By Taofik Salako, Deputy Group Business Editor
The Oxford Foundry, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, and FMDQ Private Markets Limited, a subsidiary of FMDQ Holdings Plc and largest private capital platform in Nigeria, have launched a global partnership to accelerate the growth of Nigeria’s start-up ecosystem.
The partnership is expected to nurture a future generation of young Nigerian leaders in entrepreneurship, through knowledge exchange and collaboration.
It will also support Nigeria’s future business leaders and high-growth start-ups to access the networks and skills they need to grow and sustain their businesses, create jobs and inclusive socioeconomic growth, and facilitate the growth of Nigeria’s venture ecosystem.
Besides, the partnership supports collaboration and knowledge exchange between the UK and Nigerian angel investment communities, as Nigeria’s community matures. Ventures will be supported to develop market solutions in high-potential sectors such as technology, agriculture, green industries, and healthcare.
Nigeria has one of the largest numbers of technology start-ups in Africa and has been identified as one of the 11 ‘3G’ countries by Citigroup – countries of large growth potential and profitable investment opportunities.
There is an increasing number of programmes to support Nigerian start-ups, with corresponding high demand, implying that there is huge potential and opportunity to create new partnerships to support high growth-potential businesses, and an increased need to access capital. Currently more than 80 per cent of venture and start-up funding comes from an entrepreneur’s personal or family resources.
Through this partnership between Oxford Foundry and FMDQ Private Markets, a bespoke programme will be launched in late 2021, leveraging the University of Oxford’s global, multidisciplinary networks and Nigeria’s entrepreneurship ecosystem to support Nigeria’s future business leaders and high-growth start-ups to access the networks, skills and investment pathways they need to grow their businesses, has been co-created.
The programme is focused on three key areas, to upskill, grow and accelerate, with the facilitation of the training of 20 young Nigerian aspiring entrepreneurs and future leaders through the OXFO-FMDQ Young Entrepreneurial Leaders Programme.
The programme will promote knowledge exchange and shared best practice across Oxford’s and Nigeria’s angel investment communities through roundtables and relationship building initiatives with a view to unlocking vital capital.
It will also lead to the acceleration of five high-potential Nigerian start-ups through a tailor-made OXFO-FMDQ Start-up Bootcamp, to scale up transformative social and economic impact in Nigeria. The programme leverages the Oxford Foundry’s unparalleled assets, including networks, partnerships and a venture building and leadership curriculum delivered by some of the world’s leading experts.
Director, Oxford Foundry, Ana Bakshi said the first global partnership with FMDQ in Nigeria was deliberate as Nigeria has one of the largest number of tech start-ups in Africa, noting that Africa is a continent of immense entrepreneurial talent and high-growth venture potential.
According to Bakshi, there is huge opportunity to invest in the future generation of global entrepreneurs and leaders who will come from across the continent, and this first partnership is an important step to build new relationships and learn from other entrepreneurial ecosystems.
“Now more than ever, it’s vital that we share our resources, access to networks and opportunities, and work together across geographical boundaries to benefit society, create jobs and boost economies. We want to open the Oxford Foundry up to the world, and together, support the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders to create the purpose-led impact and positive change we all need to see,” Bakshi said.
Chief Executive Officer, FMDQ Group, Bola Onadele. Koko stated that FMDQ was delighted to be the first global partner of the Oxford Foundry, particularly on the laudable initiative, which emphasises the provision of critical support for high-growth start-up businesses.
He noted that it was vital that young Nigerian start-up companies and high-growth small- and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) are provided with the skills, networks, mentorship and capital required to overcome the barriers to successfully grow and sustain their businesses, thereby creating employment opportunities and supporting poverty alleviation in the country.
“FMDQ Group, through its wholly owned subsidiary, FMDQ Private Markets, is excited to work with a credible partner to deliver the key programmes under the partnership to develop and transform Nigeria’s young entrepreneurs, further entrenching the ethos of the Group’s mission – we collaborate to empower markets for economic progress towards delivering prosperity. Furthermore, this Programme is in close alignment with FMDQ Private Market’s flagship initiative -SCALE (Start-up Capital Access & Liquidity Ecosystem) – aimed at supporting the growth of high-potential Nigerian-based start-up companies, creating a pipeline of sustainable businesses in Nigeria,” Onadele.Koko said.
The Oxford Foundry Entrepreneurship Centre at the University of Oxford was opened by the Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Tim Cook, in 2017, to provide all students and alumni of the University of Oxford, as well as wider communities, the entrepreneurial and technology experiential skills and training they need to succeed in their chosen careers, and to build and lead purposeful, sustainable ventures that benefit people and the planet.
Through local, national, and international partnerships, the Foundry is democratising entrepreneurship and opening up Oxford University’s talent, resources and networks to the world. To date, the 32 ventures on the Foundry’s Accelerator Programme, Elevate, have raised over £43 million since joining the programme, are valued at over £150 million, have created more than 170 jobs globally, and are creating a positive impact around the world across different sectors and industries.
FMDQ Private Markets Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of FMDQ Group, is an organised platform focused on promoting the inclusion of private companies in the Nigerian capital markets, by providing the much-needed information in the market for private companies’ securities as well as a medium for the disclosure of activities of private companies in the Nigerian debt and equity capital markets, serving as an information repository for the recording of these activities, via restricted access portal, the private companies’ securities information and distribution Portal, and ultimately, improving credibility in the market for private issuances.
FMDQ Group is a vertically integrated financial market infrastructure (FMI) group, strategically positioned to provide registration, listing and quotation services; integrated trading, clearing and central counterparty, settlement, risk management for financial market transactions; and depository of securities; as well as data and information services, across the debt capital, foreign exchange, derivatives and equity markets, through its wholly owned subsidiaries – FMDQ Securities Exchange, FMDQ Clear, FMDQ Depository and FMDQ Private Markets.