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Nigerian government secures $16.2m venture capital funding for SMEs startups.
Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson
Nigerian government has announced that it has raised a total of $16.2 million, over N2 billion, venture capital fund to be disbursed to qualified startups within and outside the ICT sector. This is in addition to programmes planned by the country’s communication technology ministry aimed at further driving the growth of ICT in the country.
According to the minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson, the ministry has discovered that software development is a big market for Nigeria but yet to be fully explored.
She said the ministry is doing everything possible through initiatives such as Ideas Lab; Techlaunch Pad among others to develop the sub-Sector.
She said government’s initiative would drive local content.
“More local firms must be encouraged to participate in the development of Nigerian economy,” she said. “In 2011, we discovered that only small proportion of indigenous firms was playing in such a big market as the country’s ICT sector, so we decided that we must create huge opportunities for investors. So we spotted software development and since then we have been driving traffic towards that area.
“IdeaLab is a platform to develop software. It is an incubator and accelerator platform that supports young Nigerians developing applications. Any viable startups can apply. The plan is to take the idea from the concept (crude) to realization and exposure for viability.
“Government recently launched the Venture Capital initiative, which has been seeded and we were able to raise about $16. 2 million and we are ready to make our first investment and these companies (startups) can participate. They can obtain venture fund here, but it is not only companies from the IdeasLab, any viable startup can actually apply and if they meet the requirement, they will get funding.”