After serving an eight-year term as the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai has revealed his intention to establish a $100 million fund with the goal of expanding startup investments in Nigeria outside of Lagos..
This fund will be managed from Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, with El-Rufai contributing $2 million. It is slated to kickstart operations in 2024, with El-Rufai taking on the role of part-time board chairman. Jimi Lawal, Hafiz Bayero, Eyo Ekpo, and Kabir Yabo will join him as directors.
According to Business Day, the fund will likely attract international investors who may lack the time and local expertise for hands-on investment in Nigeria. Notably, the fund will remain open to startups across various sectors, prioritizing founders who can bring valuable contributions to the global stage.
Leveraging his extensive political network cultivated over nearly three decades, El-Rufai aims to assist startups in navigating regulatory challenges and gaining access to essential capital.
Young individuals require both mentoring and financial support to kickstart their ventures. They conceive their ideas and assess their viability, while we facilitate access because they may lack the necessary connections. They often lack contact with ministers, presidents, or regulatory bodies, whereas we have established connections and understand the challenges they must navigate.
This announcement coincides with a renewed push for development in northern Nigeria. Just last month, Surrayah Ahmad and Sanusi Ismaila introduced a $20 million fund dedicated to investing in founders in the region. This fund aims to invest up to $200,000 in startups across Africa, with over half of its investments earmarked for the n
The fund’s primary goal is to bridge the investment gap in this area, providing valuable mentorship and assistance in fundraising to the companies it supports.
Surrayah Ahmad’s commitment to launching this fund is motivated by the region’s substantial population and increasing broadband connectivity. Her drive also stems from her prior experience in building and selling YDS Africa and the notable success of startups like Sudo Africa, a fintech company that secured $3.7 million in funding in 2022.
Kaduna State has taken a significant step by becoming the inaugural Nigerian state to adopt the Nigerian Startup Act. This demonstrates the government’s commitment to fostering the development of technology-driven enterprises.
With funding becoming scarcer for African startups, introducing these funds tailored for a region frequently marked by unrest is a positive development, benefiting the local area, the nation, and the broader African continent.