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Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye
A view of the Yaba district in Lagos which has become the epicenter of Nigeria’s start-up sector.
YABA STRAIGHT

Nigerian incubator Co-Creation Hub has launched a $5 million investment fund

By Yomi Kazeem

As the tech ecosystem in Nigeria has grown and evolved over the years with the rise of start-ups and venture capital funds, Co-Creation Hub has been one of the most defining players in the space. Regarded as Nigeria’s first start-up incubator, Co-Creation Hub is based in the heart of Yaba, the acclaimed epicenter of Nigeria’s tech ecosystem and from its base, the incubator has housed start-ups, providing founders with grants and support, hosting tech events and offering partnerships.

In the last five years, the Co-Creation Hub incubator has been home to over 50 tech start-ups including BudgIT, a civic enterprise focused on simplifying government budgets as well as leading causes for government accountability, and WeCyclers, a waste recycling start-up which won a $50,000 prize from the Case Foundation, run by AOL co-founder Steve Case, in August.

Having morphed into more of an accelerator in the last few years, Co-Creation Hub has marked its fifth anniversary by announcing a landmark $5 million (1 billion naira) social innovation fund. Called Growth Capital, the fund is supported by impact investment firm, Omidyar Network as well as local based partners, Venture Garden Group and the Bank of Industry and will focus on social tech ventures providing local solutions to press needs.

According to a statement by Co-Creation Hub, the Growth Capital fund will aim to ‘deepen support for early stage social enterprises solving local problems across various sectors of the Nigerian economy’. The Growth Capital Fund will provide funding from $25,000 to $150,000 and will start taking applications from January next year. Co-Creation Hub has gained credible experience with regard to funding local tech enterprises and start-ups. In 2014, it announced a $500,000 investment fund to support early stage start-ups.

Funding remains a sore point for start-ups in Nigeria’s tech space with one of the major sentiments expressed by investors being a relative lack of profitable exits but, just as it has played a key role with regard to aiding the success of start-ups over the years, Co-Creation Hub is once again filling an important void.