There is a growing importance for incubators and accelerators in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nigeria. With the growing importance comes a good response from organisations who are taking it upon themselves to support the growing number of SMEs and startups in Nigeria by providing funding opportunities and incubator/accelerator programmes, where they receive guidance till their businesses are off the ground.
As a startups, you will hardly have enough capital or resources to bring on an entire team upfront or effectively run your businesses. Thus, leveraging accelerators and incubators gives you the much-needed foundation to advance your business. These programs provide business funding (sometimes), access to seasoned mentors, collective knowledge and years of experience needed in nurturing their startups.
Here are a few incubators and accelerators for startups in Nigeria.
(440NG website is currently down as of the publication of this article. No official statement from the company yet).
440NG was founded as a joint venture between 88mph and L5Lab, in order to invest in mobile and internet startups in Nigeria. Chika Nwobi and Kresten Buch serve as co-directors and investors at 440NG. The accelerator kicked off operations in 2014 with 9 startups in its first cohort. The 440.ng program consists of 12 weeks of guided product development and customer acquisition support, as well as hands-on training and mentorship. One of the major focuses of the program is the development of market strategies for maintaining the viability of a company.
The program has provided support for a number of notable companies, including Gingerbox, FuelVoucher and Pass.ng.
CcHUB is Nigeria’s first open living lab and pre-incubation space designed to provide teams with mentoring, pre-seed funding, project planning, usability testing and customer validation to bring to life their creative social tech ventures. For the pre-incubation programme, idea proponents/teams are provided with mentoring, pre-seed funding, project planning, usability testing and customer validation for their solutions. Once the solutions begins to gain traction generate revenue, such teams ‘graduate’ to the incubation program, where they receive mentoring, business development, administrative and funding support to test their models.
iDEA (Information Technology Developers Entrepreneurship Accelerator) was established in 2013 to leverage information technologies to bring disruptive change. iDEA supports a new generation of Nigerian digital entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions and business models that make businesses and commerce more efficient. Its programmes are aimed at supporting a new generation of Nigerian digital entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions and models that make businesses and commerce more efficient, provide new ways to deliver government/social services and help reduce poverty and unemployment.
iDEA provides essential support to entrepreneurs to build software skills, solutions and businesses critical to their success. Entrepreneurs accepted into iDEA Centres receive support in the way of physical work space, shared facilities, training, mentoring and access to capital.
iDEA Hub has so far incubated over 50 startups.
LeadPathNigeria launched in February 2015 with a $1.5 million accelerator fund and startup workspace. LeadPath is exclusively aimed at startups doing business in software applications, mobile applications, electronic payments and big data. Some notable startups from the LeadPath acceleration program are PushCV and Uregista.
The Passion Incubator‘s cashless acceleration model provides entrepreneurs with resources to launch lean startups. The incubator was founded by Olufunbi Falayi and Taiwo Ajetunmobi.
The Passion Incubator has also launched its co-working space, called Leadspace, in Yaba with seed investment from Leadpath Nigeria. Some of the startups in Passion Incubator include: Waracake, Talkingbookz, Beattrafik, Medrep, Easyspace and Stylista.
StartPreneurs invests in and accelerates innovative Nigerian startups, and speeds up all entrepreneurial development through a combination of financial support and hands-on guidance. The 3 month-long accelerator program covers the Model Phase, Validation Phase and Expansion phase.
There’s also the Startpreneurs Youth Acceleration Program (SYAP), where children and youths are aided to activate and develop their ideas, dreams, skills and confidence.
Ventures Platform is a seed stage fund and accelerator that finds, funds and supports innovative companies solving real problems across the African continent.
Once a year, they invest in 10-15 companies. These companies operate from Venture Platform for a period of 6 weeks, and during this period, they receive guidance on how to build great products; talk to users and sell, they also receive support that they require to grow fast.
Wennovation Hub is one the earliest, if not the first technology startup accelerator in Nigeria. Wennovation Hub is a pioneer innovation accelerator that focuses on social impact sectors, including Education, Agriculture, Healthcare and Infrastructure. The accelerator is managed by Wole Odetayo and operates out of their Mokola, Ibadan and Ikeja, GRA Offices.
Wennovation focuses on building a skilled Africa by inspiring and empowering young and budding African entrepreneurs in the areas of Technology, Agriculture, Healthcare, Education, and other Social-Based Economies.
The hub grooms high impact businesses that tackle Unemployment, Poverty, and Underdevelopment in Africa, and helps new and startup companies to develop by providing services such as management training, co-creation workspace, and business support.
Spark Accelerators is an international accelerator program for all startups, including tech. Spark Accelerators are proven entrepreneurs who have built highly profitable startups or have changed the lives of tens of thousands of people living in poverty. Support facilitators are successful international entrepreneurs or Spark entrepreneurs who have been through the Accelerator before. Entrepreneurs who reach a certain level of growth can access grants of $25,000 Australian dollars and connected directly to investor partners to help them strategize specific approaches for their businesses.
Since its inception, Spark has raised millions of dollars to support a portfolio consisting of 12 startups. The incubator offers investments ranging $50,000 to $150,000 and has a track record of helping underdog startups come out on top. The incubator has so far supported notables companies including Hotels.ng, a hotel booking startup; ToLet.ng, a home rentals classifieds; and Giddimint, a fashion eCommerce startup.