The best business ideas that are leading the way in Nigeria

Putting The Puzzle Together
Image courtesy of Ken Teegardin at Flickr.com

Nigeria has recently been dubbed as the hub for startups in Africa becoming the country that generates so many successful business ideas turned lucrative businesses that it’s tough to keep track. In fact, Nigerians are setting an example to many other countries showing a slow but steady diversification of their economic structure, stepping away a little from their sole valuable resource for years: oil. This new generation is opening doors and demonstrating that they are a new kind of entrepreneur who can identify and execute innovative business opportunities.

Nigeria’s pool of business opportunities has become quite large in a number of different segments. So, if you’re looking for just the right business idea to develop this is a great place to start.

Fast food business

Getting a food business right is the key. There has to be a mix of good customer service and management, besides the obvious initial capital investment. You do have several options to open a restaurant, either start from scratch or acquire a franchise.  

E-commerce

All of the tools and the collaborative community available at your fingertips will make any ecommerce business easier to get off the ground. This a low-investment start up that allows for easy and on-the-go adjustments with a quick learning curve. The other big advantage is that there are tons of tools to measure the effectiveness of business strategies along the way.

Agriculture

The potential behind agriculture has spread to a few different types and is now leading at the front of business ideas as a replacement for the oil business. Poultry farming is one of the biggest ones, and giving up to 30 million Naira annually. Cassava, which up to recently had not been explored, is now on the rise especially since it is a main ingredient in many dishes in Nigeria. Snail rearing is also on the list, although many people are still not doing it on a large scale. Finally, rice farming, which if managed correctly can bring in a big return, will be able to compete with imported rice and fill the need of the food by choice of Nigerians.

Construction business

The Nigerian population continues to rise and so does the need to build housing. Trying to keep up, the construction and housing business has boomed in the past few years. There is great demand for variety, so there all types of projects available. The investment is considerable, not as much as other businesses, but what you can be sure of is that you won’t be short of work to make the return.

Hotel business

This is a quite competitive business, but if done right it can be just the right timing to get into the hotel and tourism industry. This business idea will require a large amount of capital, planning and patience since it is not a quick return. The key will come down to customer service to get visitors to return and attract new ones.

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Haulage services

This is a good business idea that responds to real need in Nigeria. The rail transportation system in Nigeria is very poor, so having alternative for shipping goods is an excellent service to offer.

Dry cleaning

Dry cleaning tends to be a quite expensive business in Nigeria, so finding affordable rates and good quality service is very scarce. To be successful you really have to set yourself apart from the current services offers by keeping to deadlines and offering fair prices.

Furniture business

Again in this case the imported furniture is quite expensive, so being able to design and assemble furniture locally can also be a great business idea. You don’t necessarily have to be a carpenter, you could outsource and just make sure to get a responsible and punctual provider.

Online advertising agency

As mentioned before, there has been an increase in all things online related, so of course other business ideas surge from the booming industry. One of the most relevant nowadays is online advertising which takes care of promoting online businesses and managing marketing strategies for them.

Fashion and entertainment business

There has been a boom in the entertainment business in Africa in general, but Nigeria has definitely stood out especially in music and movies reason why it was coined Nollywood. In 2009 it had surpassed Hollywood as the world’s second largest movie industry, preceded by Bollywood. With this in mind, it is no surprise that the fashion industry followed in line and started to cater to all of the new national and international stars of the Nollywood industry with its particular style. They are setting trends, making big moves in the movie and music industry, so being part of this growing community right now would be a smart business move. The important this is to know where you would fit and what service or product you could offer to the already structured segment.

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10 Startup Incubators for Nigerian Entrepreneurs

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.

88mph

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.

440.ng

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.

SPARK

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.

Passion Incubator

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.

Wennovation Hub

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.

LeadPath Nigeria

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.

iDEA Hub

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.

Savannah Fund

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.