Business Hilights
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Three reasons why Nigerian tech start-ups’ won’t grow

Recently in Kenya, the TechCrunch Battlefiled Africa contest was organized by Facebook. Just as all the three prizes were swept away by Ghanaians and one Kenyan, Nigerian startups failed to win anything.

Nigerian contingents have since come empty handed, but few of them interviewed by Business Hilights pointed to two limiting factors including low incentives and government policies.

Another factor according to them, is the craze for foreign and more especially Indian software by both governments and local firms. This particular factor remains the most discouraging among the first two in suppressing the innovative ingenuity of Nigerian young start ups in technology developments.

In the last few years, several government officials have visited all the Nigerian technology hubs including Ikeja Computer Village and other growing hubs where young software developers ply their trade, but no meaningful support or policy has been introduced by the government to truly support the tech start ups.

Analysts say as the world transits to a digital economy, start-ups, which are leveraging technology to offer innovative products and services to a wider array of consumers, are increasingly contending with traditional businesses, which are struggling to serve a burgeoning digital savvy populace.

For example in Ghana, apart from incentives from local firms who always approach startups for sponsorships and even adoption of their products, government is providing seamless policies that encourage the young lads to invest their time in developing innovative digital products.

Here in Nigeria, even though the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is always ready to do more, issues associated with budgetary allocations and release of funds remain big challenges.

Only last week, the agency came out to deny the approval of its 2017 budget, meaning that since January this year, it has been operating without any fund. This means that start ups who wish to rely on supports form the agency will have to hang their faith on an endless wait.

In Kenya, issues of encouraging start ups in technology development have been taken very seriously by the government. There are seed funds where young innovators can access to grow their dream and develop products including software that can change narratives in modern businesses and even in governance when applied.

Investigations show that in Nigeria, technology start ups are left without supports and when supports do come, they tend to go to wrong hands.

There were reports that several Ghanaian and Kenyan startups that displayed their products at the recently concluded GITEX programme in Dubai were supported not only by their governments, but were assisted to get in contact with bigger international firms that will further upgrade their knowledge and train them to become super inventors.