By Emmanuel Elebeke
Global search engine, Google, has advocated for early stage funding of technology ecosystem in Nigeria and a total overhaul of the country’s education system, saying that the entire education system has to be readdressed to yield the expected results.
Google made this known in a report titled Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystems Research, Nigeria, conducted by Google in collaboration with Ventures Platform and OC & C Consultants, which provides in-depth analysis of the key trends and challenges faced by local technology entrepreneurs, and suggests policy recommendations for addressing them.
According to the research, concentrating on stimulating market potential, improving the skill set of Nigeria’s youth, making sustained early stage funding available, and reviewing regulations that inhibit the growth of technology, start-ups will support the growth of the sector. The study also identifies other policy-related concerns, such as government requirements for the participation of start-ups in public procurement processes.
At the launch of the report in Abuja, the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, commended the research and noted that “studies like this are critical for innovation and developing new policies. We see the creativity and ingenuity of our Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, and believe that with the enabling environment they can thrive and prosper.
Operating optimally, MSMEs can effectively utilize our local raw materials, generate employment, encourage rural development and stimulate entrepreneurship, thereby creating wealth. The importance of research in the tech-entrepreneurship ecosystem cannot be over emphasized as it will provide policymakers with the tools to manage and leverage digital disruption.’’
Also speaking at the launch, Google Policy and Government Relations Lead, Titi Akinsanmi, pointed out that, “A thriving digital economy is good for everyone, including Google. While the technology ecosystem in Nigeria is fast gaining momentum, local technology start-ups struggle with scaling-up their work due to social and policy structures. Providing informed, independent research like this helps to educate stakeholders on the challenges and how they can be addressed.”
Specifically, stakeholders noted the requirement for 3-year financial audits, tax certificates and minimum number of years of experience as challenges for start-ups looking to participate in government tenders.
Addressing some of the findings at the launch, Program Director, Ventures Platform Foundation, Mimshach Obioha, said: ”The Nigerian tech ecosystem is still in its infancy and so needs a lot of support. The first step to creating meaningful and impactful solutions and policies lies in understanding how the ecosystem runs. This research gives us the opportunity to take that first step. Experts in the tech community, including the government, have a crucial and deliberate role to play in supporting the emergence and growth of digital entrepreneurs,” Obioha added.