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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 up their operations.
The state focal person for Social Investment Programme (SIP), Aladeshelu Abieyuwa, disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
According to the governor’s aide, 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 start-ups 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.”
Under the Edo Start-up Fund, entrepreneurs are provided with early stage advisory and support to enable them survive the challenges of starting businesses in Nigeria, she said, noting, “We know that start-ups 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.”
The Fund also provides networking opportunities for start-ups and links them to other institutional investors, she said. “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 start-ups have struck deals with these investors, as we speak,” she said.
“We have just unveiled the start-ups 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,” she noted.