The Oxford Foundry (OXFO) and FMDQ Private Markets Limited (FMDQ) programme 'Innovate Nigeria' is a two-week intensive accelerator programme designed to support Innovation-Driven Start-ups in Nigeria in becoming scalable enterprises that have the potential to create transformative social and economic impact within the Nigerian economy.

Successful applicants will benefit from:

  1. A bespoke curriculum focusing on core entrepreneurship and venture building skills,
  2. One-on-one coaching with the Oxford Foundry's network of experts,
  3. A tailored leadership training curriculum,
  4. Introductions to investors, and opportunities to pitch to these investors.  

We expect each venture and its founders to be present and engaged over the entire two-week period of the programme. This form must be completed by the lead applicant, who is a (co-) founder or a high-level executive in the business.  

If shortlisted, key founding members of the team must be available for: 

  1. Interviews: February 28 – March 11 2022 (held over two weeks) 
  1. Innovate Nigeria: March 28 – 08 April 2022 (two-week programme) 
  1. Pitching to investors: April 11–14 2022 

All information provided in this form will be treated confidentially and will not be shared with third parties beyond the Oxford Foundry and FMDQ teams.  

Key dates:  

Application Opens: December 1 2021 

Application Closes: January 31 2022 

Interviews: February 28 - March 11 2022 

Selection announced: by 18 March 2022 

Innovate Nigeria starts: Monday 28 March 2022 

Innovate Nigeria ends: Friday 08 April 2022

You can view a summary of the questions being asked in the application form here.


What does Innovate Nigeria offer to venture teams? 

A) Venture-building curriculum: We provide two weeks of intensive venture building education from some of the world’s leading experts including ex-entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, thought leaders, and academics 

B) Leadership training: We provide leadership training to prepare our founders to develop as exceptional leaders who are equipped to successfully build high-growth sustainable businesses, long term 

C) Unrivalled network of Experts: You get access to an unrivalled network of Experts (generalists and specialists) to support you from day one  

D) Access to investors: We provide direct introductions to angel investors and venture funds when you need them and provide opportunities for you to pitch to them at the end of the programme  

E) Join a supportive community: After the programme, you will be able to access ongoing support to help you connect to the right networks and opportunities, including investors, advisors, and mentors 

How many Nigerian ventures will be selected for the programme?  

Five (5) Nigerian-based ‘Innovation-Driven Start-up’ ventures will be selected for the programme.

Who can apply?

This programme is aimed at accelerating Nigeria-based ‘Innovation-Driven Start-ups’ from all sectors of the Nigerian economy.

We define an Innovation-Driven Start-up as:

  • The company is based on an innovation that gives a significant competitive advantage when compared to existing companies - for instance this could include, but is not limited to, technology, business model, or business process
  • Medium to long-term focus on selling their product offering at a regional or global level (e.g., other markets in Africa and/or globally)
  • Often must sell equity in their company to support ambitious growth plans 
  • An organisation employing two people or more and generating revenues between USD 2,000 to USD 100,000 annually*

The ventures, in addition, is expected to be/have:

  • Registered and operating in Nigeria 
  • Built a team – minimum of two members  
  • Validated the problem 
  • Developed and began testing an MVP (Product-Market fit) 
  • Ambitious vision – tackling a big problem that directly impacts one of the SDGs 
  • Knowledge of their market 
  • Diversity & Inclusion commitment – gender, race/ethnicity, etc. 
  • Willingness and capacity to contribute financial resources towards expansion activities 
  • Presentation of comprehensive business plan/expansion strategy 
  • Potential to scale and grow their business into a sustainable enterprise 

*If your business is not yet generating an annual revenue of at least USD 2,000, but it meets the criteria of an ‘Innovation-Driven Start-up' and the criteria described above, your application will still be considered.  

How advanced does our start-up need to be? Can we apply if we just have an idea? 

The programme targets start-ups with a clear value proposition, who have ideally developed a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or who have demonstrated that they have started to solve the problem with early users/clients with customer acceptance. If you are at the ‘idea stage’, this programme is NOT for you.

How large can each venture team be?

Ventures can range in size of the founding team/team. We expect to see a minimum size of two (and maximum of five) founding team members on the programme.

What is the duration of our venture’s time in the programme?

Innovate Nigeria runs over two weeks from 28th March to 8th April 2022. Each venture and its founding team will need to commit to taking part in the programme for a minimum of 25 hours per week (five hours per day) due to the intensive nature of the programme. After the programme, ventures will be supported with access to networks, including direct introductions to investors (Angels and VCs).

Where will the programme take place?

The programme will be entirely conducted online utilising Zoom and Slack.

What commitment does Innovate Nigeria require from the teams they select? 

This programme is designed for Innovation-Driven Small Start-up ventures and requires the following: 

  • Each venture and its founding team will need to commit to taking part in the programme for a minimum of 25 hours per week (5 hours per day) over the two-week period. You must be present and fully engaged for the two weeks. 
  • Each venture selected for the programme will be expected to provide data on commercial progress of their venture for up to 5-10 years. Data will be collected per quarter for the first two years before moving to every 6-months post two years. 
  • Each venture will sign a declaration/waiver as part of the programme to declare their commitment to ensuring diversity and inclusion is at the forefront of their hiring objectives and strategy. 
  • Behaviour appropriate to the Oxford Foundry and FMDQ; and for a co-working/online environment. 
  • A commitment to accelerate or scale up your venture within Nigeria.

Is the programme being provided for free?  

Yes. There is no cost to ventures for participating in the two-week programme.

I'm an investor/business professional/startup mentor – how can I contribute to Innovate Nigeria?

We would love to hear from angel investors with an interest in investing in the next generation of high-growth Nigerian ventures, as well as experts and mentors who are interested in contributing their time and knowledge to support this initiative. Please email and connect with us on LinkedIn.  

When can I apply?

Applications for Innovate Nigeria are open from Wednesday 1st December 2021 and close on Monday 31st January 2022 at 11:59pm (WAT).

How can I apply?

A copy of the application questions can be found here.

For further information on the OXFO and FMDQ partnership please see the partnership page

To apply for the programme click here.

For specific enquiries, please email us at