• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Access to capital, support system to drive startups growth – Experts

How startups are exploring products to stay afloat

Experts have charged the government and private sector players to create a system that supports risk-taking and connects Nigerian startups with mentors and investors.

They spoke at the American Business Council (ABC) Economic Update on Tuesday themed, ‘Navigating the Startup Landscape in Nigeria amidst Economic Challenges’.

Michael Ervin, senior Foreign Service officer at the United States Consulate Lagos, said supporting the audacity of startups will unlock the nation’s potential and build an economy that is strong, sustainable and inclusive.

He said they are the engine of job creation and the launch pad for the next generation of groundbreaking technologies.

“We need access to capital for these young companies which is why the U.S. mission and ABC launched in October 2023 an associate membership category for U.S. incorporated startups, admitting them into a community of established global businesses where opportunities can be expanded.

He urged startups registered in the US to join the American Business Council and leverage the opportunities.

He said U.S. venture capital firms have invested over 60 and 40 percent of capital funding in Nigeria and Africa.

“Up to 60 percent of African startups are incorporated in the US, and this figure jumps to 80 percent for Nigeria alone. In 2022, African startups raised $4.6 billion, translating to an average of over $1 million every two hours.

“Despite the global downturn, the US still accounted for about 40 percent of the nearly $3 billion raised by African startups in 2023. These numbers indicate that we have a strong interest in supporting the growth of not just the startup ecosystem, but the digital economy of Nigeria,” he said.

He said Nigeria’s startup ecosystem is a beacon of hope, and a testament to the fact that Nigeria is reshaping the future of technology in Africa, and its youths are changing the world.

Magaret Olele, chief executive officer of ABC, said there are opportunities for economic growth through the startup space.

Olele said the American Business Council was committed to identifying startups, understanding their challenges, pointing them to opportunities, and showing them the agencies to go to and partners to work with to help them upscale.

“ABC is training them to close the gap in terms of employment and having exportable talents. We are also committed to building parameters that would engender female inclusion in the startup ecosystem to foster gender equality and equity in the technology space,” she said.

Folashade Ambrose-Mebedem, commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade, and Investment in Lagos State, said the state boasts of several unicorns.

She said the state provides support to several startups, particularly given the current challenging economic situation.