Friday, 28 April 2017

Reversing the false ideology of no funding for StartUps in Africa

Third Episode....

Wow. Already.

Not bad...

Not bad at all...

This is going to be straight, less pauses and an attempt at sharing my ideas quite definitively....

Read and be Inspired!
Well, through various interactions with peers both trained at home or abroad, one thing was clear. Most people had wrong ideologies they were dealing with especially with chasing their own dreams. My peers abroad opted to stay abroad in an effort to make the smart decision and work for corporations , earning a well above average salary and live in an otherwise ‘civilized’ country. To them considering the alternative to them was a NO-NO. In their opinion they had scored the vital point.
The peers at home, especially those amongst my NYSC Batch B, Stream 2 Corp members, it was evident, that a majority of them saw a job in the civil service as the Holy Grail to their suffering. Most of them are currently hoping to seal a deal in the civil service. To them, that is the vital solution to leading life on the right foot in Nigeria.
Perhaps at this two points in my life, I would not lie and say that I didn’t share the same viewpoints are certain times especially after reading brochures of graduate schemes in big UK companies like Severn Trent, BP and a host of many others.
Even a couple months back, I was faced with the decision , proffered by my parents and other stakeholders in my life to strongly consider a job in the civil service perhaps out of their experience and probably, in their opinion, offer me the ‘safer option’.
Well after successfully qualifying for the TEF programme, my belief system in my business brand, HubbonNG is on whole new high and in my opinion, the only way from where I am right now is up.
Well before, I digress too much. The reason I am here exactly is to actually sensitize fellow youth about funding especially for those that are truly entrepreneurially minded.
In the past couple of years in Nigeria, there has been a huge drive towards entrepreneurship in Nigeria especially as a result of the government bringing to public purview their inability to provide jobs to the teeming youth population passing out of the NYSC scheme.
Their efforts through the YouWin programme and the NYSC-BOI programme specifically showed their efforts to the kickstart the drive for Entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
The YouWin prgramme was launched by Fmr. President Goodluck Jonathan regime to stimulate the private sector and inspire the youth into entrepreneurship in an effort to create more jobs for both skilled and unskilled labour in the Nigerian Job Market.
The NYSC-BOI scheme lauched by our President, Rtd. General  Muhammadu Buhari  in a streamlined scheme focused on enabling National Youth Service Corp members to embrace entrepreneurship in a bid to reduce the clamour for employment in the civil service or private sector alike but to inspire them to create companies that would enable them to be employers of labour. This is in the bid to reduce the rate of unemployment as well as bolster the deficient private sector in Nigeria.
Asides governmental efforts to inspire entrepreneurship among the youth there are other platforms that offer funding opportunities for business ideas, and start up businesses.
There are a lot of them but I would mention ten of such opportunities that I am fairly sure are available for 2017 and 2018;
1. Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme.
2. Seedstars
3. Union Bank Centenary Innovation Challenge 2017
4. Echo VC
5. Shell Live Wire
6. Oxfam-EDC SME Development Programme.
7. SpeedUp Africa
8. Anzisha Prize
9. Lagos StartUp Dealday
10. Global Social Venture Competition
I have researched and found literally over a 100 funding opportunities for for-profit and non-profit companies. This goes to show that the world constantly looks for those ideas that are disruptive enough to make the world a better place.
One thing, I have learnt is that every business requires funding to survive and scale, so start ups should always look to go for the cheapest way to fund their businesses and grants are definitely the way to go. Different grants offer money for different focuses. Some grants are focused towards NGO’s ; others towards health care, others towards Social Entrepreneurships et cetera.
It is very important to research for opportunities and look at the eligibility criteria before applying for the grant because if you do not, you most likely would spend time on a grant you would lose out on from the day you applied.
Some investors prefer to also look to offer funding for startup businesses for equity in the company. In Nigeria there are a few that not only invest in your company but they help your build your product and provide the necessary support to help bring your idea to fruition. They are called incubators or accelerators.
In Nigeria we have a few, I would mention five prominent accelerator and incubator programmes;
1. Ventures Platform (Abuja)
2. Enspire Incubator (Abuja)
3. Co-creation Hub (Lagos)
4. Leadpath  Nigeria (Lagos)
5. Sasware Nigeria (Lagos)

I talked about this on my YouTube channel. Watch, listen attentively and get Inspired.
Thanks for reading,

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