The challenges of starting an enterprise especially in an emerging economy like Nigeria have stopped many young businesses from starting or scaling even when they do. The rise of incubation hubs and business accelerators like the two we review in this edition is playing a key role in encouraging the social enterprise community.
– By Damilola Oyewusi
Social entrepreneurs face a myriad of challenges much like traditional entrepreneurs that include poor access to capital, business knowledge gaps and building the right network. The thoughts of the amount of money and work required often stop young people at the ideation stage, cutting short the life of a potential life-changing business.
Incubation hubs across the country have been instrumental to the necessary proliferation of social entrepreneurship in the country. Beyond seed funding and access to investors, they provide mentorship, a strong network of business partners and an enabling environment to support innovation and entrepreneurship to solve socio-economic problems. Being a part of an incubation hub helps a start-up avoid some pitfalls that could easily kill new businesses.
With success stories like BudgIT, Wecyclers, and Mamalette, Co-creation Hub, popularly known as CcHUB has affirmed itself as a dependable and financially sustainable innovation hub. From governance to lifestyle, health and the environment, the hub provides support and funding to young entrepreneurs with socially conscious ideas.
From the Pitch-Drive to the Early Stage Venture Support and Growth Capital Fund, their programmes are strategically developed to serve entrepreneurs at different stages of their business journey. Working with Google, MacArthur Foundation, Bank of Industry, Facebook, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and several others, the company is able to make scarce resources and priced knowledge readily available to hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs that use their facility or sign up for their incubation programs.
The hub also provides learning opportunities for children with its education-focused projects such asRe:Learn, the Go-Ga project, the Educator Network and more, giving them early exposure to technology and enhancing learning environments across the schools they have a presence in.
The company also offers innovation consulting services to organizations, working with them to create programs that further mutually beneficial causes.
Entrepreneurs can access their free co-working space in Lagos, christened ‘The 6th Floor’ by earning bounty points for participating in community-generated challenges or get an office space for as little as N2000 per day.
The Wennovation Hub has a mission to foster innovation among youths in Nigeria, building its programmes around incubation, building an innovation ecosystem and offering business consultation services. The company offers co-working spaces in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja and Kaduna, giving young people easy and affordable access to resources like the internet, an office space and like-minded creative people.
Using a competition model, the hub receives applications for support and takes the most promising through training programs and design workshops during the Incubation program. Through its Acceleration program, the company has supported over 300 startups in their early stages with funding raised by startups within their founders’ network.
They also offer consultation services from ideas validation to business strategy based on research and years of experience.
Interested entrepreneurs can gain access to the hubs in Lagos and Ibadan on a daily plan with N1500.
Both companies are tech-oriented and part of the community now referred to as Yabacon Valley, leveraging the potential of technology for exponential growth and scalability. They also encourage collaboration and creative exchange of ideas with co-working spaces. Innovation hubs like these are springing up across the country and budding entrepreneurs have a chance to accelerate their businesses with their facilities and services.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Spark magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.