EntrepreneurCountry expands into Nigeria

— London/Lagos, 17 July 2014 – EntrepreneurCountry, an entrepre­neurial ecosystem with a 133,000 strong community from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America, launched its platform in Nigeria by hosting its first event on Friday, 10th July, at The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, featuring a selection of high-profile guest speakers including Amit Pau, Director of EntrepreneurCountry, Beverly Okoye, Deputy Director at UK Trade and Investment Nigeria (UKTI), Bankole Oluwafemi, Co-Founder of Nigerian tech blog TechCabal, Victor Okigbo, Manager at IDEA Accelerator and award-winning journalist Tolu Ogunlesi. This was followed by a formal David (entrepreneurs) and Goliath (investors) dinner with twelve C-suite attendees.

EntrepreneurCountry connects high-profile digital enablers/entrepreneurs with world leading corporate brands who need their products and service. This global discovery platform allows entrepreneurs to be discovered by leading corporates. It has over 400 partners, giving entreprenuers access to leading investors and a platform for thought leadership. It is now launching in Nigeria with the support of a number of key partners including the UK Trade and Investment Nigeria, a gov­ernment agency jointly funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Business. Nkiru Asika, Regional Partner, will spearhead the platform’s efforts in the region.

There is a wave of new game changers emerging from Africa with Nigeria being at the forefront of this innovation drive. Digital technology is helping Nigerians to overcome some of the deficiencies in physical infrastructure and distribution, changing the way they do business and the way they live their lives.

70% of Nigeria’s population is under the age of 30 and they are all digital natives. Nigeria is the fastest growing mobile market in the world, with more than 100 million active mobile subscribers. The strength of infrastructure deployment is driving and enabling a platform for the digital revolution, predominantly in the mobile financial services, e-commerce and digital content & services for the business market.

Amit Pau, Director of EntrepreneurCountry commented: “Nigeria’s success in building digitally-enabled basic services lays the foundations for easily scalable advanced services such as e-commerce, mar­ketplaces and social media. This is well reflected by the rise of e-commerce places such as Jumia, Konga, DealDey, Gidimall, Jobberman, Paga, iROKO, Kaymu, to name a few. We can’t be more pleased with the expansion of our platform into yet another high-growth region to allow investors/corporates (Goliaths) and digital enablers (Davids) to interact on all things digital occurring within the Nigerian entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Nkiru Asiak, CEO of Enterprise Creative, Regional Partner of Entrepreneur Country Global, said: “Entrepreneur Country offers entrepreneurs, investors and corporates in Nigeria, the opportunity to engage with each other and their global counterparts in our fast-growing online community. We further build this community through thought-leadership content, high-level events and a global discovery platform, through which small digital businesses can source funding, customers and strategic partnerships, while we work strategically with corporates to help them leverage digital innovation to enhance their own competitiveness. We are delighted to be Entrepreneur Country’s Regional Partner in Nigeria and look forward to working with the great talent within this country to help develop the digital ecosystem.”

Beverly Okoye, Deputy Director, UKTI, added: “Access to finance is of major importance, as well as understanding the business structures and knowledge partnerships in Nigeria. What EntrepreneurCountry does is to give digital entrepreneurs access to other entrepreneurs globally – enabling them to share, promote and learn from others with similar ambitions. We are delighted to see EntrepreneurCountry launch in Nigeria, and believe that it will play a major part in the growth of digital business here.”

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About EntrepreneurCountry
EntrepreneurCountry is an entrepre­neurial ecosystem with a 133,000 strong community. Entrepreneurs come from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. EntrepreneurCountry believes Palo Alto is no more the epicentre for start-ups and geography should have no bearing on where the game-changing begins. EntrepreneurCountry is identifying start-ups who generate value in the ecosystem by bringing in new business models, dis­ruptive thinking and using networks to scale. The social mission is to connect select high-profile digital enablers – the ‘Davids’ – with world leading corporate brands – the ‘Goliaths’ – who need their product and services. This is Ecosystem Economics™.

EntrepreneurCountry was founded by Julie Meyer. Julie Meyer is also Chairman, founder and CEO of Ariadne Capital.

About Ariadne Capital
Ariadne Capital is the investment firm founded by Julie Meyer in 2000 with 62 other leading entrepreneurs such as the founders of Easynet, Hotmail, WorldPay, SES Astra, Staffware, Element 14, Brokat, ENBA, NetPartners, SportingBet and BetFair. Ariadne pioneered the ‘Entrepreneurs Backing Entrepreneurs’ model for the financing of entrepreneurship at the institutional level in Europe in 2000, has syndicated £300m of investments, manages the Ariadne Capital Entrepreneurs Fund whose Limited Partners co-invest actively in the portfolio, and has backed several explosive growth companies such as Espotting, Skype, Monitise, Zopa, BeatThatQuote and SoundOut.