Nigeria's Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani has announced the launch of the Startup Support and Engagement Portal. The portal is a provision of the Nigeria Startup Act that aims to aggregate startups, investors, and support organisations like 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 revealed in a post on X on Tuesday night.
In 2021, members of Nigeria's startup ecosystem began working on the Nigeria Startup Act, a piece of legislation intended to streamline cooperation between the government and startups. Reeling from the devastating effects of policies like a motorcycle ban in Lagos State, these stakeholders posited that active engagement with the government would forestall similar occurrences in the future, provide more capital, and generally drive innovation in the country.
Their efforts were rewarded when former President Muhammadu Buhari signed the act into law on October 19, 2022. While the Startup Act makes provisions for numerous benefits, these benefits can only be gotten by registered startups hence the Startup portal. By signing up on the portal and getting a startup label, startups get access to tax relief, capacity-building programs, access to grants, loans, and the investment fund, among others. Importantly, only startups that have been operating for less than 10 years qualify for the startup tag.
Coming more than a year after the Startup Act became law, this represents the most significant development regarding the Act. Although there have been campaigns to get state governments to buy into the idea, there has been limited progress on that front. So far, only Kaduna State has domesticated the Act despite interest from states like Lagos, Kwara, Anambra, and Imo.