Meet Lagos’ family-centric incubator

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Nigeria’s entrepreneurship capital, Lagos, has a new incubator. But this one has a twist – Fastlaunch wants to encourage the development of family-run social impact startups.

Fastlaunch actually opened its doors for “beta testing” in 2014 – providing seed funding of up to US$250, mentorship, training events, and conducting social impact analysis from a 25-person space in Obepi, Lagos.

The incubator focuses on supporting people wishing to transition out of employed work into entrepreneurship and business ownership; while also hoping to encourage the creation of family-run businesses which will create recurring value for generations to come.

Things were going well, so in June this year, the incubator – which is run with support from Odyssey Capital Partners and Mishpakha Foundation – moved into a larger space, and co-founder George Olufemi Akande quit his corporate job to run Fastlaunch full time.

“[I am] an example of the passing-down of a family business and it’s wealth transfer. I am but contributing to holding the business, until another person in a generation after me, can take over,” Akande says.

“That is how we believe families in Africa and Nigeria wishing to start a business should see their business, while also developing services or products that have social impact.”

According to Akande, Nigeria has a poor record of building multi-generational businesses, with many companies having a short lifespan.

“This is where Fastlaunch comes into play. We encourage and empower families, to develop businesses that can be successfully handed over to their children or a trust,” he says.

Fastlaunch offers a range of membership packages, which provide access to various features – basic co-working infrastructure, a number of hours of legal and tax advice per month, networking opportunities, mentoring, and access to seed funding.

“We believe our model will help families run a business that has social impact,” Akande says.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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