Bosun Tijani, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, announced the inauguration of the Startup Support and Engagement Portal.
The portal is a feature of the Nigeria Startup Act aimed at bringing together businesses, investors, and support organizations such as accelerators, incubators, and innovation hubs.
“The launch of the portal will allow us [to] initiate the process of setting up the startup consultative forums to select representatives to the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, in order to facilitate discourse and consensus among Nigerian ecosystem players,” the Minister said in a blog post on Tuesday, a day before the launch.
Members of Nigeria’s startup ecosystem began working on the Nigeria Startup Act in 2021, a piece of legislation designed to ease government-startup collaboration. Reeling from the devastation caused by measures such as a motorbike ban in Lagos State, these stakeholders argued that active participation with the government would prevent similar occurrences in the future, offer more capital, and boost overall innovation in the country.
Their efforts were rewarded on October 19, 2022, when former President Muhammadu Buhari signed the measure into law. While the Startup Act provides various benefits, these benefits are only available to registered firms, hence the Startup portal.
Startups can gain access to tax breaks, capacity-building programs, grants, loans, and the investment fund by registering on the portal and receiving a startup label. Importantly, businesses who have been in operation for less than ten years are eligible for the startup label.
This is the most significant development in the Startup Act’s history, coming more than a year after it was enacted. Although there have been initiatives to get state governments to support the notion, there has been little success. Despite interest from states including as Lagos, Kwara, Anambra, and Imo, only Kaduna State has domesticated the Act so far.