News Column

Tech Startups - Inability to Access Domestic, Foreign Markets Still Challenging - - Okeremi

July 21, 2014

Emeka Aginam

Although start-ups in Nigeria and the rest of the African sub-region are developing real-world solutions expected to address local challenges, infrastructural challenges like inability in accessing domestic and foreign market, funding, mentor-ship, among others are still challenging to the growth of startups in the region.

Towards digital economy

With no fewer than forty start-ups qualified to launch their product on the DEMO Africa stage in September this financial year, Yele Okeremi, the Institute of Software Professional of Nigeria, ISPON, representative on the Board of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, who disclosed this in an interview with Sunday Vanguard at the weekend noted that these challenges must be addressed if Nigeria and other African countries must be a digital economy in the knowledge economy.

Potentials of software Nigeria

With global community heading to Nigeria this September for Demo Africa, Okeremi who is the Managing Director of Precise Financial Systems Ltd, said with optimum that the event is expected to unlock the potentials of software Nigeria.

To connect African startups

According to Okeremi who is the Chairman, local organizing committee of Demo Africa, the capacity building event will connect African startups to the global technology ecosystem.

"Demo Africa is an initiative of the US department of States for Africa.

"The idea of Demo Africa is to get young Africans who have the capability and technical know-how to perform well but who do not probably have things like business mentorship or funding.

"And so, what the Demo tries to do is to bring the young kids together with investors and mentors and hope that their business or little idea that started small will be taken up to something that will change the world positively" he explained.

Prospects for the startups

"There are very high prospects for the startups. This is because these forty finalists have been selected through many criteria. One is relevant to society. So, it shows clearly that any of the forty finalists could have the opportunity to change the world possibilities.

The Minister for Communication Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson, who is very passionate about youth capacity building had earlier commended the software incubators saying that, " Demo Africa presents another opportunity for African tech startups. Africa may have missed out on the industrial revolution, but we surely will not in the ICT revolution.

Nigeria, Africa in ICT map

"Through innovation, we will put Nigeria and Africa in general on the ICT map. Realizing the huge potential of the software industry, we have put in place a set of initiatives that will assist the tech startups to create successful businesses, which will directly create jobs and wealth."

It would be recalled that Nigeria topped the list in Demo Africa with a total number of fourteen start-ups qualifying followed by Kenya, Ghana and Egypt. Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa and Ethiopia will each have two representatives while Tunisia, Benin, Cameroon, Uganda and Zimbabwe have earned their space at the DEMO Africa platform.

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Source: AllAfrica

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