The Garage hosts largest Digital Work Conference in South Eastern Nigeria in partnership with Earna

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The Garage hosts largest Digital Work Conference in South Eastern Nigeria in partnership with Earna
Panel session

On Saturday, 24th of February 2024, The Garage, a digital work company building social and technical infrastructure to support workers in remote, campus locations, partnered with Earna, a benefits company for digital workers, to host the very first edition of the Digital Work Conference at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

The event was the largest of its kind in South Eastern Nigeria, and created a platform for founders, operators and industry professionals to share knowledge, inspiration and insights with a crop of over 1000 students and lecturers; newbies and budding tech talents alike. In a necessity-borne collaboration, The Garage and Earna, two organizations building infrastructure on two extreme ends of the digital work spectrum, came together to plan an event that empowered the finest intersection of their audiences.

Darlington Nnam, Co-founder and CTO of The Garage, in his opening remarks, said that at the very heart of everything it does, The Garage is building a community of young, hardworking individuals that will band together to support and enable digital work across the continent.

“Within this community, we try to foster a sense of belonging and provide opportunities for growth through smart co-working spaces, job boards, digital work education, peer-to-peer mentorship and as many networking opportunities as we can manage to create. So when Earna reached out to us and asked for our collaboration in bringing this event to you, you can imagine that we jumped at it,” he said.

The Garage hosts largest Digital Work Conference in South Eastern Nigeria in partnership with Earna
Darlington Nnam

Themed “Become your dream digital earner”, the event featured speakers like Victor Fatanmi of FourthCanvas and Fullgap, Arinze Chilo-Offiah of the Enugu SME agency, Peter AjaNwachuku of PiggyVest, Nduka Annaelechukwu of Celo Nigeria, and a host of other speakers across the tech and digital economy. The event also featured several amazing speeches and panel discussions geared towards arming the audience with the required knowledge and insights to start and scale a career in the digital economy.

All that happened at the Digital Work Conference

Important conversations were had around the role of digital technology in academia, the importance of community building in today’s creator economy, starting and scaling your career as a digital worker or freelancer, as well as the role of the government in the growth of the digital and creator economy. 

Attendees at the Digital Work Conference walked away with numerous gifts, including laptops, full tuition payments, co-working space credits, and tech scholarships to Pluralcode Institute worth over fifteen million naira.

The Garage hosts largest Digital Work Conference in South Eastern Nigeria in partnership with Earna
Attendees at the Digital Work conference

Reacting to the event, participants expressed their delight at an opportunity to learn from some of the nation’s leading creatives and entrepreneurs. Comrade Utazi Enoch, President of the Students Union Government of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka referred to the event as an unprecedented attempt to bridge the gap in knowledge of digital work amongst members of the university community.

Ameh Otuoche, a 500L level student of Electronics and Computer Engineering described the event as “the single most impactful event” he has participated in throughout his six-year stay at the university. Like him, several other students expressed their appreciation to the event organizers and their desire for more editions of the conference.

Beyond the thrill of the event, several speakers also took out the time to speak about The Garage and Earna, and the work they were doing in Nigeria’s budding tech ecosystem. Saviour Okusenogu, popularly known as Sav, when asked about his thoughts on Earna said the most seductive thing about Earna is the stability and security they offer to young people in a country where these things seem to be in short supply.

“My phone was stolen twice last year and I believe if Earna had existed at the time, the insurance plans they offer would have paid for a replacement…I know that their quick pension plans will become more attractive to young, forward-thinking people as time goes by,” he noted.

Earna is building a financial benefits platform and is led by Jephthah Uche, former Co-founder at Kippa, and Solomon Okafor, an experienced growth professional. 

Victor Fátanmi, when asked where he saw the Garage in 5 years, was quick to predict that: “I see The Garage with franchises spread across all Nigerian university campuses. You’re solving a very real problem with speed and accuracy and I couldn’t be more excited. Also, the entire team has this immaculate vibe…almost as if like [sic] calls to like. I believe they’ll be a leading African prop-tech company in 5 years time, if not less.” 

The Garage hosts largest Digital Work Conference in South Eastern Nigeria in partnership with Earna
Attendees at the Conference

Recall that we had earlier reported that The Garage exceeded 10,000 hours of work in December. That number has just exceeded the 30,000 mark and is set to grow exponentially in the coming weeks, according to Raymond Chuma-Onwuoku, one of its Co-founders. Raymond also mentioned that they had reached over 1,000 unique users.

Quizzed on what’s next for the team after this, Raymond said: “We serve a community of young people who are deeply passionate and hungry to create change, and it is our responsibility to keep feeding them. We’ll return to the drawing board and keep building stuff that helps make work easier for our people. It took us 28 days to plan this conference, it was an excruciating experience, but I loved every second of it, and we’ll be ready to deliver an even better experience come 2025.”


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