WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT VENTURES PLATFORM
The hub started in 2016, launched in order to provide support, funding and a community to African start ups and budding entrepreneurs whose major aim is to solve problems in Africa. It is a foundation that catalyzes on innovation for the unserved communities in Africa through building the capacity of African Entrepreneurs and innovators, leveraging on technology to create a sustainable solution to the most urgent problems on the African continent.
The pioneers believe that wide scale job creation is the key to unlocking economic prosperity in Africa. In the bid to create the jobs that Africa needs, they decided to back the innovative entrepreneurs building scalable businesses that solve problems and create value for the world.
PROGRAMS ON ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT
How to start a start up series: This is a one-week immersive practical idea-based training for university students on the various fundamentals of building a successful startup.
Start-up Nigeria: A program that kicked off this year, its duration being 3 months, an incubation program which is designed to support the innovative idea and early stage companies across Nigeria with funding, mentorship and training. This program is for entrepreneurs who are solving problems in Nigeria, in a new, better and cheaper way. This program would include a free entrepreneurship skills training, mentorship and funding to help them start and also grow their businesses.
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
The Ventures Platform is in search of candidates who have the following qualities:
- A problem solver: the ideal candidate for this start up program must have identified a problem faced by the majority in Nigeria and has ideas or is developing a solution that would solve it.
- Affordability: The ideal candidate must be developing a solution that many can afford and has the tendency to create jobs for the people. A report that was released by the world poverty clock stated that nearly 50% of the Nigerian population lives under N694 per day. It has to create jobs that these people can easily take up. This is known as a market creating solution.
- Technological Innovation: The ideal candidate must be developing or has developed a solution, that is solving problems in a new, better and cheaper (innovative) way, making use of existing technology like block chain & artificial intelligence to solve the problem in a very efficient manner.
- Scalability: The ideal must be developing a solution that can reach millions of Nigerians in the different regions and at different levels. It is only right when this solution is also able to reach the majority of Nigerians at very little cost.
- Location: The ideal candidate must be located in either North West, South East or the North Central zones of Nigeria
- Availability: The ideal candidate has to be available for the full length of the program which is 3 months.
This program is a thematic one that is based on business advisory and mentorship clinic for the young and budding entrepreneurs, to meet with mentors and share their challenges, experiences and get advice for building their businesses.
CLICK – ON KADUNA DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
A 6 – month program funded by the Rockefeller foundation and organized by the Kaduna state government along with the World Bank and implemented by Ventures Platform. This program is to provide free digital and entrepreneurship training courses, tools and in person coaching just to equip the entrepreneurs and innovators in Kaduna state with the right skills to start and grow their digital business. The program provides the much needed – training, mentorship, peer learning and access to partnerships and investors to the innovative entrepreneurs. The participants of the program would be guided and nurtured through a lot of activities designed to help the idea stage and young budding entrepreneurs, find their footing and grow.
FACEBOOK PRE – INCUBATION PROGRAM
This is designed to equip idea stage startups with the tools and knowledge needed to go through their ideation stage or process effectively and build viable products.
To teach entrepreneurs and innovators in Africa to ideate and design the future. The platform believes that these innovators can achieve better outcomes if they are provided with the right tools, resources and models that they need to innovate. Through the organized learning programs, the platform empowers people and institutions by equipping them with the skills to address challenges through innovation.
Digital Explorers: This is a 1-year program on career advancement, that will place selected Nigerian youths in paid temporary employment with top tier tech Lithuanian companies. It is a program that would also provide training in emerging technologies to the participants. Venture Platform Foundation (VPF) sees an alignment between the aim of the digital explorers programme and the organization’s vision, which is building the future of Africa through innovation, entrepreneurship and technology. With these digital explorers, the platform and a consortium of partners including Enterprises like Lithuania, Afriko, Diversity Development Group and Code Academy are working to promote Nigeria’s digital economy by advancing the careers of the selected Nigerian ICT specialists in the digital space. The program is proudly funded by The European Union and contracted by ICMPD through the Mobility Partnership Facility.
CUSTOMIZED LEARNING & CURRICULUM DESIGN
It is a widely known fact that with learning, one size never fits all, so the platform has a customized leaning program with great curriculum design for clients who desire to achieve particular outcomes or target specific demographics, group or geography. Through the use of a combination of the Theory of change and the Design Thinking approach for innovation, the platform designs learning experiences that are centered on human and speak to the particular learning needs of that target group, to be up skilled. This type of learning experience is designed to ensure that the participants know, understand, analyse and can confidently apply the learning even beyond the classroom (be it physical or virtual). Clients who the platform has worked with to bring out the customized learning programs for specific target groups include World Bank and Sterling Bank.
POLICY ADVOCACY FOR AFRICA’S DIGITAL AND ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEM
It is the belief of the platform that regulations of the society should match the pace of innovation and globalization. In order to create a visible impact, government interventions are needed to address the regulatory hurdles faced by the digital and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through the programs on policy, the platform works to create a favorable environment for the innovators and entrepreneurs.
Ecosystem Dialogue Series: The report of the Technological Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Nigeria, looks into the components of the tech entrepreneurship ecosystem and identifies policy recommendations to improve the ecosystem.
FOCAL AREAS OF THE POLICY
Public Procurement: This policy initiative is one that seeks to advocate for the establishment of separate and inclusive procurement guidelines for business startups. This policy is said to enhance:
- The promotion of economic growth through the public procurement services
- The creation of job opportunities
- The development of Nigeria’s economy
Tax Incentives: This policy initiative is one that seeks to advocate for an affordable tax rate and to also fast track the process for obtaining pioneer status by the startups. The inclusive pioneer status guidelines for startups will:
- Improve the business operations of startups
- Provide additional funds for startups to improve cash flow of the business
- Relieve the operational burden and reserve the cash or profit for the development of the business.
Access to Finance
This policy initiative is one that desires to give solutions to the limitations that most startups in Nigeria faces with regard to access to finance by promoting adoption of what is called a “Public Fund of Fund Approach” which will improve the following:
- The Access to early funding to pursue their business ideas
- An increase in investment versatility
ICT Hub Infrastructure
This Hub policy is an initiative that advocates for the need to alleviate infrastructural constraints like slow internet – connectivity, high electricity generation faced by startups. The Hub policy initiative will relieve startups from such constraints that stifle the operations as well as the growth of their business. This would greatly lead to the economic growth of the whole country.
Digital Literacy Policy
This initiative seeks to promote digital literacy by proposing vocational programs on computer as well as technical skills to meet with the increasing market demands. This initiative would also enhance technical skills development amongst Nigeria’s growing population which invariably would promote entrepreneurship in the country.
Digital Policy Initiative
This seeks to advocate for the need to implore AI technologies in the key sectors of Nigeria’s economy, firstly starting with the financial services industry. The aim of this initiative is to enhance poverty alleviation, for ensuring effective and efficient public service delivery alongside promoting economic growth.
This collaborative initiative seeks to strengthen the innovation and research commercialization capabilities of leading universities by providing research-based funds. This would allow for the creation of incubators at various universities which would further inspire student entrepreneurship and also promote Nigeria’s economy.