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Investor Consortium to Provide Grants To Nigerian Impact Startups During COVID-19 Pandemic – Calls for more Donors to Contribute to the Facility

Abuja, Nigeria, *24th August 2020* Ventures Platform (VP), and Acumen, with support from LoftyInc, have launched the Nigeria Impact Startup Relief Facility (NISRF) – designed to support impact-oriented startups so they remain viable and resilient through the COVID-19 crisis. 

In order to meet the demands of the crisis, and the financial gaps faced by promising startups, the Nigeria Impact Startup Relief Facility (NISRF) will support impact-oriented startups that are at the post-MVP stage, are high-growth, and can demonstrate the scale of impact, amongst other criteria as outlined on the website

The NISRF program kicks off activities with calls for applications on the 24th of August, 2020, to 7th September 2020, and will support applicants whose businesses are either being adversely affected or modified in response to COVID-19 with grants between $5,000 – $20,000. Entrepreneurs have consistently cited bridge financing as their most urgent need during the pandemic. 

According to the “Impact Investors’ Foundation: Nigeria and Ghana Impact Investing and Policy Landscape”, prior to COVID-19, impact investors cited a lack of investable opportunities as a challenge to deploying capital in Nigeria. Now, the ecosystem is faced with a challenge of unprecedented dimensions emphasizing the need for financial investment. 

While the pandemic has had a negative economic effect on startups: a lot of businesses are struggling while some are on the verge of folding up,  the crisis has also scaled the process of digital transformation across sectors and created more opportunities for growth and investment. 

It is in our collective interest to ensure that the most promising startups among us – especially those tackling urgent social problems – are able to sustain and scale. With this aspiration to protect today’s startups and tomorrow’s pipeline, the collaborating investors invite other investors, ecosystem players, development partners, and government institutions to join the Nigeria Impact Startup Relief Facility (NISRF).

Speaking on the partnership with Ventures Platform and the implementation of the NISRF, Meghan Curran, West Africa Director, Acumen said, “COVID-19 has reminded us of our interconnected fate, and has reinforced the importance of building more just and equitable societies. Acumen has long been focused on investing in businesses that share this aspiration and use the power of markets as a tool for tackling urgent social problems.

Acumen is a global nonprofit changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing patient capital in social enterprises and building a community of leaders committed to building a more just and sustainable world. Through the NISRF, we’re excited to ensure that the pandemic doesn’t impede the progress of these companies in building new models for our post-COVID reality.” 

“At Ventures Platform, we are always seeking to forge strategic partnerships like this as we continue to provide support to entrepreneurs who are the bedrock of the economy,” said Kola Aina, Founder, Ventures Platform. “Through this partnership, our expected outcome is that funded startups remain resilient through the COVID-19 crisis and are better able to take advantage of the increased opportunity for digital adoption, while we  inspire a culture of triple-bottom-line and active philanthropy in our ecosystem.”

Ventures Platform (VP) is an organization building inclusive and sustainable economic prosperity in Africa by catalyzing entrepreneurship and innovation.

In his remarks, the Managing Partner at LoftyInc, Wole Odetayo, said “The challenges we’re living with in Nigeria can be daunting but surmountable. The future of the solutions to these resilient challenges lie with innovators. What the NISRF is poised to do in Nigeria’s innovation ecosystem is crucially fundamental to our collective success as a nation; the creation of sustainable, innovative SMEs as the pathway to accelerated and sustainable economic growth.” 

LoftyInc is an Innovation development company with vast experience in Business and Project development. They have developed startup teams, managed innovation programs, and facilitated impact projects across sub-Saharan Africa.

Through the NISRF program, Founding Partners – Ventures Platform and Acumen, will work to ensure the selected startups receive the required funding to grow and also create social impact in terms of the number of opportunities created. The primary aim of this program is to support high growth, impact-oriented startups to thrive in the midst of an uncertain economy. To do this effectively, there is a need for more donors to invest in the Facility. 

To learn more about the program, please visit nisrf.venturesplatform.com and follow Ventures Platform on Twitter, Instagram – @vplatformhub, and Facebook, LinkedIn – Ventures Platform Hub to keep up with the program and learn any new information as soon as it comes up.

-ENDS-

For interview requests or additional information, contact Joy Mabia | [email protected] | 08097973797

About Ventures Platform Hub

Ventures Platform Hub is a catalyst for innovation & entrepreneurship across Africa. It provides smart capital through its early-stage fund, Ventures Platform Fund, it provides infrastructure and nurtures communities of entrepreneurs and innovators through Ventures Park and it builds pipeline by providing capacity and ecosystem support through its not-for-profit – Ventures Platform Foundation. More information about Ventures Platform is available at www.venturesplatform.com.

About Acumen in West Africa

Acumen is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders, and ideas. We invest patient capital in businesses that impact low-income and vulnerable populations either by providing access to affordable goods and services or by creating meaningful livelihood opportunities. Active in West Africa since 2012, Acumen has invested more than $10 million across Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone. We are also developing a global community of emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills, and determination to create a more inclusive world through the West Africa Fellows program. www.acumen.org.

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