by Adeniyi Ogunfowoke
Startups are the backbone of any economy. They are established by young Nigerians who make efforts to secure capital and start something on their own. This is not a simple task. Ask any young person who owns a business, you will be taken aback by their experiences and tales of running one in Nigeria. These startups which can be likened to small scale businesses have provided employment and contributed their own quota via creative ideas, to either offer solutions to societal problems or a service. Despite this, there are quite a number of challenges they are encountering and are quite worried about. Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency, discuss some of these worries.
The issue of electricity can’t be over flogged. If power can be stroked off the list of things startups are worried about, it will have an overall impact on the startup. First of all, you will not factor in money for buying a generator or fuel into your budget. Such a money will be invested in the business or employ more hands. But power is epileptic. You will be gobsmacked if you see the amount even big organizations budget for huge generators and diesel let alone startups.
Kudos to the Nigerian government for launching the 60-day national plan for ease of doing business in the country. It is good but it is more than just launching a plan. The time, money and stress of registering just a startup are discouraging. This is why many startups just register their business name while they leave the other paperwork for later. Business registration should be automated so that it won’t take more than a week to register a startup. In fact, priority should be given to startups.
Thanks to venture capitalists and seed investors who are supporting these startups to keep them afloat. Obviously, this is usually after you have invested a certain amount of your capital in the business. Where do you get the capital from? It is usually from friends and family. Banks are likely to deny you loans. And of course, the Naira to dollar fluctuations is also an issue.
Little tangible corporate or government support
Corporate organizations rarely support startups. They prefer to sponsor or support entertainment programmes or ideas. If you pitch your idea to them and it is not entertainment related, you are probably wasting your precious time. Corporate organizations should sponsor competitions, where individuals with startups ideas can compete and get, will get financial support to implement the idea. As for the government, they are trying but there is more to be done.
There are different bodies that collect taxes in Nigeria. And they charge to pay all sorts of rates. Although some organisations fail to pay tax, it’s not their fault sometimes. The government needs to block these loopholes and harmonize the taxation process. Hence, startups will know that they are not double taxed.
Lack of patronage from Nigerians
It is worrying that Nigerians don’t buy made in Nigeria goods. They prefer foreign to Nigeria made. Patronizing Nigerian startups doesn’t only means you are supporting them, it shows you recognize their