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NITDA Inaugurates Startup Labelling Committee to Drive Act Implementation

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has taken a significant step towards driving the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA) with the inauguration of a Startup Labelling Committee. The committee, inaugurated by Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa CCIE, comprises representatives from both the public and private sectors.

The NSA, enacted on October 19th, 2022, established a legal and institutional framework to foster the development and growth of Nigerian startups. A critical provision within the Act is the Startup Label. This label recognises eligible startups, granting them access to the various benefits outlined in the NSA.

The issuance of the Startup Label hinges on a thorough assessment and validation process to ensure a startup meets the eligibility criteria as defined by the Act. The newly formed committee will play a pivotal role in overseeing this process.

In his address at the inauguration ceremony, Inuwa emphasised on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration’s unwavering dedication to fostering an environment conducive to the growth and success of young Nigerian innovators.

He acknowledged the pivotal role startups will play in propelling the nation’s economic development, and the significance of the committee’s work in nurturing and supporting these enterprises.

He elaborated on the various initiatives and support mechanisms the government plans to implement, aimed at reducing hurdles and providing financial assistance and mentorship opportunities to young entrepreneurs.

Inuwa expressed optimism about the future, asserting that with the right support, these budding innovators could transform their ideas into thriving enterprises, thus contributing significantly to job creation and the overall economic prosperity of Nigeria in line with President Tinubu’s priority area to “reform the economy to deliver sustained inclusive growth.”

He urged stakeholders to join hands in creating a robust ecosystem that would empower the next generation of entrepreneurs to flourish and contribute to the country’s progress.

Inuwa added that the committee will be instrumental in establishing a robust legal and institutional framework for the successful implementation of the Startup Act. Their collaborative efforts will ensure a participatory approach that benefits all stakeholders within the Nigerian startup ecosystem.

“The composition of the committee reflects the emphasis on collaboration. Representatives from government agencies, industry experts, investors, and startup founders will bring their diverse perspectives and experiences to the table. This collaborative approach is expected to lead to a more efficient and effective labelling process, ultimately benefiting the growth of Nigerian startups,” he stated.

Speaking on the roles and responsibilities of Committee, the National Coordinator, Office for Nigeria Digital Innovation, Victoria Fabunmi, listed the terms of reference for the advisory committee which include the following:

Review and evaluate start-ups’ applications for label based on criteria defined in the Act and any additional criteria that may ensure quality for the label; Periodically review and update additional labelling criteria to ensure alignment with industry trends; Conduct an impartial evaluation of submitted applications for Startup Label.

Furthermore, the Committee will Recommend on issuance or otherwise of Startup Label based on defined criteria; Provide feedback/comments/recommendations on areas of improvement where a start-up’s application is rejected; Where necessary, dedicate time to further engage startups for more clarity/details on information provided.

It will also periodically review its previous activities and data on labelling, to identify/recommend opportunities and gaps (e.g. DEI, sectors, capacity etc.) that policymakers may need to place added emphasis on; Periodically review workload capacity and recommend a fair ceiling for the number of applications to be considered per period. This is in consideration of the fact that the Committee is not a full-time position; and Members shall be subject to a Code of Conduct and must duly sign this prior to commencement of duties.

She also stated that the Labelling Committee comprises Nine (9) members from the following: Four (4) Representatives of Incubators (ISN Rep, North and South); Two (2) Representatives of the Public Sector (NITDA, NSIA); Two (2) Representative of the Civil Society’ and Portal Coordinator – to serve as Secretary.

The inauguration of the Startup Labelling Committee marks a significant milestone in the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act. With a multi-stakeholder committee guiding the process, the Act has the potential to unlock the immense potential of Nigeria’s startup ecosystem and contribute significantly to the nation’s economic development.

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