Entrepreneurs in Edo State are in for exciting opportunities as the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration is putting structures in place, such as the Edo Startup Fund, to enhance access to funding for small businesses to scale their operations.
Edo State Focal Person for Social Investment Programme (SIP), Ms Aladeshelu Abieyuwa, disclosed this in a chat with journalists in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The governor’s aide said the Obaseki-led administration wants to empower young people with ideas to start businesses or scale operations of existing Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), noting, “The governor has given them a platform to express themselves. He has provided seed capital for startups and to enable existing businesses to scale their operations so they can employ more people. He provided seed money for each registered company in November when he launched the Fund.
She noted that under the Edo Startup Fund, entrepreneurs are provided with early stage advisory and support to enable them survive the challenges of starting businesses in Nigeria, noting, “We know that startups often die within one or two years. What we have done is to take them through a two-week incubation period, during which we bring in coaches to train them on business best practices.
“They are trained on how to develop business plans and models as well as profitability studies. We also train them on how to do an elevator pitch. This is to prepare them to engage confidently with potential investors and sell their business ideas successfully. We also ensure that they go through enterprise development training so they can develop new products from their businesses. We do this every quarter in a year.
She noted that the Fund also provides networking opportunities for startups and links them to other institutional investors. “We are working with some institutions on certification and training. We are also linking up with angel investors so they can stake their monies in these companies. Some of the startups have struck deals with these investors, as we speak,” she added.
According to her, “We have just unveiled the startups to increase their visibility. They have brilliant ideas and were not getting recognition. So, we created the platform to enable them to pitch their businesses to mentors and investors. At the spot, four of them got people who were ready to take them up and invest in their businesses.”