Amidst the uncertainties the novel COVID-19 pandemic is causing globally and indeterminable time the world would come out of it, the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), has resolved to continue with its planned activities aimed at increasing the capabilities of the startups in the country by leveraging on digital technology.
In a closing ceremony of the maiden online edition of Start UP Clinic, Abuja, one of such events already slated at pre-pandemic time, the Director General of the Agency, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE delivered a motivational speech to 20 startups who have been in virtual booth camp in the last five days. In his remark, the Director General acknowledged that, “things are not going to be the same after the pandemic and the world economic order is going to change” which he said would lead to closing down of lots of businesses, advised the Startups to possess both the entrepreneurial mindset and entrepreneurial environment capabilities in other to survive during and at the post pandemic world.
The DG stated that, to build these capabilities, the startups need to adjust their tactics, change course, and ignore the conventional wisdom that says; “go to school read hard, pass with flying colors and get a good job. No, there is not going to be jobs for you. I think what we need now is; you need to go to school, be a streetwise, hack the problem and be an entrepreneur.”
Mallam Abdullahi noted that by creating an entrepreneurial mindset, they would become successful startups adding that there is a significant difference between people who start their own companies and truly successful entrepreneurs. “Many people start their own businesses but few people actually achieve the kind of success they dreamed of at the start. What is the difference between people who start up their own business and successful entrepreneurs? The answer is the entrepreneur’s mindset,” he added.
He enjoined the startups to have a mindset of creating businesses for themselves, rather n participant at the startup clinic, Abuja
than creating jobs to ensure continuity in case of their absence while the companies are still active. According to the DG, “this means that you have been able to create a functional entity, not just a job position where you do all of the work. This is the type of mindset you must have if you want to become a truly successful entrepreneur.”
“Creating an entrepreneurial mindset starts at the beginning, before you do anything to start up your company. It means having a grand vision and passion. It means carefully considering all that you want your company to be before it even exists. It means imparting your vision, your dreams and your principles into the company right from outset. You need to ask yourself meaningful questions so that you are able to focus on more than just the day to day functions of running your business. Your business must be built upon your dreams, your passions and your principles. This is the difference between a job and a business.”
He challenged them to leverage on the two capabilities to grow their start up to becoming unicorn businesses which means a privately- owned company that worth at least one billion USD.
While admonishing them on how to attain the feat of becoming a unicorn company, the DG stated that they could become Unicorn companies within short period by following the playbook of successful startups followed which are just three simple rules of beginning with a plan to disrupt an existing industry; injecting capital to grow as rapidly as possible and tolerating high risk in a rush to conquer and dominate the market segment.
Mallam Abdullahi noted that in the region, there are only three Unicorn Companies and while South Africa has two, Nigeria can only boast of one. He however stated that our country has a competitive advantage to be among countries with many unicorn companies because of her digitally native population and untapped market. He added that the government is creating an entrepreneurial environment for the start up to thrive. He listed the government’s efforts to include, the culture, infrastructure and support.
Mr. Nnamidi Nwachuku, one of the participating Startups, in his remarks observed that the Online Start up Clinic as organized by the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE) has greatly impacted on their knowledge positively. He noted that the experience shared by many facilitators at the five days event would provide them the impetus to survive in their respective market segment.
He said, “We have similar experience like the Jigawa edition which was physical. The impact was good as if it was physical. The
evaluation form would help us to improve on our innovations. Like me, I have vision to build my business to become a unicorn without looking at the investor and I know it is realistic because I know my capabilities.”
The OIIE National Coordinator, Dr Amina Magaji Sambo urged the participants to adhere to all the guidance availed them during the period and ensure that they keep updating the office of their progresses and challenges.