Many hopes have been placed on Nigerian Startups, to change the narratives for the country, through evolving ideas and solutions that can impact positively on the Nigerian economy. Is the Startups ecosystem achieving this objective? If yes, what more can be done to improve on this? If not, why and what can be done to steer the sector towards the right path?
I recently met Emilia Asim-Ita, CEO, AML Practice and she shed some light on this and other burning issues relating to the Startups ecosystem, of which she is well conversant.
CFA: Emilia, you’re welcome to Tech Trends.
Emilia: Thank you so much, CFA, for having me.
CFA: Can you share your opinion on the Startup ecosystem with us?
Emilia: I am glad you used the word, Startup ecosystem and not tech ecosystem. I will say it’s stagnating. It’s difficult to give you empirical evidence, but you would find that, an industry, or a sector or an ecosystem that is not growing, that has not disrupted any new sector in a while, that you haven’t seen significance in the growth, and sustainability of, even, some of its biggest ideas, cannot be growing.
That is why I would say that the Startup ecosystem is stagnant.
CFA: But, every time, we hear stories of ideas and solutions, those that are raising money locally and internationally.
Emilia: Okay, so, you know it is a generational debates and dialogues, so,we often throw up this belief that, there is nothing new, under the sun. To a great extent, it is true. When you sat new ideas, I don’t know how new, these ideas are. Most of them are African versions of very successful global ideas, so, you will hear a brand being called and I hate to name names, maybe like a Paystack, being called a strap for Africa, for instance and those have, perhaps, owned the fact that, yea,it is not a new idea under the sun, but we’ve been able to adapt it to the African context and it has worked so far. I’m not sure that there are new ideas in the ecosystem.
I worry that we have a proliferation of similar ideas, all trying to get funding from dwindling sources and those who have got funding just keep going round that circle of pitching, pitching and pitching. They don’t scale, so, you find that they remain Startups for over 5 years, when they should, by all standards and indices, be growth companies. That would be my concern about the ecosystem, otherwise, I think it’s very active. A lot of activities, but we need to be careful of activities without movement.
You can watch the full interview here