The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has announced the commencement of the application process for the Bridge to MassChallenge Nigeria Programme (B2MC).
Recall that the agency signed a partnership arrangement with MassChallege, a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators earlier this year. The partnership is aimed at stimulating economic vitality and job creation in Nigeria by catalyzing entrepreneurial activity and supporting entrepreneurs as they develop and execute on game-changing ideas, digital technologies, and discoveries.
Speaking at the official launch of the application process, the NITDA director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, said a vibrant startup ecosystem was highly critical to the future of the country because it was vital to finding solutions to the nation’s numerous challenges.
“Innovation is a prominent way of creating prosperity for all and lifting countries out of poverty. Considering this, NITDA and MassChallenge have continued to partner in this new initiative to catalyze and foster the growth and success of the country’s startup ecosystem in line with the vision of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria,” he said.
Earlier, the MassChallenge chief executive officer, Siobhan Dullea, said “MassChallenge is excited to be working with NITDA to help entrepreneurs in Nigeria grow locally while having access to the MassChallenge global network. We look forward to working with NITDA to continue to support and grow the Nigerian innovation ecosystem.”
A statement by NITDA’s head, corporate affairs and external relations, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, said the commencement of the application process followed a comprehensive stakeholder engagement with key players in the ecosystem. These, according to her, include government, academia, enterpreneurs, angels and VCs, corporate organisations, media, and influencers.
She pointed out that the application was open to entrepreneurs who would want to take their businesses to the next level. Early-stage and growth-stage startups from all over the country, working on innovative solutions from any industry are encouraged to apply, she added.
The spokesperson of the agency disclosed that successful applicants would participate in an intensive, 4-month programme that would encompass both online and in-person portions where startups develop and implement bespoke project plans to further their localisation journeys.
According to her, they will also receive:
· tailored mentoring and coaching offered by NITDA and other local mentors, local and global mentors of the MassChallenge network and the entrepreneurial ecosystem;
· tailored curriculum based on startups’ specific needs;
· investment opportunities by facilitating connections to investors and a private demo-day; and
· access to the MassChallenge global network.
Interested applicants and those wishing to learn more about the programme are encouraged to visit the B2MC Nigeria website.