Bridge To MassChallenge: NITDA Entreats Startups Aiming Global Market

TECH DIGEST – National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) has extended invitation to top startups based in Nigeria aiming to grow their businesses to serve the Nigerian and global market to apply for ‘Bridge to MassChallenge Initiative’.

Recall that MassChallenge, a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators, recently entered into partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to catalyze and support a national startup community in Nigeria.

The two organisations have closely aligned goals to stimulate economic vitality and job creation in Nigeria by catalyzing entrepreneurial activity and supporting entrepreneurs as they develop and execute on game-changing ideas, digital technologies, and discoveries.

The Director General/CEO of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, speaking at the Media Stakeholder Engagement on the ‘Bridge to MassChallenge Initiative’, said that the initiative was designed to identify and accelerate top startups based in Nigeria and grow their businesses to serve the Nigerian and global market.

He added that the initiative forms part of NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) 2021-2024 crafted in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a digital Nigeria.

The NDEPS which was developed with the vision of transforming Nigeria into a leading digital economy, providing quality life and digital economies for all, the DG said, has been properly aligned with the SRAP seven strategic pillars.

“These pillars are developmental regulation, digital literacy and skills, digital transformation, digital innovation & entrepreneurship, cybersecurity, emerging technologies and promotion of indigenous content.

“You may also recall that as part of NITDA’s achievements for the past 20 years, we have, through our various initiatives, touched the lives of more than 2.5 million Nigerians.

“The Agency has also contributed to Nigeria’s exit from the recent recession. Most importantly, our innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives have attracted more foreign investments into the country’s digital economy. We have also created new economic industries such as software, business process outsourcing and data protection, contributing to our national economy significantly”.

Why NITDA is part of Bridge to MassChallenge Initiative:

Speaking specifically on the Bridge to MassChallenge Initiative, Abdullahi, said that a vibrant startup ecosystem is highly critical to the future of the country and it’s vital to finding solutions to its various challenges.

In his words, “Innovation is a prominent way of creating prosperity for all and lifting countries out of poverty. Considering this, NITDA and MassChallenge have partnered to catalyse and support a national startup community in Nigeria”.

The NITDA boss described MassChallenge as a well-known global network of zero-equity startup accelerators.

He hinted that the partnership focuses on achieving three main objectives:

“Firstly, to promote Nigeria as an emerging entrepreneurial hub and leader of innovation in Africa in order to support job creation and economic development;

“Secondly, to foster the growth and success of Nigeria’s startup enterprises by connecting our entrepreneurs with markets, networks, and capital in the global innovation ecosystem;

“And lastly but not the least, to facilitate key strategies to complement growing innovation initiatives within Nigeria.

“Having these objectives, it is obvious we cannot succeed in silo. Therefore, we have identified you, the media, among six categories of stakeholders that will be fully involved in this initiative.

“Others include critical government agencies, academia, business entities, angels investors and venture capitals and entrepreneurs.

He said that the media have critical role to play in ensuring that top startups become aware of the initiative.

“Our startups are aiming the global market. Nigeria is a leader in the digital skills and startup ecosystem in Africa.

“The investments attracted by our startups confirms the position. Recently, Flutterwave announced new funding of $170m, and Stripe acquired Paystack for more than $200m.

“Other Nigerian technology companies like Interswitch have raised funding in the hundreds of millions of dollars. This shows that you are already doing your work in projecting Nigeria as a leader in Africa. I must admit that we are fortunate to have an excellent relationship with you.

Earlier in a remark, the CEO, MassChallenge, Siobhan Dullea, said that as a global network for innovators with activities in over 70 countries, MassChallenge aims to solve massive challenges.

“We connect players in innovation ecosystems to grow and transform economies.

Dullea emphasized that MassChallenge as a global non-profit organization takes no equity from startups.

“We have 9 programs in 7 locations – in Mexico; Switzerland; Israel and 4 locations in the United States. We have also worked with 18 additional countries through other Bridge to MassChallenge program like this one  to help strengthen innovation ecosystems and drive the creation of high-quality jobs by supporting entrepreneurs and connecting them to our global network.

MassChallenge track records:

>2,900 startups accelerated

6B revenue generated by startups

6B funding received by startups

186,000 jobs created globally

“MassChallenge has supported many high-quality Nigerian startups through our global programs and are excited by our work with NITDA to support even more.

“MassChallenge and NITDA will be working closely to promote Nigeria as an emerging entrepreneurial hub. Through B2MC Nigeria, MassChallenge will connect Nigerian entrepreneurs with markets, networks, and capital in the global innovation ecosystem.

“In order to create new jobs, new wealth, new technology, and regional competitiveness, all ecosystem stakeholders – government, corporates, investors, universities, industry experts, and YOU the media, need to come together to help entrepreneurs launch, grow and scale their businesses

“Another way to say this is: successful innovation ecosystems are fundamentally dependent on the interaction and shared knowledge between different stakeholders” the CEO concludes.

How to Apply:
You can start by visiting the link: or send email to NITDA via: [email protected].