By Emeka Aginam,
Although the global technopreneur and Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg during his visit to Nigeria last week to Nigeria expressed confidence in the potentials of the Nigerian app market , lack of seed funding has remained the major barrier facing these start-ups.
Zuckerberg who also participated in the Aso Villa Demo Day, an event organised by the government to showcase their ideas for possible investment support from the government had challenged the Nigerian app developers to look inwards for apps that could bolster the ailing economy .
Meanwhile, looking at the solutions that Nigerian and African tech startups have been showcasing at various software competitions including DEMO Africa, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, ISPON, software competition, Microsoft Imagine cup, among others, their products obviously can compete globally if given the opportunity.
Just recently, the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA paid a courtesy visit to Sidmach technologies in Lagos, discussing among other things how best to grow the local IT industry.
IT policies to grow SMEs
While Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited, an indigenous IT company with world class products and services has urged NITDA to formulate and implement IT policies that would enhance growth of small and big organizations in the country, the planned setting up of National innovation fund for startups by NITDA, there are convincing signals that the issue of seed funding would soon be addressed.
Empowering tech startups
Speaking during the visit, the DG NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji said that the regulatry agency will support tech startups who have great ideas, but lack the financial support to push their ideas to the next level.
“What we plan doing next is to set up a national innovation fund for startups, to enable them draw funds from it to start their businesses at small scale. Aside the fund, we will provide them with office space from where they could start their business.
“Few months ago we visited Silicon Valley in India and we saw what the startups were doing there and we want to replicate some of the things they do there in Nigeria. We discovered that most of the global brand today, started as startups from incubation centres and we are trying to replicate it in Nigeria,” he said said.
For the Managing Director, Sidmach Technologies, Chief Peter Arogundade, while receiving the NITDA team, said that Nigerian IT market has potential for growth.
“We strongly believe that the Nigerian IT market has great potentials and will become a point of reference across Africa and the world.
“We seek the continuous support of the agency to create policies and opportunities for the growth of indigenous companies. We assure you that Sidmach will deliver on commitments and projects given to the organization to execute, and we restate our support towards the actualization of various goals and projects of NITDA”, he told NITDA team.
He said that young tech startups should be encouraged with seed funding and metorship to grow their solution.
“Nigeria has good software solution that can compete in the global market. With innovative solutions, seed funding and technical support, the young software incubators can scale up their solutions to the global market.
To reduce Nigeria’s over dependency on consumption of foreign information technology, IT, products and services, he said Sidmach Technologies is seeking the continuous support of NITDA to create policies and opportunities for the growth of indigenous IT companies.
Arogundade noted that Sidmach strongly believes that the Nigerian IT market has great potentials and will become a point of reference across Africa and the world.
Arogundade assured NITDA team that Sidmach will continue support the Federal Government’s commitment to strengthening indigenous ICT entrepreneurship to reduce joblessness and create wealth for the people.