Lack of early stage funding is threatening stimulation of Nigerian technology start-up ecosystem, information technology giant, Google has said.Speaking at a launch of a report entitled ‘Technology entrepreneurship ecosystem research – Nigeria’ recently in Abuja, Google Policy and Government Relations Lead, Titi Akinsanmi, said developing a thriving e-commerce is a win-win situation for Nigeria and Nigerians especially the youths.
“A thriving digital economy is good for everyone, including Google. While the technology ecosystem in Nigeria is fast gaining momentum, local technology start-ups struggle with scaling-up their work due to social and policy structures. Providing informed, independent research like this helps to educate stakeholders on the challenges and how they can be addressed,” she added.
According to the research, concentrating on stimulating market potential, improving the skill set of Nigeria’s youth, making sustained early stage funding available, and reviewing regulations that inhibit the growth of technology start-ups will support the growth of the sector.
The study also identifies other policy-related concerns, such as government requirements for the participation of start-ups in public procurement processes. Specifically, stakeholders noted the requirement for 3-year financial audits, tax certificates and minimum number of years of experience as challenges for start-ups looking to participate in government tenders.
Addressing some of the findings at the launch, Mimshach Obioha, Programme Director, Ventures Platform Foundation, explained: “The Nigerian tech ecosystem is still in its infancy and so needs a lot of support. The first step to creating meaningful and impactful solutions and policies lies in understanding how the ecosystem runs. This research gives us the opportunity to take that first step. Experts in the tech community, including the government, have a crucial and deliberate role to play in supporting the emergence and growth of digital entrepreneurs.”
On her part, the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, commended the research, and noted that such study is critical for innovation and developing new policies.
She stated: “We see the creativity and ingenuity of our Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and believe that with the right enabling environment they can thrive and prosper. Operating optimally, MSMEs can effectively utilize our local raw materials, generate employment, encourage rural development and stimulate entrepreneurship, thereby creating wealth. The importance of research into the tech entrepreneurship ecosystem cannot be over-emphasized as it will provide policymakers with the tools to manage and leverage digital disruption.”
The report was commissioned by Google in collaboration with Ventures Platform and OC&C consultants, the research provides in-depth analysis of the key trends and challenges faced by local technology entrepreneurs, and suggests policy recommendations for addressing identified challenges.