THE Venture Capital Advocacy Summit, the first of its kind in Nigeria that will bring together all the critical elements that could facilitate the entrenchment of the Venture Capital Culture in the country will hold between June 28 and 30, at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Summit being organised by Alfe City Company Limited with the support of the Senate Committee on Trade & Investment and the House Committee on Commerce will feature the maiden introduction of the concept of venture capital and provide an opportunity for interaction with international experts and seasoned investors.
According to Soji Adeleye, chief executive officer, Alfe City Company Limited, the organisers, “To say that Nigeria needs a thorough re-engineering at the moment would be an understatement. The total collapse of the crude oil sector in recent months is a reminder if we need one that the over-reliance on that sector was short-sighted in the extreme. Investment in the people on the other hand is the only risk free investment as they will always be there hence organic growth of the people’s sector – the private sector provides an insurance for the future. The bottom-up growth –invention, innovation, imagination, creativity; attributes Nigerians are renowned for.
“Venture Capitalism offers Nigeria and its universally acclaimed entrepreneurial people a new vehicle that could turn that creativity into economic power.”
He said the endorsement of the summit by the National Assembly was crucial as the entrenchment of the Venture Capital culture in Nigeria would require legislative underpinning to guarantee the safety of investment of investors.
In the Senate endorsement of the summit, Senator Fatimat Raji Rasaki, chairman, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, said, “We share the principle and objectives behind this very laudable program and commend it to all stakeholders across the country.
“We hereby convey our commitment to work with you and other stakeholders for the success of the summit and subsequently perform our legislative responsibility to ensure a successful entrenchment of venture capitalism culture in Nigeria.”
Similarly, Sylvester Ogbaga, chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Commerce, said the committee considered the summit’s objectives as very laudable.
“I wish to therefore convey the decision of the committee to collaborate with Alfe City Company Limited in that regard,” he said.
On the participation of the state governments, the Alfe City boss said, “For the economic growth of a federation like Nigeria to be successful and sustainable, federating unit’s governments must be seen as caterers for the Oasis that must converge for the national economy to prosper.
“State governments must necessarily pursue economic policies that are conducive for private sector investment. Universities and Colleges of Technology environments must essentially be supported to breed entrepreneurs that could rely on venture capital to translate their inventions and creativity into economic power.”
On why has Nigeria been missing from the Venture Capital space over the years, he said, “There are limited private equity activities in the financial sector of the country primarily geared towards established entities that are seeking foreign investment. It is a niche service whose clientèle is so defined. To a considerable degree Nigeria’s absence from the global venture capital space is directly a consequence of the instability of the economy. For instance the unpredictable nature of our foreign exchange regime means that dealing with serious international investors is a considerable.
“The United States of America is the predominant exponent of venture capitalism in the world. As matter of fact, it is impossible to imagine the American economy without venture capital. Most of the global brands like Google, Intel, Microsoft and lately Uber all owe their emergence to venture capital. It is that initial fund that turns an idea, a dream to products and services that we all now recognise.
“According to the US National Venture Capital Association, 11 percent of private sector jobs in the USA come from Venture-backed companies and venture-backed revenue accounts for 21 percent of $18 Trillion GDP (2015).”
On the expected benefits of the Venture capital/summit to Nigeria, he said it will open up a new avenue for turning ideas to products.
“The Venture Capital ecosystem will create jobs, know-how that at the moment does not exist because it will be a new beginning for a lot of people and a lot entities,” he said.
“On the whole, the summit itself would be unique in setting and result as the event would mark the onset of an advocacy that promises to transform the entrepreneurial landscape of Nigeria forever.”
The objectives of the summit are to Advocate and spearhead the culture of venture capitalism in Nigeria; open an avenue for translating Nigerians’ legendary creativity and entrepreneurship to vital economic power; bring all stakeholders together to highlight how venture capital could be the missing link in Nigeria’s struggle to build a diverse and sustainable economy; Establish a Register for practicing and prospective venture capital operators in Nigeria; Create the machinery for an annual venture capital event as a vehicle for entrenching the culture of venture capitalism in Nigeria.
— May 16, 2016 @ 19:20 GMT