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Startup summit highlights opportunities for entrepreneurs in Nigeria to survive COVID-19

by Business News Report

Over 40 leading entrepreneurs from the world of business are organising a leading entrepreneurship event, Startup Summit, to help businesses navigate the turbulent waters of the Nigerian economy. The summit which will bring together renowned entrepreneurs with demonstrable track record spanning 20 to 30 years as panelists, seeks to educate, expose, share experiences and proffer solutions for attaining the right environment for entrepreneurship to thrive. It also will focus on how the pandemic had led to important shifts in the business landscape. Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Taiwo Adepoju, Managing Partner and CEO of Strength Africa, the organisers of the summit said that Nigeria currently lacked the right environment for startups to flourish.

According to him, the environment does not encourage people to start up with the fear of failing, pointing out that in other climes where the environment was more friendly, startups sprang up faster. Adepoju said that the startup summit will be virtual and free to all attendees from Nigeria and across Africa will seek to address all impediments to economic development via entrepreneurship. “This is a free event as our own contribution from Strengths Africa towards kick starting or accelerating development of the entrepreneurial system in Nigeria. The theme of this maiden summit is to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem. A system that is built to sustain any venture or any individual. Man is in an ecosystem and being in that system there is green vegetation, there is sunlight, there is the enabling environment and that is the kind of thing we want to create for the entrepreneurial space. We realised that entrepreneurship is the key driver for any sustainable growth within any economy and in other climes, the startup per capital is densely populated

“Over the last two months, we have had a series of pre-launches to drive home the need for people to come to the consciousness that entrepreneurship is key,” he said.

Adepoju said that the summit will focus on providing education, exposure and experience which he said were key drivers to attaining success at any level. He encouraged Nigerian entrepreneurs not to shy away from venturing for fear of failing, stressing that failure is actually a step forward. He pointed out however that there was no comfortable environment in Nigeria to encourage such ventures, adding that those are some of the issues that the summit hopes to address. “Environment also dictates how organisations thrive and we believe that Africa, particularly in Nigeria, we do not have that enabling environment, we talk about infrastructure but there are other components that help a startup to succeed.

“The focus for us is primarily driven around three components: Small and Medium enterprises which is the first cluster, Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs) like Uber and Paystack and also social enterprises,” he said. The convener pointed out that finance was not the main solution to entrepreneurship problems, stressing that without the right information and data, startups will continue to fail.

On that note, he added that the academia had a crucial role to play in the area of research and practical-based training for young Nigerians. “Money does not really solve problems but knowhow does. Beyond finance, it will surprise you that the academia plays a critical role in the economic development of our nation. Imagine we had schools that beyond theory, were getting them schooled in practical entrepreneurship and doing research and capturing success and failure rates. We do not have the data that supports you to have information as to what can work in Nigeria, so if somebody has an idea, and doesn’t have any additional information on people that have ventured, he is likely going to do the same thing. I can tell you that many entrepreneurs start off without interfacing with the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), but there is an immense record of data that is available. If only they could tap into it would have improved their business and maybe they would have averted failure,” he said. He added that the company also planned to provide office solutions where people can actually incubate their business.

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