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How to build successful start-ups in Nigeria



Having spent several years helping startups around the world build and scale into billions of dollars, Jimmy Nguyen, the founding President of BSV Blockchain spoke at the Digital Nigeria Conference, 2022 organized by NITDA sharing five lessons to build a successful start-up in Nigeria.

Build on a foundation that scales

Entrepreneurs should learn to build on a foundation or database or a product that is scalable because this will help absorb users as the company grows, Jimmy said. He cited an example of the limitations of the Bitcoin blockchain that impedes scalability.

At BSV blockchain, we are developing tools that will bring scalability to the Bitcoin network, he added.

Build with teams

It is always better to build with teams than to build alone because there are several skills, capacities, and abilities you may not have as a founder, Jimmy said. Apart from having co-team members picked, team building can come in several forms such as partnerships with incubators, accelerators, and hubs like Block Dojo by BSV blockchain.

Another way to have a team is to build solutions for government and enterprises where pilot products can be used and crafted for specific needs, Jimmy explained. Governments and businesses can make this happen by allowing start-ups to create these solutions.

Build for an industry ecosystem 

The Venture Capitalist shared that entrepreneurs should have a wider view when they create products. Envision an entire industry and consider how your product will sync with other products in the same industry.

He gave an example with Bitlipa that provides capital for SMEs in Kenya. Their services have required other players in the SME sector who are supporting their initiative to help small businesses.

Build with flexibility to pivot 

Being flexible with the ideas you build is important to allow for the implementation of changes when the need arises, Jimmy said. Many entrepreneurs don’t want to see their ideas change, and that can hurt the growth of a good idea as sometimes, all that’s needed is a change.

Build without fear 

The general way we’ve been taught is to play safe, go to school, get good grades, graduate, and get a good job. However, there is an opportunity out there to do more, Jimmy explained. I had the same fear when I left law seven years ago to go into building businesses around the world.

Jimmy encouraged the young New Nigerian entrepreneurs to take a chance, make the change, and so it is now.

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