At Endeavor, Tosin Faniro-Dada works with Nigerian entrepreneurs to help them scale with the aim of not just impacting the business but also having a multiplier effect on the wider economy. She was previously the director of programmes for the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund where she led programs providing finance for small and mid-sized businesses and other support for local entrepreneurs. Before this she worked in the finance/banking sector.
What’s the biggest challenge facing leadership talent in Africa tech startups?
The biggest challenge for most of the founders I speak with is “how to scale.” The opportunity to deploy tech-enabled solutions for challenges across the continent is clear. Still, given that our market is unique with little or poor infrastructure, founders oftentimes need to create the infrastructure their businesses need to thrive.
Where are the overlooked opportunities for tech investors new to Nigeria?
I would say they exist in the agriculture and retail sectors. With Nigeria’s population set to grow exponentially over the next few decades, having enough food to feed people is essential. Additionally, Nigeria has a massive informal sector that constitutes a significant portion of daily economic activity, and some entrepreneurs are seizing opportunities to solve their pain points. These sectors also have the potential to create large-scale wealth and jobs that contribute to long-term economic transformation.
What has been your biggest career misstep to date?
I try not to think of any opportunity as a misstep and make the best of whatever role or organization I find myself in. However, if I were to do it over, I would leave finance/banking much earlier in my career and pivot to tech/entrepreneurship.
What investment trends in emerging markets are you most excited about?
Fintech continues to attract most investment in Nigeria and across Africa; however, the pandemic accelerated the growth of sectors such as e-commerce and health care, and I believe these sectors will continue to grow. As more success stories emerge from across the continent, investors will explore replicating the fintech success story in other sectors.
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