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How Nigeria can be a big tech player in the world

By Tonye Bakare   |   01 March 2017   |   3:32 am

Tyler Scriven, MD Techstars Atlanta

When Nigeria rebased its economy in 2014, the IT sector, according to figures from the then ICT Ministry, contributed 8.7 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic product, being an equivalent of N6.97 trillion ($44.3 billion) out of the total rebased GDP of N80.22 trillion ($510 billion).

The belief is that the country’s developing technology industry can even play a bigger role in not only making the economy a lot richer but also provide an avenue for revenue for the government.

But that is dependent on how the vast latent talents in the country’s tech ecosystem are harnessed, especially when such talents are already enjoying global acclaim, and also, how much investments these talents can pool to fund their start-ups and expand operations to the level where they become viable businesses.


“Nigeria is a huge market made up of incredibly talented entrepreneurs,” says Tyler Scriven in a tweetchat with The Guardian yesterday. Tyler is the managing director of Techstars Atlanta.

Techstars is the global ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs build great businesses. Scriven is part of Ingressive’s ‘Tour of Tech’ which got underway on February 27th and runs until March 4th with the aim of identifying companies that would participate in Techstars Atlanta’s upcoming accelerator program in July, where they stand to receive a $120,000 investment and world-class mentorship.

Scriven is upbeat Nigerian tech startups have the potential to be big players on the world stage given the right investment and opportunities.

“The reality is that there’s only a single, universal bar at play. And entrepreneurs in Nigeria are ready to crush it on a global stage!”

Scriven’s visit came after those of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Y Combinator’s Michael Seibel. Zuckerberg’s Chan-Zuckerberg Foundation has funded Andela, founded by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Christina Sass, Ian Carnevale, and Jeremy Johnson, with offices in Nigeria and Kenya, to the tune of $24million, while Y Combinator has also, though not on the same scale, invested in a few Nigerian tech start-ups, showing a new level of belief in Nigeria’s capacity to create world-class technologies. And there are opportunities to do more, Scriven notes.

“We are a big believer in tackling the core challenges/opportunities in Nigeria – agriculture, logistics, commerce infrastructure,” he says. “There are many other big opportunities, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind.”

Regardless of such vote of confidence in Nigerian tech innovations, it is important that innovators are credible, reasonably ambitious and must be ready to give their all. While staying true to their visions, they must also build around them teams that could sustain high level of enthusiasm and know-how in order to remain relevant.

“Your human capital is fundamentally what makes or breaks a business; it’s imperative, the most important part that ensures talent is aligned in company values,” says Maya Horgan-Famodu, the founder/Chief Executive of Ingressive, a company that serves as a bridge between foreign venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in the Nigerian tech ecosystem.

“You can rapidly teach smart people skills, but you can’t do the same with values,” she concludes.




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