9 February 2018

Nigeria: Why African Startups Are Challenged - Google Chiefs

For technology startups coming out of Nigeria, and Africa, the challenge of lack of product scalability, and poor mentorship may continue to pose serious limitations to their growth. These are aside others, including access to finances, connectivity, market size, and changing consumer needs.

As identified by Google chiefs, on Wednesday, at the ongoing Global Accelerator and Launchpad Programme, in San Francisco, United States, startups needed to change the way people consume products and services.

According to them, creating a business that does not have qualities that can change consumption patterns is a problem.

Product Manager, Google, Or Zelig, admitted that being a startup could be very challenging, especially when funding products differentiation, culture of the country, and company to be considered. However, he said these identified challenges are among the reasons the Accelerator Launchpad Programmes, are created to help startups, especially from the technology ecosystem.

While stressing that Google currently focused on startups from emerging markets such as Nigeria, he noted that the next target for the firm was to reach the next billion people with technology.

"Launch Pad is Google's global acceleration initiative. We use it to help startups build good companies and match them around the best companies globally," he stated.

To Luke Wroblewski, also a Product Manager, startups must measure the kind of design that works specifically for the task; focus on core features, grow critical engagement and ensure adequate ergonomics.

Wroblewski advised startups to stake a balance between quantity and quality to create a lasting solution.

While admitting that startups from the region faces a lot challenges, the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, OneFi, trading as Paylater, a Nigerian startup at the event, ChijiokeDozie, noted that in the Fintech space, "it is difficult to escape Google."

Dozie said product scaling, business and people connection, hiring and getting the right people on board are challenges startups face in the region.

To one of the Google Mentors and The Guardian Contributor, Victor Asemota, the company is committed to Africa.

Asemota said the programme enables startups to see the opportunities in the ecosystem and tap into it significantly.

The Google Mentor, who disclosed that the search giant has set up a launchpad space in Nigeria to help developers from next month, said the accelerator programmes are not short, but long term oriented expected to reposition especially startups from the region for greater exposures.

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