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.