepreneurs, creatives, investors, the media, and anyone who is interested in new and innovative things. People can register for a seat here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/capitalsquare-demo-day-1-tickets-10493792215
What is going to happen on that day?
We’re still working on the agenda, but basically, we’ll have three people come up to give a short presentation and demo of their products, followed by a question and answer session from the audience. We’ll have some light refreshments, time for networking, and hopefully people will leave having learnt something new, and having made some valuable contacts.
What edge would those using CapitalSquare facility have at the event over others?
For this event, it’s a level playing field. It’s an opportunity for people to promote their products and learn about new things, and we’d like to make that opportunity equally available to everyone. So you don’t have to be a CapitalSquare member to apply. However, we may decide to include a member showcase at some point, but that’s still under consideration.
Who are the three people that will be presenting on that day?
We haven’t decided yet. We’ve opened up applications for potential presenters, and the CapitalSquare team, as well as a few friends in the startup world, will look over the applications and select three people with amazing ideas to come and talk about their work. We’ll be doing this every time we run Demo Day.
So we’re calling on business owners, creative people, developers, artists, anybody with something interesting and valuable to share, if you’re looking for customers, if you’re looking for investors, if you’d like to raise awareness or get some feedback on your product, then you should apply to present. We’ll contact successful applicants 10 days before the next event.
People can apply here: http://capitalsqua.re/demo-day-apply
Is there a cost attached to participating?
No. It’s free for both presenters and the audience.
What are your expectations at the event?
For our presenters, we’re hoping that they get some new customers, useful feedback, increased awareness, a potential investor or two, and valuable contacts that could help with improving their businesses/projects.
For the audience, we’re hoping that they discover a new product that they can’t do without, make some contacts in the startup world, and get inspired with some innovative ideas of their own.
We’re hoping everyone leaves wanting more.
Will there be themes for each edition?
It will be held every two months. No themes for now, but we’ll adapt the programme as it progresses.
Are you doing it all alone or are there partners involved?
We’ve been in talks with a few potential supporters, but there’s nothing concrete yet. We would gladly welcome any organisation that will support our Demo Days.
What has been happening recently at CapitalSquare?
It’s growing. Our number of members has doubled, and we’re having more activity in the space, making improvements here and there. Currently, we’re working on creating regular events and activities at CapitalSquare, one of which is Demo Day.
How different has it become from what you had in mind when the project was conceived?
Not vastly different, to be honest. I was hoping for variety with the people and businesses that would use CapitalSquare, and we’re getting that – from people in education, construction and architecture, web design, NGOs, accounting consultants, social media experts, fashion, and HR, they’re all at CapitalSquare. We’ve also got a number of businesses that just use our mailing address or meeting rooms, so we’re glad to be adding values to non-resident members as well. It’s been a very rewarding experience so far, and we’re constantly looking for ways to make it better.