Source : NBTI Source : NBTI

As per some experts, the smal scale industries are set to grow and contribute to big revenue in the next several years. For this, the nation needs a platform focused towards fostering & promoting the entrepreneurial spirit of start-up enthusiasts by providing a healthy ecosystem to promote their ideas, startups and researches into successful entrepreneurial ventures.

One such initiative by Government is Technology Incubation Centre )TIC which was established officially in 1992 during the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. Whereas the first TIC was established in not later than 1993 in Agege, Lagos. It has reportedly spread across the country with its 27 incubation centres.

As collected from their website, there are three stages of help provided to the startups – pre-incubation, post incubation and incubation. In pre incubation, six months preliminary activities are provided to prospective entrepreneurs prior to admission into the Technology Incubation Programme (TIP) and which are geared towards enhancing the programme success. Some of these activities include: Capacity building support in: data collection, preparation of feasibility studies(FS), and bankable proposal/business plans; Some trial production – prototypes, pilot schemes to ensure commercial viability of product.

In post incubation, to ensure sustained competitive growth of entrepreneurs who graduated from the programme, some intervention measures geared towards promoting continuous improvement in services and/or processes are provided. These services include: Monitoring, Networking/Linkages support to finance and knowledge providers.

While in incubation, the participant either resides at the centre or do not reside. The former gets shared facilities (for 1-3 years) such as operating workshops, laboratories, IT and library, in addition inputs in areas of publicity, products marketing and research, technology development etc are provided. Whereas the latter gets to have all the facilities except operational space. They get to use the services for 1-5 years.

The Good

TIC has been credited by various startups for helping them reach new heights. One such startup is of Mary John, a computer graduate who is a producer of healthy groundnuts. Her dreams has been nurtured by TIC by providing them space and entrepreneurship support to grow their innovative ideas into viable business.

Another startup to gain benefit is Zealous production Company which produces paint. Co founder, Obetta Martins Chukwudi, is a yound entrepreneur looks forward to transit from small industry to becoming big player someday. Similarlly, Taiwo Shokunbi, an accounting  graduate, is  producing cassava flour from the centre. He packages cassava  flour in packets and sell them in the market. He also seems to be making use of government’s initiative.

The incubation centre mandates to facilitate the establishment and coordinate the activities of Technology Incubation Centres and Science & Technology Parks which are designed to nurture new technology based start-up businesses nationwide.

The selected candidates enjoys the benefits of using the TIC address as their trading address. The seek business and production advice. They are also provided marketing and tax exemption whereas access to government-organised SME seminars and exhibitions are additional perks.

The Bad

While talking to one of the official of TIC, Lagos he said that the applicant needs to pay ₦5000 for enjoying the benefits. Also the budding startup must be certified under Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC), gotten all necessary certificates and have a business plan. Due to less availability of the space the well planned out products and business are given preference.

“At the end of the day, the people who run these centres are civil servants, they are not entrepreneurs or professionally trained. Imagine getting business advice from someone who is probably a fresh graduate with no experience or training in running a business”.

Also the old incubatees are reluctant to move out as they have no where to go. This leads to space problems for the new applicants. According to another official, these centres provide not much to the place than the workspace provided and the benefits of working in a cluster; collaboration and networking.

These issues can be mended if a some attention is dedicated towards the functioning of these centres apart from just building one after the other.

Photo Source : Slideplayer

Source : Techpoint Africa