In recent times, the number of people that live in the city has increased tremendously. With the increase, comes the number of problems that residents would face, from time to time. This has led to a, somewhat, thriving private sector that is booming, outside of government.
Long before now, it was difficult to grasp the concept of an Abuja ecosystem, but thanks to organizations, such as Startup Arewa, Ventures Platform Hub, comprising of Ventures Park, Ventures Platform Foundation and Ventures Platform Fund, Network of Incubators and Innovators in Nigeria, NINE, Box Office, Layer3 and a few more, we now have, what you can refer to, as an, increasingly, formidable, Abuja ecosystem.
Recently, I met with Mishack, Obioha, ED, Ventures Platform Foundation, Abuja and he talked on the importance of start-ups in growing an economy and other issues, on Tech Trends on Channels Television.
CFA: Mishack, glad to have you on the show today.
Mishack: Thank you. It’s my pleasure.
CFA: Tell me. Why did you think that, start-ups are important to an economy?
Mishack: First of all, start-ups in general, whether technology or non-technology, are quite important. I’m particular to Africa, at this point. As you know, there’s a lot of unemployment all over. Unemployment rate is really high. What this means, is that, we need to create jobs. There are lots of young people.
Africa has the highest young population in the world, which means that, we have a lot of young people, below the age of 35. What this, also, means, is that, we need to create a lot of jobs for these people and that is what start-ups do. Entrepreneurs, intrinsically, make businesses and businesses, creates jobs.
CFA: From your experience, what are some of the challenges you think that start-ups face today?
Mishack: The first problem that Founders have to face and jump over, is how do I make sure that the product I’m developing, is something that is useful enough? That is why they have to go through ideation and validation problems and the, validating solutions.
Once you cross that hurdle, then, now, you have a product. It’s in the market, you’ve built your MVP, your prototype and people are already engaged with it. The next big problem that you have to face is, how do I go beyond the prototype, to a more elaborate product? How do I scale? How do I get more customers? That is where fund raising comes in.
As we know, in this part of the world, venture capital is, very hard to find. We don’t have a lot of Angel investors in the world today.
Here in Nigeria, we have just about 3 Angel networks. We have the Lagos Angel network, the Abuja Angel network and I think we have the South South Angel network. For a country of 200 million people, that is barely enough. If you, also, check the number of cheques that these networks have signed over the last two, three years, it’s, also, not enough, to push the ecosystem forward, so, we need a lot more, in investment and that is the next hurdle that start-ups face…….
You can watch the full interview here