Source: Shalom Femi/Tech City

The Federal government of Nigeria has launched a $672 million fund to support young entrepreneurs in the tech and creative sectors of the country. 

Launched at the state House in Abuja last Friday, under the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i- DICE), the programme is to assist young Nigerians between the ages of 15 – 35 years who are entrepreneurs involved in the early stages of creative, innovative and technology-enabled ventures.

In his keynote address at the event, the Nigerian Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo stated, “I believe that it is now essential to start a coordinated approach towards innovation on the continent, bringing together all stakeholders to coordinate efforts at scaling up investments and building programs that provide the right enabling environment and produce talent pipelines that support the growth of innovation on the continent.”

The i- Dice is set up to effectively address constraints such as access to capital and capacity limitations of startups. The programme is expected to create 6 million jobs.

Beyond job creation, Vice president, Yemi Osinbajo added that, “the programme is a government initiative to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital tech and creative industries and especially targeted at job creation.”  

VP Osinbajo commended the progress made so far in the Nigerian tech space, pointing out that it has been primarily championed by venture capital investments. 

“Nigeria currently has five out of the 11 digital companies that have reached the status of a unicorn with a market valuation of one billion dollars. Names that come to mind include Jumia, Interswitch, Opay, Flutterwave and Andela, mainly in the fintech space,’’ he said.

i-DICE is co-funded by

  •  the African Development Bank – $170m,
  •  the Islamic Development Bank – N70m
  •   Agence Française de Développement-$116m.
  • $271m is expected from the private sector. 

 The Federal Government of Nigeria is also actively invested with a counterpart contribution of $45 million through the Bank of Industry loans for qualifying start-ups.

The Bank of Industry is officially the Implementing Agency, and will coordinate the day-to-day activities of the project.

Source: Shalom Femi/Tech City