The Nigerian Federal Government, on the 21st of November 2023, announced the launch of the Startup Support and Engagement Portal, which was created to streamline startup identification and aggregation in the country.
The portal is an implementary mechanism for the Nigeria Startup Act, signed into Law by former President Muhammadu Buhari on October 19, 2022. The Act aims to foster the growth of Nigerian Startups, creating an enabling ecosystem for startup value addition and developing a solid foundation for Nigeria to become an exporter of tech-enabled services.
Functions of the Startup Support and Engagement Portal
The portal streamlines the labeling process for Nigerian startups. It also enables venture capital companies, angel investors, incubators, accelerators, and innovation hubs advancing technology solutions to register their operations.
In addition, the portal supports the implementation of the Startup Act, which will drive the identification and categorization of Startups operating in Nigeria.
Moreover, the portal enables the Nigerian Federal government to create Startup consultative forums and identify qualified representatives for the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship. These individuals will represent the Nigerian startup communities in discourses and consensus for ecosystem development.
Benefits of the Startup Support and Engagement Portal
Companies that sign up on the support and engagement portal will get to enjoy the following perks.
- Access to startup investment funds, grants, loans, and other forms of support
- Access to developmental resources and tools
- Capacity development training and similar initiatives
- Ecosystem engagement and support
- Tax and fiscal incentives for startups and investors
- Collaborative networking with relevant MDAs and industry players
Interested companies must meet the following criteria to be eligible to sign up for the startup support and engagement program.
- The company must be registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
- It should not have been incorporated for more than ten years
- Its solutions must focus on innovation, development, and commercialization of digital products or services. Alternatively, the company must be a tech-enabled business using existing tools, frameworks, or platforms to improve products or service offerings.
- Note: Only Tech-enabled startups can obtain a label under the startup support and engagement program
- The company must have at least one of its founders be of Nigerian origin and hold at least a third of its local shares.
- Finally, the company must satisfy the conditions stipulated by the Startup Act regarding company ownership, whether sole proprietorship or partnership.
A startup’s label can be withdrawn if it fails to meet any eligibility criteria. For example, the founders of Nigerian origin sell their stakes in the company to non-nationals.
How to Register on the Startup Support and Engagement Portal
You can sign up your company for the Startup Support and Engagement program by visiting http://startup.gov.ng.
Once there, select the company category from the options available: Startups, Angel Investors, VCs, Accelerators, Incubators, and Innovation Hubs.
While registering, you will be required to provide the following information.
- RC Number or CAC Identification Number
- Company Name
- Year of Incorporation
- Industry (type)
- Start-Up description
- Company Email
- Company Address
- Company website
- Founder’s Full Name
- First Name + Last Name
- Founder’s Email Address
- Founder’s Phone Number
- Founder’s Means of Identification (BVN or NIN)
Proceed to submit your application after providing all the required information and wait while the portal coordinator assesses the application.
Expected Implications of the Startup support and engagement portal
Expectedly, the announcement of the Startup support and engagement portal elicited significant positive feedback from founders, entrepreneurs, and ecosystem players within and outside Nigeria.
The new development is expected to further foster the growth of the blossoming Nigerian tech startup ecosystem. It will lay a solid foundation for the rise of several new innovative companies and help position Nigeria as a hub where innovative ideas thrive and get exported to other countries.