Protecting Nigeria’s Entrepreneurial Future
A whitepaper with policy recommendations for Nigeria’s innovation ecosystem as startups and scaleups navigate the fallout of the global pandemic
Read the whitepaper here.
by Eloho Omame, Managing Director, Endeavor Nigeria
If you are the founder of a high-growth startup or scaleup in Nigeria, then you have inevitably been affected by the crisis that has tilted the entire world on its axis since early in the year. Necessary measures by governments to mitigate the health impact has had ripple effects on businesses worldwide. Governments have had to very quickly respond to stymie the potential disaster, including providing support programs to keep both large and small businesses afloat. We would like to see more deliberate and concerted action in Nigeria, in light, not only of the crisis, but the generally tougher economic climate that startups and scaleups are facing as our economy goes into a fiscal slump.
This whitepaper presents our “house view” on proactive ideas and measures that the government, policymakers and business community, who understand the importance of protecting the essential high-growth innovation sector of the Nigerian economy, should consider as we work collectively to minimise the impact and protect Nigeria’s economic future.
Our core belief at Endeavor is that high-growth startup and scaleup companies, led by high-impact entrepreneurs, are the key to a vibrant economic future. These companies, making up what we like to call Nigeria’s “innovation ecosystem”, are drivers, not only of economic growth, but also ecosystem development, innovation and high-quality job creation. Thus, it is imperative that this segment is provided with the appropriate support to ensure that these businesses not only survive, but thrive through the economic setback.
Our whitepaper has been developed in collaboration with the fantastic team as Stears Business. It takes two approaches: (1) real-time data collection and measuring the impact of the crisis on startups and scaleups at varying growth stages within different industries, and (2) an analysis of the proposed interventions, business support programs and policy measures by Nigerian government bodies in comparison to similar responses in other regions.
The findings are quite clear, and unfortunately, not surprising: Nigeria’s innovation ecosystem has been mostly negatively impacted by the crisis, due to diminishing cash runways, interrupted fundraising efforts, and limited government support. The support efforts that have been proposed by the government, while directionally promising, have not been tailored specifically with the innovation sector in mind; and as such, many startups and scaleups do not meet the eligibility criteria. The innovation sector will require tailored support for its particular business profiles and needs. We, therefore, propose three main policy recommendations, consisting of financial and non-financial support programs, as well as investment opportunities to bolster funding efforts.
The speed of the post-crisis recovery, and our hope for subsequent economic vibrancy, hinges on the success of entrepreneurship, and specifically, innovation-driven, high-impact entrepreneurship, in Nigeria. Providing the right support to see entrepreneurs through this challenging phase is imperative. We hope that the findings and recommendations laid out in this whitepaper can serve as a guide to enhance the support and implementation of policies that are relevant to the startups and scaleups working to build sustainable, innovative, transformational companies within our innovation ecosystem for the benefit of our wider economy.
Read the whitepaper here.