In developed and developing economies, the role of Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) cannot be overemphasized. It is safe to say small businesses play a crucial role not only in job creation but economic productivity in general. However, these businesses need support for greater impact.
In Lagos, Nigeria’s leading commercial center, the case is no different. SGBs are major employers of labor and business owners face challenges. To this end, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), with support from Citi Foundation developed an entrepreneurial ecosystem snapshot to better understand support system in and around Lagos, Abuja (Nigeria) and Accra (Ghana).
Speaking at the launch of the Lagos Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Snapshot recently, the West African Regional Chapter Coordinator for Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), Olatunji Ajani, explained how the startup community in Nigeria’s economic hub requires actors to foster a spirit of inclusiveness and engagement across stakeholders – investors, capacity development providers, foundations, donor organisations, professional service providers, corporate partners, civil society organisations, and other community organisations, adding that SGBs would benefit from public-private partnerships (PPPs) that deliver high-quality business support.
Highlighting key findings from the report, ANDE West Africa Chapter Co-ordinator mentioned poor access to finance, lack of collaboration and coordination among actors supporting entrepreneurs, difficulty in finding competent and skilled talent, and high rent among the most pressing challenges in Lagos’ entrepreneurial ecosystem. However, the snapshot also captured the growing involvement of knowledge providers from the private sector who offer programmes and trainings tailored to build business capacity in startup founders, investments flows to different sectors, and the stage of business that attracts the most funding from investors among others.
The study also sheds light on the significant growth recorded in hubs and co-working spaces, startup accelerators and incubators. It highlighted the need for advisory services targeted at SGBs in the ecosystem and the opportunities for venture capitalists as businesses in the ecosystem continue to attract investment from local and global institutions.
Stakeholders at the event included ANDE members: AMSCO, Alitheia Capital, Dalberg, LEAP Africa, Oxfam, and TechnoServe. Other organisations such as Bank of Industry, Heritage Bank, and Fate Foundation were also in attendance.
In closing, ANDE West Africa Coordinator Ajani said members of the public can access a detailed version of the Lagos Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Snapshot online. He also emphasized that ANDE’s goal is to provide better insight about the business environment, local support systems, and entrepreneurial intermediaries in and around Lagos, Abuja (Nigeria) and Accra (Ghana).