NITDA Launches Committee to Implement Nigeria Startup Act

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has initiated a crucial step to enforce the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA) by establishing a Startup Labelling Committee.

This committee, inaugurated by NITDA’s Director-General Kashifu Inuwa CCIE, includes representatives from both public and private sectors.

Enacted on October 19, 2022, the NSA provides a legal framework to promote the growth of Nigerian startups. A key feature of the Act is the Startup Label, which identifies eligible startups, granting them access to various benefits outlined in the NSA.

The Startup Label is awarded based on a detailed assessment process to ensure compliance with the Act’s criteria. The newly inaugurated committee is tasked with managing this assessment process.

In his speech at the inauguration, Inuwa highlighted President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commitment to creating an environment that supports young Nigerian innovators.

He stressed the vital role startups play in driving the nation’s economic growth and the importance of the committee’s work in nurturing these enterprises.

Inuwa also detailed the government’s planned initiatives to reduce barriers, offer financial support, and provide mentorship opportunities to young entrepreneurs. He expressed confidence that with proper support, these innovators could turn their ideas into successful businesses, significantly contributing to job creation and economic prosperity, aligning with President Tinubu’s goal to “reform the economy to deliver sustained inclusive growth.”

He called on stakeholders to collaborate in building a robust ecosystem that empowers the next generation of entrepreneurs to succeed and contribute to national progress.

Inuwa emphasized the committee’s role in establishing a strong legal and institutional framework for the Startup Act’s implementation. Their collective efforts are expected to ensure a participatory process that benefits all stakeholders in the Nigerian startup ecosystem.

“The committee’s composition underscores the importance of collaboration. By including representatives from government agencies, industry experts, investors, and startup founders, we ensure a diverse range of perspectives and experiences, leading to a more effective labelling process and fostering the growth of Nigerian startups,” he stated.

Victoria Fabunmi, National Coordinator of the Office for Nigeria Digital Innovation, outlined the advisory committee’s terms of reference, which include:

– Reviewing and evaluating startup applications for the label based on Act-defined and additional criteria.
– Periodically updating labelling criteria to stay aligned with industry trends.
– Impartially evaluating applications for the Startup Label.
– Recommending the issuance or rejection of the Startup Label based on set criteria.
– Providing feedback and recommendations for improvement to startups whose applications are rejected.
– Engaging with startups for further clarity if needed.
– Reviewing activities and data on labelling to identify opportunities and gaps for policymakers.
– Monitoring workload capacity and recommending application limits to ensure manageable workloads, considering the committee’s part-time status.
– Adhering to a Code of Conduct, signed before commencing duties.

Fabunmi also noted that the Labelling Committee consists of nine members: four representatives from incubators, two from the public sector (NITDA, NSIA), two from civil society, and a Portal Coordinator serving as Secretary.

The inauguration of the Startup Labelling Committee is a significant milestone in implementing the Nigeria Startup Act. With a multi-stakeholder approach guiding the process, the Act is poised to unlock the vast potential of Nigeria’s startup ecosystem and contribute to the nation’s economic development.

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