Nigerian Entrepreneurs Winning Big

Meet Lariat Alhassan, a Nigerian business woman who, like so many entrepreneurs across the world, plays pretty much every role but security guard for her growing business.

Featured on Planet Money this past weekend, Lariat has worked long and hard to get her paint company off the ground. With limited opportunities for receiving a small business loan in the Nigerian market, she’s been sweating and striving on her own, in the hope that eventually, she’d find a break.

Lariat is far from alone. With 29M bright young minds entering the Nigerian job market, competing for positions that simply do not exist, more and more people are exploring the entrepreneurial path. They’re starting businesses based on the needs they know exist from first hand experience. But running a business is tough. And it’s even tougher without any startup capital or funds to keep the business going.

Entrepreneurs everywhere need money if their businesses are going to survive.

So what is Nigeria doing to address this problem? The former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, along with Chris Blattman, a researcher from the World Bank and economist at Columbia University, came up with the idea of a “clottery” (a great word made up on Planet money). It’s a program designed to give out $58M (yes, $58M) to small business owners, advertised through a series of radio and billboard ads.

In a country described as “fantastically corrupt” by even its own President, Muhammadu Buhari, you can imagine there was a lot of skepticism. But there was also a lot of interest.

Lariat was one of several entrepreneurs to win roughly $65k—a healthy sum by any standards. And what was the effect of this largesse?

According to research conducted by Blattman and shared on Planet Money, the results were pretty impressive:

“The report looked at the 1,200 winners of the contest and found they had created 7,000 jobs, real jobs that stuck around three years later. The competition cost $60 million to run. So that means each job cost about $8,500 to create, a way cheaper investment than any other program studied in the report.”

This is the beauty of emerging market investments, and what we do at VestedWorld. African markets are ripe with opportunity. By bringing together savvy investors and promising entrepreneurs, we’re creating and capturing value and helping change the narrative of an entire continent.

We’re working to help entrepreneurs like Lariat Alhassan, to unite the public and private sectors, and to give U.S. investors the opportunity to get in early on an economically and socially valuable type of investment. Join us.

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