Enspire – An Incubation Programme for Nigerian Start-up Businesses
It seems that tech/business start-ups from Nigeria can now benefit from a Y-Combinator-like incubation programme created in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja. Well, it also seems that Abuja is gradually becoming Nigeria’s Silicon City.
Enspire is an incubation programme that creates a conducive (physical) environment whereby sustainable small businesses can be birthed. The programme, which also looks to support the creation of business entities out of the groups of individuals who graduate from the incubation, will equip you with the necessary skills (and pay a monthly allowance) to grow your entrepreneurial wings.
Last August, enspire incubated three ideas that included software engineering and web portal solution projects and was carried out over a six week period. It is believed that the experiences from last year’s pilot scheme have been incorporated into a more robust program that now delivers incubation programs across Information & Communications Technology (ICT), Agro Technology, Bio Technology, Mineral & Energy Technology.
Enspire’s main goal is to produce successful graduates, or businesses that are more financially viable and stable when they leave the incubator, usually in no more than two to three years. Their vision is that businesses incubated today should be at the forefront in developing new and innovative technologies, creating products and services that can enrich citizens’ lives and their communities.
Will Enspire provide funding?
I’m not sure about that. Enspire describes “funding [as] an important part of any new business initiative, however there are other ingredients that make up a successful start up entreprise.”
However, “the enspire programme will take incubates through a carefully prepared programme of training and mentoring to ensure that when graduands leave the facility they have the pedigree to go out into the real world and compete for business.”
See their Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
So, if you are an entrepreneur and wish to enter the Enspire Incubation Program you must apply for admission here. The deadline is March 24, 2010.
Selection is made through a robust and transparent process that includes idea presentation, selection by panel of judges and formal acceptance documentation/contracts. If you also have skills in database designing, 3d animation, video editing etc this programme is for you.
I think this is a good step towards creating a healthy competitive environment for tech entrepreneurs from Nigeria. While the success of the programme is yet to be seen, it looks promising.
If managed well, the Enspire incubation programme would develop to become Nigeria’s Y-Combinator. Again, if greater attention is focused on developing Nigeria’s “Knowledge Economy” over the next 5 years, we will start seeing the development of new startup hubs around the country.
After all, Kenya recently launched iHub, described as “an open space for the technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in the area…[and] “a tech community facility with a focus on young entrepreneurs, web and mobile phone programmers and designers”, by Erik Hersman of WhiteAfrican.com
My hope is that in the next 5-10 years, we’ll be seeing the emergence of local innovative start-ups grow to become huge IT companies such as Google, Cisco, Microsoft and the rest of them.
Read the post: Five Key Factors to Creating Startup Hubs in Nigeria.
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