Catherine Colonnade, the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of France, has noted that the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (I-DICE) program in Nigeria could create 65,000 startups in Nigeria: ‘The program will create more than 65,000 start-ups, 150,000 direct jobs in the technology and creative industries sectors, and approximately 1.3 million indirect jobs,’’ she said’.
The $600 million program which has the support of the French Development Agency, the African Development Bank), the Islamic Development Bank (ISDB) and Nigeria’s the Bank of Industry (BOI), is promising because it has the capacity to help our young people.
Yet, looking at the statements, it is evident that the critical indicators and KPIs are not well structured. Yes, I-DICE cannot create 65,000 startups but could create 65,000 small businesses. Indeed, there is a massive distinction between a startup and a small business, and lack of that understanding is one of the reasons why we have not developed the appropriate policy tools to help startups in Nigeria.
A startup scales and rapidly, but a small business does not. You can have that neighbourhood shop with mom and dad as workers, for two decades, serving your street (a small business), but a startup will grow, scale and hire many people. So, startups have inherent genes of fast growth while small businesses may not.
(Of course, every startup begins as a small business, but rapidly moves into a scaling phase within a short time, unlike a small business which remains there.)
Sure, I commend the vision of I-DICE, but if truly they want to create startups in Nigeria, they should go back to the drawing table, and restructure it because the 65,000 target is impossible!
“The programme will create more than 65,000 start-ups, 150,000 direct jobs in the technology and creative industries sectors and approximately 1.3 million indirect jobs.’’
Speaking on behalf of the vice president, Tijani said Shettima champions youth development and the Nigerian government’s efforts to boost the employability of young people by focusing on promising careers in the digital, cultural and creative industries.
“As part of our efforts to stimulate the growth of the Nigerian economy and mainstream the application of technology in critical sectors, we welcome the support of the French government as they collaborate with us to leapfrog technological advancements for the benefit of our startup ecosystem.
“This funding from the AFD for the I-DICE programme is a testament to France’s historical commitment to the growth of startups which is evidenced by its position as a leading startup destination in Europe”.
He said the I-DICE programme and the launching of France’s contribution through the signature of the Financing Agreement between the AFD and FG are perfectly in line with the existing political will and momentum to advance young Nigerians.
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