iDEA Nigeria opens applications for startups, calls for mentors

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Nigerian government-backed non-profit Lagos incubator iDEA has opened applications for early-stage or growth startups looking to take part in its incubator programme, while also launching startup mentoring programme GEM.

The Information Technology Developers Entrepreneurship Accelerator (iDEA) was launched in April 2013 in order to assist Nigerian entrepreneurs and accelerate the development of the tech industry in Nigeria.

Its incubator programme aims to support startups in becoming high-growth companies, and accepts businesses in a number of fields. Interested startups can apply here before May 15.

“We are looking for innovative businesses – whether run by individuals or teams – with innovative solutions in finance, enterprise (especially for SMEs), e-commerce, m-commerce and healthcare that can be commercialised within two years, with the potential to have a high impact in the marketplace or community,” iDEA said.

iDEA, which was assisted through a government grant on the recommendation of a committee set up by the minister, was established by tech entrepreneurs and investors Dotun Sulaiman and Pius Okigbo as a non-profit organisation, and is currently overseeing 46 teams in various stages of their entrepreneurial journeys.

Disrupt Africa reported last month iDEA launched the Fostering and Accelerating Startups in Tech (FAST) entrepreneurship programme, which involves carefully selected courses and a focus on startup needs.

FAST is a 120-hour capacity development plan, which includes courses focused on, among other things, concept development, business models, feasibility and risk assessment, customer service, basic bookkeeping, and networking skills. It welcomes applications from startups at the prototype phase of business development, on the verge of market launch.

Meanwhile, the incubator is also launching startup mentoring programme GEM on May 22, calling on mentors to apply to offer guidance to young entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs, experts and other professionals are invited to register on the GEM Mentor website.

This follows a December partnership with MicroMentor, which looks to connect entrepreneurs with mentorship from across the world. The partnership looks to create a diaspora-focused community of volunteer mentors to assist iDEA entrepreneurs and startups.

“iDEA enables diaspora members to connect to each other and to opportunities to foster development in their countries of heritage,” the incubator said.

“Now you can use iDEA’s network to mobilise your business potential, or to use your business expertise to give back to a budding entrepreneur.”

Those interested in participating in the scheme either as a mentor or as an entrepreneur seeking mentorship in order to build their skills and businesses can sign up online for free.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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