Last year, the Oxford Foundry (OxFo) announced that they were partnering with FMDQ Private Markets Limited to accelerate Nigeria’s startup ecosystem. In December, they opened up applications for the OXFO-FMDQ Young Entrepreneurs Leadership Programme programme, which is set to begin in April this year. The programme aims to upskill young, Nigerian, aspiring entrepreneurs through various training courses, networks, and resources. Further, it will connect the participants with Oxford and Nigeria investment communities, including high net-worth investors, also known as angel investors. The Innovate Nigeria accelerator programme will leverage Oxford networks and partnerships for five high-potential start-ups.
Nigeria is an explosive start-up environment. In 2011, it was identified by Citigroup as one of eleven countries who could grow global wealth through great growth potential and profitable investment opportunities. More recently, the World Bank gave it a “Starting a Business Score” of 86.2/100 – this is the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, whose aggregate score was 80.1. Many successful start-ups have emerged recently from Nigeria, including Flutterwave, which is seeking to triple its valuation to $3 billion, and Paystack, which was acquired by Stripe for $200 million, the largest acquisition by the payments company globally.
FMDQ Private Markets is a subsidiary of FMDQ Holdings PLC. The parent organisation, Nigeria’s first fully vertically integrated financial market infrastructure group, offers companies and investors support and access to capital markets. They also operate the largest Securities Exchange in Nigeria, with an average annual turnover of $564 billion over the last seven years. The Private Markets group offers these companies data and information services.
In the long-term, this partnership is expected to bolster the Nigerian start-up scene, thereby creating jobs and triggering further socio-economic growth as the country’s business culture continues to expand. FMDQ Group said that they expected the partnership to “develop market solutions in high-potential market solutions in high-potential sectors such as technology, agriculture, green industries, and healthcare”.
The current culture for Nigeria’s start-ups is extremely promising. Recently, Nigeria’s cabinet approved the Nigeria Startup Bill. Currently, it is waiting to be passed into law by parliament. The proposals in the bill are to “ease regulatory hurdles, offer tax incentives and make it easier for startups to raise capital”. This is expected to stimulate both foreign and local investments in these start-ups.
As the Nigerian start-up scene continues to expand, both due to the nature of the market and through the government’s investment, we should expect to see more and more exciting companies come out of the country. Through this partnership, OxFo and FMDQ are ready to help companies take advantage of the favourable business environment.