Experts Call for Improved Access to Capital for Nigerian Startups

For Nigerian startups to survive, the federal government has been advised to democratise access to capital. This was the view of participants at the Knowledge Digest Africa conference.

They equally for specialised banks for startups that would accommodate their learning curve to growth path.

Speaking at the event, the convener of the conference, Samson Olatunde, stressed that the problem of job creation could be solved when the challenges facing entrepreneurs are taken away.

According to him, “We have a huge number of young Africans doing stuffs and suddenly they all want to leave the country. The reason why all these things are happening is because they are going through a series of challenges particularly the angle of entrepreneurship.

“I believe that when we federal government democratises access to entrepreneurship, when we empower more entrepreneurs to emerge on the continent, then you will be able to engender wealth creation.”

He added that, “But for that to happen, you must be able to create an enabling environment for them. The enabling environment must start from the bottom of the pyramid and the bottom of the pyramid is an idea.

“Now a lot of investors are interested in products, but they are not interested in investing in ideas.”

Speaking also at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, Tabacaps Partners, Paul Okunaiya, said organisations must begin to provide platforms that would allow people to learn the act of entrepreneurship.

“By this we are democratising access to entrepreneurship and capital because when you get to the space of entrepreneurship what you need next is human capital- whether human, financial, social,” he added.

Commenting also, the founder, First Founders Inc., David Messan, stressed the need for specialised banking services for the Nigerian Startup.

According to him, “The commercial banks in Nigeria are not helping the startups and they are not designed for startups. So, when we say we are giving you room to fail is to evolve, get to a point when you pivot down and up.

“That point is the failure for you, but you are moving because you are in a system that allows you to continue the movement and learning.

“Startup means you are building something and there is no bank that is giving you money to build and we have more people in Nigeria and Africa at the bottom of the pyramid but there is no financial system giving them money to build.”

Commenting further, the convener said the summit with the theme, ‘Monetise your expertise,’ provides the platform for the business community to leverage real life case studies to gain momentum for the ideas and innovation.

“The whole idea of doing this is for all of us to see the need to empower more people, startups, SMEs, career people, professionals especially from Africa.

“We realised that there are a lot of knowledge gaps and people need to understand how to apply information to different aspects of their lives, most especially mentoring.

“But with just a click of the mouse you are able to do that, so what we are able to do is put a one stop Africa Digital Knowledge Bank platform together that does meetup, mentorship, master class, market place and everything you can think about learning.”

Also, the Director of Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Centre, University of Lagos, Prof. Sunday Adebisi, said the institution was deliberate about teaching the students on how to create a decent job for themselves.