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Nigeria launches portal to drive Startup Act implementation

Nigeria has launched the Startup Support and Engagement Portal to enable its startup labelling process and the implementation of the Startup Act.

Nigeria launches portal to drive Startup Act implementation
'Bosun Tijani, Nigeria's minister for communication, innovation and digital economy shakes hands with Kashifu Inuwa, director general of NITDA

'Bosun Tijani, Nigeria's minister for communication, innovation and digital economy on Tuesday night announced the launch of the Startup Support and Engagement Portal, which has been described as "a key requirement for the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act".

"The startup portal will drive the identification and aggregation of Nigerian startups, venture capital companies, hubs and innovation centres in order to facilitate engagement and support for ecosystem players," he added.

According to the minister, the Startup Support and Engagement Portal will also enable the selection of representatives to the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The launch of the portal is one of the most significant steps that have been made since the Nigerian Startup Act (NSA) was signed into law in October last year. While efforts—including a nationwide tour—to implement the act were initiated earlier in the year by the NSA Secretariat, the general election temporarily impeded progress.

"Now that we are almost done with the election cycle, we will start seeing actions towards the implementation of the act," Tracy Okoro, the state adoption lead at the NSA secretariat told Bendada.com in March. A few days after our conversation with Okoro, Tijani's predecessor, Isa Pantami inaugurated the NSA implementation committee.

Later in April, Nigeria's former President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship with the mandate to guide the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act.

Since the inauguration, the launch of the portal is the first publicly disclosed measure geared towards implementing the act. Startups, venture capital, firms, hubs and innovation centres operating in Nigeria are required to register on the portal. "We look forward to working with all industry stakeholders to ensure that we fully implement the Startup Act for the benefit of our innovation ecosystem," Tijani stated.

The benefits of startup designation extend to a range of advantages, including access to the startup investment seed fund, grants, loans, tools, and resources. Furthermore, labelled startups and investors will enjoy tax and fiscal incentives. The designation also grants entry to capacity-building programs, training opportunities, participation in regulatory sandboxes, engagement within the ecosystem, and support infrastructure. Additionally, it fosters collaborations and establishes linkages with relevant MDAs concerning startup-related matters.

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