Nigeria: Entrepreneurialism in their DNA

Everyone in West Africa recognizes that Nigerians are by definition very entrepreneurial. It’s in their DNA. Faced with everyday challenges, it is not uncommon to see Nigerians find solutions. Although they represent only 20% of the population in Africa, in the 2015 African Entrepreneurship Award, Nigerians submitted 47% of all business proposals across the continent.

The entrepreneurial spirit that inspires in Nigeria must continue to grow. Already the most populated country in Africa, by 2050, Nigeria’s population will swell to over 400 million inhabitants, positioning itself as the third most populous country in the world. That number may even reach one billion by 2100.

In a country with an uncertain economic landscape, a growing middle class that includes thousands of ambitious entrepreneurs must carry Nigeria into a bright economic future.

Domestic Markets Dominated by Local Entrepreneurs

Only 3.8% of entrepreneurs willing to invest in Nigeria come from other countries, the lowest ratio in Africa. (Compared to 28% in ECOWAS, for example.) Nigeria’s substantial domestic market is large enough to start, test, and gradually scale businesses into other lands.


Mature Entrepreneurial Ecosystem


In Nigeria, 71% of business proposals in the 2015 African Entrepreneurship Award were geared toward activities that reflect the maturity of entrepreneurial activity. Five sectors were targeted: education, industry, ICT, agriculture, and renewable energy and sustainable growth. These sectors often involve more advanced processing industries and digital components.

Distribution of projects submitted by industry (Nigeria)
Nigeria Stat1
These entrepreneurs are not only mature, but often concerned with social concerns. For example, the 10.5 million Nigerian children regularly excluded from school because of power shortages, and, the urgent need for a diversified agricultural sector.

Mature entrepreneurs are supported by mature business incubators and hubs. In Nigeria, Wennovation Hub and CoCreation Hub have all been targeted by investors. Last year, Nigerian start-ups gathered 23% of the $185.7million raised by all African start-ups, according to VC4Africa and CB Insights.

During the 2015 African Entrepreneurship Award, three Nigerian projects reached the final round. The first SolarKobo, provides solar installations at an initial zero cost. The second PushCV, is a recruitment platform with a base of already shortlisted candidates. The third, Max-On Demand Delivery Services, is a delivery platform for retail merchants.


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