You would probably have heard of them, especially during business discussions. They are called the bastions of the present and future age of doing business in Nigeria, nay Africa. They are referred to as Business Incubators.
Drawing a parallel for the actual incubators used in medical parlance, business incubators created and are executing the important task of preparing the average start-up business in Nigeria in dealing with a complex business ecosystem, that transcends borders and nationalities.
Incubators are assuming extreme importance not only for the survival of businesses in the online, digital age but also because incubators are a beacon for what the future of business and entrepreneurship will look like in the years to come.
Coincidentally, you will find that Lagos, Nigeria has gradually assumed the role as the capital of the business start-ups in West Africa, and in extension Sub-Saharan Africa. The following business incubators operate from the Nigeria: 88mph. 440.ng, Spark and Passion incubator to mention but a few.
The following are the ways by which Incubators are helping the Nigerian Entrepreneur navigate the unpredictable waters of the world of business in Nigeria:
10 Ways Incubators help Nigerian Entrepreneur
1. Incubators Help Nigerian Entrepreneurs to Focus
You will appreciate the fact that when your mind is attuned to one task only, then it becomes easy to attain mastery of that task over the course of time. This analogy rings true for what incubators do for the average Nigerian Entrepreneur.
Incubators shield the Nigerian entrepreneur from unwanted distractions; more so you are tasked with setting goals and targets and building up a timeline for the attainment of these objectives.
You time in a business incubator will see you being held accountable for the success or failure of your ventures, because you are part of system that periodically assesses your performance at your venture.
2. It Help Nigerian Entrepreneurs Stress-test their Business Ideas
Incubators are not set up on a whim. If you are a part of one, you would have gone through a vigorous application process, that sort of endorses the business idea you came up with. However, that is just where the story begins.
The incubator will then help you put the finer aspects of your business idea to the test. Incubators will help put up real life situations and simulations that will assess how well the business idea will fare in your desired markets.
3. Incubators help in Creating a Product to market Fit
An incubator serves you in several capacities. One of these functions is to ensure that your idea is rigorously tested and tried, which should culminate in the creation of a product/service that can capture the target market.
The incubator will help you refine the rough edges of the product/service, so that you are able to come up with an idea that is reproducible and scalable.
4. Incubators Provide a Network of Contacts
You must have heard of the saying that your net worth is based on the strength of your network. Successful incubators brim with hundreds of graduates, who usually go on to run successful business enterprises.
As an intern at an incubator, you can utilize this opportunity by establishing lines of communication and mentorship, where you can draw inspiration from the experiences of past participants; especially as a first time entrepreneur.
5. Incubators Provide Financing
You will readily agree that financing plays a critical role in the smooth running of any business enterprise. If your business start –up will break ground in a new or existing market, funding will be required at some point. Being a part of an incubator will expose your business to well-structured and best international business practices.
This will serve you in good stead when you are seeking financing, as a number of incubators are connected to Angel investors, Venture Capitalists as well as business NGOs. Sometimes, incubators themselves can provide the financing you need for your business idea as well.
6. Incubators provide needed Infrastructure
Challenges facing the average entrepreneur in Nigeria include securing adequate accommodation and other infrastructural facilities. You will be glad to know that incubators take this burden off you, by providing decent work spaces, uninterrupted power supply, computers, internet access as well as other necessary inputs, so that you can focus on the more important task of getting your business off the ground.
7. Incubators are Centers of Learning
Arguably the strongest selling point, incubators are fertile grounds for the fertilization and cross-fertilization of ideas and opportunities. It is imperative for you as entrepreneur to attend an incubator with a willing disposition to learn and unlearn as the case might necessitate.
You will do well to engage fully in the workshops and trainings, to contribute effectively to think-tanks and strategy sessions as well as participate in other capacity building activities. It is also very important that you apply all the lessons learned to your fledging business.
8. Incubators Provide Mentorship
As an entrepreneur, you will require advice and a different perspective on issues that will arise in the course of executing your business model. Incubators are set-up to provide linkages between successful industry players and fledging entrepreneurs like you.
9. It Provide Entrepreneurs with a Philosophy
One of the core reasons why people succeed at business is the uncanny belief in the ability of their idea to surpass every challenge and to meet a need/want.
Incubators will feed your mind and your psychology with a can-do attitude, especially since you will be subjected to the rigors of sound business decision making and execution.
10. Incubators provide Entrepreneurs with a Business Model
Incubators function on a strategy of best product/service to market fit and they are structured to ensure that the customer is the overriding factor behind every business decision made. As an entrepreneur, your time spent at a business incubator will open your mind to the creation of a suitable business model that will be a fit for your idea.