Thursday, September 16, 2010

Incubators? What are those? Who needs them?

You can only imagine how many times we get those questions at LoftyInc. Essentially, we first always nearly have to explain what we do and how we do it before we establish what could be in it either for an entrepreneur, investor or potential backer.

Essentially, simply explained by perhaps the most robust article on incubators we have found, “Imagine a place where you can focus on getting your company off the ground. A place with affordable rent where office equipment and administrative help are provided, and managerial and business advice are close at hand. If you imagined such a place, would you be dreaming? Maybe not, if you can hook up with one of the small business incubators springing up worldwide”.The essential goal of an incubator is to create an ecosystem of innovation that feeds off on itself at the lowest risk possible. 

i-hub in Kenya (a nascent incubator) is focused on innovation in East Africa

LoftyInc is one of such incubators especially focused on West Africa & her citizens in Diaspora. Nearly every incubator does it differently. Behind the essential day to day running of an incubator is a model to develop a pipeline of entrepreneurs and deals, raise and invest funds and ultimately to exit and return above market rate (and in LoftyInc’s case, social impact) to investors. The backbone of LoftyInc’s model is the collaborative framework that essentially seeks to develop teams around unique ideas, while turbo charging them with some seed funds.

LoftyInc’s first permanent facility is set to be completed by the end of the year. This facility is being built at the brand new ALF Campus at Ikeja, Lagos State- the commercial hub of Africa’s largest country-Nigeria and involves substantial capital investments by the backer- Africa Leadership Forum and LoftyInc Allied Partners Limited. It will come with floor space and equipment to accommodate networking sessions, offices for start-ups, administrative offices for incubator facilitators as well as adjoining classrooms and theatres for training. The first session of the ideally named IdeasLab will commence in the first quarter of 2011 at this facility.

Who needs an incubator? If you have an idea but need a team or space and essentially can’t afford to hire or rent. If you have a business idea, but can benefit from a network or business skills that can be acquired through the incubation process. If you have a business idea, but you need technology licenses which an incubator may be in position to acquire on your behalf. LoftyInc also provides limited funding to her entrepreneurs in exchange for equity or in loans provided by our partners. Of course, this ultimate reward of funding is for those entrepreneurs whose ideas have been refined through the LoftyInc process and have succeeded in building a team around such exciting ideas. Basically, we shall support every good idea that has been proven through the fire and trials of the IdeasLab.

Read More:

How to fund a start-up: A Crash course on incubators, angels, venture capital and private equity


LoftyInc's Partner Blogs for World Bank's Youthink!

Executive Partner, Michael Oluwagbemi joins a global panel of six to blog on World Bank's youth initiative outlet- Youthink! The site is essentially designed to collaborate the global views of young leaders and entrepreneurs on important issues in the socio-economic development space. Views expressed on the blogs are those of the writers only. You can read Michael Oluwagbemi's contribution at this link.  He discuses technology, innovation and entrepreneurship through his submissions. Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

LoftyInc Pays Courtesy Call to Monterey & MIIS

The Executive Partner of LoftyInc Allied Partners Limited visited with LAPL's key overseas Education Partner- the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), Monterey California on August 23, 2010. Mr. Michael Oluwagbemi on a courtesy call and familiarization tour of MIIS, met with the Dean of the Graduate School of International Policy and Management at MIIS and Professor of Strategic Management, Yuwei Shi in his office.
LoftyInc Exec. Partner (L) at Dean Yuwei Shi's (R) Office on Courtesy Visit

MIIS is LoftyInc's overseas education resource partner, and would provide some training/mentoring resources to the newly created IdeasLab platform in Nigeria. Specifically, during the visit - MIIS committed to sending student interns (volunteers) trained within the Innovation Scouts Program in place in her Graduate Business Curriculum, to Nigeria during the first IdeasLab window. The Innovation Scout Interns of LoftyInc's I-3 Program (in partnership with Africa's premier think tank-  ALF), will be entrusted with mentoring and providing technical input to IdeasLab participating entrepreneurs and incubated businesses during the program. The interns will also serve the dual purpose of advocating to Global Investors on behalf of the businesses they advise under incubation.

LoftyInc will assist with logistics of the relocation and stay of the MIIS graduate student interns during their attachment program in Nigeria, and will also source for indigenous professors to train MIIS students in California in a one week period very early next year prior to deployment. Discussions with a prestigious business school in Nigeria is under active discussion and at advanced stages to partner with MIIS in this regard.

LoftyInc will also be participating in a Social Impact Investment Summit to be hosted by the Monterey Institute on September 24th , 2010 to promote a global program modeled on education-investment funds partnership to spur innovation global centers of excellence including but not limited to China, India and Nigeria. Partner, Dami Agboola as well as Advisor, Marsha Wulff will be representing LoftyInc at this event and presenting.
Dean Yuwei Shi (L) and LoftyInc's Advisor Marsha Wulff (R) share some thoughts during the visit

MIIS' input to the IdeasLab was described by the Managing Partner and Incubation Program Director, Wole Odetayo as "central to achieving the objectives" of the initiative proposed alongside our strategic partner, Africa Leadership Forum. The physical location of IdeasLab is under construction, and recruitment into the program will resume soon. For more information on the IdeasLab email

MIIS-GSIPM Facility at Beautiful Monterey; MIIS is a Graduate School of Middlebury College

LoftyInc Allied Partners Limited is a Start-Up Funding & Incubation Firm based in Lagos Nigeria. With a Global Team of Professionals aiding the innovation and entrepreneurship process, LoftyInc specializes in start-up incubation, capital formation and funding. LoftyInc also offers project and management advisory services as well as capital & real sector research for multinationals, investors and institutions in the frontier market where it operates.