Lagos, Nigeria, has emerged as the capital of startup culture in West Africa and as one of the primary hubs for entrepreneurship on the continent. As this entrepreneurial culture continues to develop, several incubators and accelerators have appeared in Nigeria. These organizations provide entrepreneurs with vital seed funding, connect them to people who can offer additional resources, and provide the mentorship necessary to launch more tech companies on the scene.
Many of the most notable startups in Nigeria have passed through accelerators, which tend to create self-sustaining ecosystems. The more successful these startups are, the more entrepreneurs their sponsoring accelerator can support in the future. The following are some of the most notable accelerators operating in Nigeria today.
Through a partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs, 88mph has backed several of the most notable South African startups, including Ekaya, ApexPeak, and GraphFlow. While the organization started in South Africa, it has since expanded operations to Lagos. Fellows of 88mph have had incredible success securing funding from third-party investors as well. In addition, Microsoft Ventures has partnered with the organization through its 4Afrika initiative, which will help connect participants to the best tools and industry-leading experts as they develop their products and services.
Most recently, 88mph started a sprint development initiative known as DealWeek, which connects mobile-focused startups with mentors and investors.
Born from a partnership between 88mph and L5Lab, 440.ng is looking to invest $1.5 million in Nigerian mobile and Internet startups. The program provided support for a number of notable companies in its first round of investments, including Gingerbox and FuelVoucher.
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.
Since its inception, this accelerator has raised millions of dollars to support a portfolio consisting of 12 startups. The accelerator offers investments ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 and has a track record of helping underdog startups come out on top. For example, SPARK supports Hotels.ng, which has secured a significant portion of the market share, despite having a more established competitor that has secured more funding.
One of the newer accelerators in Nigeria, Passion Incubator offers a three-month program for entrepreneurs. Each round allows five startups to participate in an intensive course focused on business growth and development. Despite its newness to the scene, the organization has had great success with its startups, and it has the tools, knowledge, and resources necessary to support sophisticated projects.
Thought to be the oldest accelerator in Nigeria, Wennovation Hub offers five distinct services to both new and experienced entrepreneurs. Through the organization, individuals gain access to full office support, as well as technical and business mentors. The organization also provides funding, strategy advice, and business consulting services. Its alumni include startups such as Yarnable, e-Pump, and HutBay. What makes the organization unique is its ability to tailor its services to the particular industry and needs of each startup.
A fairly new addition to the accelerator scene, LeadPath Nigeria started with $1.5 million to invest in companies focused on big data, electronic payments, software development, and mobile applications. The average seed investments range from $25,000 to $100,000, and entrepreneurs receive both hands-on support for their ideas and office space to launch their companies. Instead of asking for a fee for participation, the organization takes a stake in the equity of each company it supports.
The Information Technology Developers Entrepreneurship Accelerator (iDEA) Hub provides individuals with training in software development and focuses on developing critical business skills. When an entrepreneur has been accepted into the program, he or she receives a physical workspace, as well as access to shared technical facilities and capital to make their dreams a reality. iDEA Hub currently operates in Lagos and Calabar, but the cost of participation can be high.
Since starting operations in 2012, Savannah Fund has had three accelerator classes with nine program graduates. Co-founders Erik Hersman, Peter Bragiel, and Mbwana Alliy provide participants with $25,000 packages to launch their companies. However, the fund is valued at more than $10 million, which suggests that it has the potential to invest in a significant number of companies in the future.
Co Creation Hub
Co Creation Hub, otherwise known as CCHub, has launched several major companies, including Vacant Boards, 500Shops, and Traclist. The hub offers infrastructure for fledgling startups and programs that provide instruction in important entrepreneurial skills and concepts. Recently, the hub began making investments as a true accelerator. While its fund is small in comparison to others on this list, it offers up to $25,000 in seed-stage funding, as well as access to Silicon Valley incubation networks.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation
Recently created by Nigerian billionaire Tony Elumelu, the foundation sponsors the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, a three-month training course that connects people with groundbreaking ideas to the resources and networks they need to make them a reality. The new program has the lofty goal of minting 10,000 new entrepreneurs over the course of the coming decade.