Next Economy Begins Start-up Talent Hunt in Nigeria


Emma Okonji

Next Economy, an initiative of the Dutch Foreign Ministry via the 1% Club, is in Nigeria, in search of talented technology start-ups with valuable ideas and solutions that could address specific societal challenges.

Next Economy, which has been in Nigeria for the past three months, mentoring technology start-ups and entrepreneurs, at the weekend, in Lagos, partnered Co-Creation Hub (CC-Hub), a Lagos based technology incubation centre, to organise a Crowdfunding Bootcamp, for the selection of start-ups with commercially viable solutions. Selected start-ups will be linked with international investors that will invest in their solutions and transform their business ideas into multi-million naira business with global recognition.

The Bootcamp was divided into sessions and they were considered for pitching & storytelling, social media strategy, the intricacies of creative campaigning, crowdfunding canvas and business modelling.
The most successful campaign of the day and the most favourite campaign of the day, is expected to win €500. After the campaign period of 30 days, a jury will reward the top seven startups with extra funding ranging from €5000, €3000, €2000 and €1000.

Next Economy aims to empower African youth in developing the talents and skills required to compete in the 21st century and create a future for themselves. The Next Economy believes in the ability of African youth to dream and bring their concepts to reality thereby changing their lives, and the lives of the people around them.

The Next Economy carries out its objectives by promoting three schemes aimed at encouraging employability, entrepreneurship and business skills essential for a successful career and life as an entrepreneur. The schemes are tagged ‘Make It Work’, ‘Get It Started’ and ‘Grow Your Business’ respectively.

Currently operating in three African countries including Nigeria, Next Economy collaborates with facilitators already on ground individual countries to carry out its prerogative. For example, in Nigeria The Next Economy partners with CoCreation Hub, Fate Foundation and SOS Village among others.

The Next Economy is currently running its programmes in Lagos and Abuja, which admits participants on a quarterly basis. Also in conjunction with Cocreation hub, The Next Economy also has a running partnership programme that mentors and guides early stage start-ups operational for the next three years.

Programme Manager for The Next Economy, Thijs van Bemmel, who was busy guiding participants at the Crowdfunding Bootcamp in Lagos, said he was impressed with the level of apps displayed by the participants, adding that a little mentor can provide the opportunity for some of them to be selected for crowdfunding.

“We create employability through internships and we help entrepreneurs and technology start-ups to raise funds from Crowdfunding to expand their scope and businesses. About 30 per cent of those we mentored in the past, were usually successful to get Crowdfunding. Our focus is to impact the next one billion people in the next few years and empower them through technology solution,” Bemmel said.

According to him, they were in Nigeria for the first time to organise mentorship for Crowdfunding and Nigeria is one of the most promising countries in the African economy. He said there is a lot of potential, knowledge and a market for growing companies and that coupled with issues as regards funding, he thinks crowdfunding is a perfect tool for young Nigerians to create value and fund their ideas.

Director of Programmes at Co-creation Hub Lagos, Femi Longe, said Crowdfunding has a lot of potential as a unit of generating capital. He encouraged participants to put in their best in order to attract Crowdfunding.

One of the participants, Ademola Mobola, who spoke with THISDAY, said she learnt a lot in the three months mentoring programme and expressed confidence that her solution, which is focused on fashion and lifestyle, would be selected for Crowdfunding.