By John Ikani
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the growth of six startups owned by young Nigerians from scratch to billion dollar businesses in recent years can be attributed the feat of the startups to providence and good policies.
Osinbajo who was the Special Guest of Honour at the Graduation Ceremony of Senior Executive Course 43, 2021 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos identified the six companies as : Opay, Paystack, Flutterwave, Andela, PiggyVest and Jumia.
According to him, “the companies started between 2016 in the middle of two recessions and global health crisis.
“Paystack was co-founded in 2016 by two graduates of Babcock University, in their twenties.
“Paystack is a payment processing company; I am sure many have heard that it was eventually bought over by Stripe, the American multinational; it is now estimated to be worth a billion dollars.
“Flutterwave, also a payment processing coy founded in 2016; Flutterwave in Lagos; it is now worth nearly three billion dollars and both companies employ hundreds of young men and women.’’
He said that PiggyVest was co- founded in 2016 by ex students of Covenant University led by 21-year-old lady.
According to him, PiggyVest is a wealth management platform that at the end of 2019, had helped one million users save about 80 million dollars.
He added, “What is responsible for some of these successes? Providence and good policies. Providence because COVID-19 was a boom period for online payment systems.
“Policy because the President approved the establishment of a technology and creativity advisory group that helped to formulate new banking policies to accommodate new tech-enabled payment systems, such that these tech companies could process payments without being full-scale banks.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was then able to issue new types of licences for payment processing; the Federal Government has established a N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund.
“This provides financial support for small businesses in any field.’’
The Vice President said that CBN had also established a Creative Sector Fund for young people in entertainment or technology.
He said there was the new programme called Investing in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) programme.
According to Osinbajo, iDICE is an over 600 million dollars programme that will support young tech and creative sector entrepreneurs through the provision of finance, skills development and infrastructure.