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FG to Open Startup Portal For Small Businesses to Get Funding and Support

The Federal Government will soon open a startup portal for small businesses where they can access funding and get other support

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Start-up - Investors King

In line with the Startup Act which was recently signed by the President, the Federal Government will soon open a startup portal for small businesses where they can access funding and get other support.

The startup portal will also facilitate how licenses will be issued to small businesses in order to be classified as startups. 

In addition, the Startup Portal will provide a seamless platform for small businesses to interact with the necessary government agencies, private institutions, angel investors, incubators, venture capitalists, and accelerators among other relevant segments or institutions that are critical to the development of small businesses.

Interestingly, the portal will also have business advancement programmes, showcases, fellowships and pitching competitions.

Investors King had earlier reported that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Startup Bill into law earlier this month following the national assembly approval.

According to the Act, Nigeria startups will officially have access to a special seed fund which will be created and monitored by the government, in partnership with the private sector. 

With several funding programs such as Credit Guarantee Scheme and Startup Investment Seed Fund, the Act aims to create an enabling environment for small businesses in Nigeria, particularly tech-based startups.

Furthermore, the bill sought the creation of a National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NCDIE) which will have the Nigerian President as Chairman, the Vice President as the Alternate Chairman while the Minister for Communication and Digital Economy will serve as the Vice Chairman of the Council.

In addition, membership of NCDIE will be drawn from both the government, private sector as well as academia. 

According to the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami, the Startup Act 2022 is the right thing to do to help the numerous startups springing up from Nigeria. 

The minister noted that Nigerian startups have continued to lead the startup ecosystem in Africa both in terms of numbers and funding. 

Pantami concluded that the Startup Act was carefully drafted with the input of young inventors across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

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Nigeria Startup Act to Boost Youth Empowerment – SSA to Buhari

Nigeria Startup Act to advance technology innovation and increase youths empowerment

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Start-up - Investors King

The Senior Special Assistant to  President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Nigeria Startup Act will increase youth empowerment and advance the country’s technological landscape. 

Oswald Guobadia, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Digital Transformation and the Lead Startup Act, pushed for the states to adopt and apply the law. 

Guobadia noted in a statement that each state’s adoption of the Act would increase youth empowerment and advance the tech ecosystem.

“The youth are key players for the country’s growth, and it is important that they contribute to the impact of the Act by supporting, raising awareness of it, and promoting its adoption in their various states because the law is intended to unlock the potential of the digital and promote ecosystem growth,” he said.

Guobadia recalled that states like Yobe, Ekiti, Anambra, Lagos, Zamfara, Edo, and Kaduna had expressed interest in and taken action to adopt the Act in order to benefit from it.

Investors King understands that the Nigerian president signed the bill on October 19, 2022, to stimulate activity in the technology sector and bring about the long-term development of the ecosystem.

The presidential aide went on to say that the Act gives every state the chance to create a thriving startup ecosystem and maintain its competitiveness. Some of the Act’s provisions include fostering the development and growth of technology-related talent and providing an enabling environment for the establishment, development and operation of startups in Nigeria.

He added that the act would help close the gap between Nigeria’s regulators and startups, which would then ensure that the laws were clear. 

He says that “The Act will also bridge the gap between startups and regulators in order to ensure that the laws are clear and beneficial to those in the technology ecosystem. With state adoption, one can anticipate a thriving tech ecosystem, the emergence of new startups, and clearer regulations in the near future.”

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American Theranos Founder Imprisoned for more than 11 Years

Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced to 11 years and three months in imprisonment for fraud

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Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, America’s privately held corporation, has been sentenced on three counts on charges bothering on investor fraud and one count of conspiracy.

The California judge who sentenced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to 11 years and three months in prison for defrauding investors in a defunct blood-testing startup confirmed the scandal valued around $9bn, Investors King reports.

United States District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, sentenced Holmes on three counts of investor fraud and one count of conspiracy. A jury convicted Holmes, 38, in January following a trial that spanned three months.

The judge set Holmes’s surrender date for April. Her lawyers are expected to ask the judge to allow her to remain free on bail during her appeal.

Assistant US Attorney Jeff Schenk told the judge before he handed down the sentence that a 15-year sentence would be “making a statement that the ends don’t justify the means”.

However, Holmes’s lawyer Kevin Downey pleaded leniency for Holmes at the hearing, attempting to convince that unlike someone who committed a “great crime,” she was not motivated by greed.

Holmes had asked in court papers for a more lenient sentence of 18 months of home confinement, followed by community service, urging the judge not to make her a “martyr to public passion.”

Prosecutors said at trial that Holmes misrepresented Theranos’s technology and finances, including by claiming that its miniaturised blood testing machine was able to run an array of tests from a few drops of blood. The company secretly relied on conventional machines from other companies to run patients’ tests, prosecutors said.

Ahead of her sentencing, prosecutors had said a 15-year sentence was necessary to deter Holmes and others from fraud. Although, divergent opinions emerged thereafter.

Her crimes according to the authority “damaged the trust and integrity” on which Silicon Valley’s startup economy relies.

Federal probation office had recommended a nine-year prison sentence, according to court papers, only for Davila to adjudicate 11 years.

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Zillow Cuts Part of Its Workforce, Shifts Focus Towards Technology Roles

Zillow has laid off some of its employees as the company shifts focus towards technology-related roles.

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American leading real estate marketplace Zillow has laid off some of its employees as the company shifts focus towards technology-related roles.

Although the company did not disclose how much of its workforce was cut off. It however stated that the laying off of some members of its employees was necessitated as it was part of the company’s process to evaluate its resources, shifting it toward key areas.

A spokesperson at the company said, “As part of our normal business process, we continuously evaluate and responsibly manage our resources as we create digital solutions to make it easier for people to move.

“This week, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to eliminate a small number of roles and will shift those resources to key growth areas around our housing super-app. We’re still hiring in key technology-related roles across the company.”

Investors King understands that this is the second time Zillow is laying off part of its workforce. In November last year, the real estate company had announced that it was laying off a quarter of its employees which was around 2,000 people.

The move was due to the shutting down of its home-buying service offers that aimed to provide sellers with instant home offers.

The recent layoffs at the real estate firm impacted its Offer advisors, PA sales, and back-end staff at Zillow Home Loans and Zillow Closing Services, as well as other teams.

Zillow joins the likes of other startup companies that have laid off part of their employees this year due to the economic slowdown. Some of the companies include Netflix, Cerebral, Byju, Ola, Spotify, Momentive global, Tencent, Tesla, Walmart, and Coinbase.

Founded in 2006, Zillow allows renters to pay rent online to their landlords for properties on the Zillow Rental Manager tool. It charges renters a transaction fee when using debit or credit cards to pay their landlord.

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