Port Harcourt is the capital city of Rivers State, one of the oil producing states in the southernmost region of Nigeria. In recent years, the state, which used to primarily depend on oil, has begun efforts to diversify the economy. This has spurred an interest in entrepreneurship development.
Port Harcourt has recently begun gaining attention from local and international entrepreneurship support providers. Many oil and gas companies’ corporate social responsibility (CSR), government intervention programs, and others, have successfully jumpstarted advocacy for entrepreneurship in Port Harcourt. There has also been a rise in the number of tech startups that have collaborated with the government to provide solutions to various problems, such as poor internet services and the high cost of infrastructure, among other things. These collaborations, which are still nascent, have the potential to promote partnerships and shared goals, and bring international recognition to Port Harcourt’s entrepreneurs.
Nevertheless, Port Harcourt’s entrepreneurial ecosystem also faces several challenges. Some of these challenges include: high cost of infrastructure, poor access to finance, lack of collaboration among actors, mono-sectoral concentration, tedious business documentation processes, disconnects between investors and the reality of the ecosystem, and poor business implementation skill among small businesses. Several stakeholders also expressed concern over a shift in mindset and culture that has not fully taken hold: many young people who are used to the wealth and stability that came from oil are not necessarily keen to begin thinking more entrepreneurially.
The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) conducted this entrepreneurial ecosystem snapshot to identify organizations that actively support entrepreneurs in Port Harcourt and the kind of support they provide. These organizations include: investors, capacity development providers, business development support providers, professional service providers, government agencies, and others.
Information and communication technology is the top sector of focus in Port Harcourt’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The type of financial support most commonly available is debt, which is mostly accessible through financial institutions. The top impact objective is capacity building, while the top stakeholder focus is youth entrepreneurship.