Nigeria: NITDA DG Launches Committee for Nigeria Startup Act Implementation

NITDA DG Launches Committee for Nigeria Startup Act Implementation
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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has inaugurated a Startup Labelling Committee to spearhead the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA). This strategic move, led by NITDA’s Director-General Kashifu Inuwa, includes representatives from both the public and private sectors.

Enacted on October 19th, 2022, the NSA provides a legal and institutional framework to support the growth and development of Nigerian startups. A key feature of the Act is the Startup Label, which recognizes eligible startups and grants them access to the benefits outlined in the Act. The newly formed committee will oversee the assessment and validation process to ensure startups meet the eligibility criteria.

Commitment to Innovation

At the inauguration ceremony, Inuwa highlighted President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commitment to creating a supportive environment for young Nigerian innovators. He underscored the vital role startups play in driving economic development and the importance of the committee’s work in nurturing these enterprises.

Inuwa detailed the government’s initiatives aimed at reducing barriers and providing financial assistance and mentorship to young entrepreneurs. He expressed optimism about the future, emphasizing that with the right support, startups could transform their ideas into thriving enterprises, contributing to job creation and Nigeria’s economic prosperity.

Collaborative Effort

Inuwa urged stakeholders to collaborate in building a robust ecosystem that empowers the next generation of entrepreneurs. He stated that the committee’s work is crucial for establishing a strong legal and institutional framework for the NSA’s successful implementation. The committee’s diverse composition, including government agencies, industry experts, investors, and startup founders, is expected to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the labelling process.

Committee Responsibilities

Victoria Fabunmi, National Coordinator for the Office for Nigeria Digital Innovation, outlined the committee’s responsibilities. These include:

  • Reviewing and evaluating startup applications for the label based on the Act’s criteria and additional quality standards.
  • Periodically updating the labelling criteria to align with industry trends.
  • Conducting impartial evaluations of submitted applications and recommending the issuance or rejection of the Startup Label.
  • Providing feedback and recommendations for improvement if an application is rejected.
  • Engaging with startups for further clarification if necessary.
  • Reviewing previous activities and data to identify opportunities and gaps for policymakers.
  • Assessing workload capacity and recommending a fair ceiling for the number of applications to be considered per period.

The committee members, who will serve on a non-full-time basis, must adhere to a Code of Conduct.

Composition of the Committee

The Labelling Committee comprises nine members from various sectors:

  • Four representatives from incubators (ISN Rep, North, and South).
  • Two representatives from the public sector (NITDA, NSIA).
  • Two representatives from civil society.
  • One Portal Coordinator, who will serve as the Secretary.

A Milestone for Nigeria’s Startup Ecosystem

The inauguration of the Startup Labelling Committee represents a significant milestone in implementing the Nigeria Startup Act. With a multi-stakeholder committee guiding the process, the Act aims to unlock the vast potential of Nigeria’s startup ecosystem, significantly contributing to the nation’s economic development.

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