In October 2020, Nigeria’s inflation rate rose by 14.23% (year-on-year), the highest in over two years. This follows a trend of increasing inflation rates since the beginning of the pandemic. A trend that is likely to continue well into 2021. While every country around the world has been affected by the pandemic, developing countries like Nigeria have been hit the hardest. From full or partial lock-downs which prevented people from working for months, to job lay-offs, to the plummet in the price of crude oil, the economic situation in Nigeria is the worst it has been in a while. This has had a significant negative effect on businesses, especially start-ups, which by definition tend to lack funding, have a small customer base and are looking to scale operations. In the midst of this economic downturn, Impact Hub Lagos (IHL) is one organisation that has been providing necessary support for Nigerian ventures and start-ups to enable them survive and even thrive during this period.
Impact Hub Lagos is part of the Impact Hub Global Network which offers support for entrepreneurs, businesses and other organisations by offering collaborative spaces and programmes to build and develop ventures. Their current programmes include the Venture Growth Series and the New Economy Booster Programme. The Venture Growth Series consists of workshops aimed at educating entrepreneurs on the skills and tools necessary to grow their business. The programme which has been running for the past 3 months has provided entrepreneurs with the resources they need. This programme has been very successful in supporting entrepreneurs, but the most exciting is the New Economy Booster Programme that launched in August this year.
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As the economic effects of the pandemic became apparent, Impact Hub recognised the need for an in depth project to support entrepreneurs and venture leaders. This led to the New Economy Booster (NEB) Programme. The NEB is a 6 month long programme that aims to provide businesses, NGOs and other ventures with the tools and resources they need to flourish despite COVID. The 50 participants that were selected for the incubation phase have received access to coaching in marketing and financial planning, as well as access to a community of fellow entrepreneurs and to the IHL network. The top 15 ventures from this group who reach the acceleration phase will undergo detailed and bespoke diagnostics, and will be given targeted support with business execution, as well as access to potential investors. The programme focuses on social impact ventures in 5 key areas of economy that have been the most impacted by the pandemic, namely Education, Agriculture, Culture and Creative, Healthcare and Trade. Almost 2 months into the programme and the participants have already expressed that it has been extremely helpful in helping them build their brands, plan their finances, network with their peers and so improve the prospects of their business succeeding.
Impact Hub Lagos is committed to helping local ventures achieve success despite the current economic climate, and these programmes are some of the ways it is doing so. From providing access to funding, to equipping entrepreneurs with knowledge on how to grow their brands, to advising on financial management, Impact Hub is providing ventures with exactly what they need to grow during and post-COVID.