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Fintech is the new normal. Everyone in the digital and tech space is clamoring for their voices to be heard. One of the ways they get to do this is to establish one fintech startup or the other. We hear of fintech companies springing up every day, and you get to ask yourself certain questions.

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These questions include: Why are fintech companies being established? Won’t there be a saturation of fintech companies? How are these start-up owners going about this? These and many more questions have been residing quietly in your mind.

Yes, I know you read “easy steps”, but is there anything good that comes easy? However, in this article, I will be sharing with you some practical steps to starting your own fintech company in Nigeria. There will certainly be some hitches here and there, but you will be guided to do the right thing and avoid unnecessary complications.

Identify your niche

The first step to starting your own fintech company is to identify the niche you wish to operate from. Fintech is broad, and you will need to choose from the varying options. The niches include mobile banking, money lending, transfers, insuretechs, cryptocurrencies, etc. Also consider your demographics at this stage, as it will determine what country’s regulations you will abide by, amongst other things.

Identify your competitive advantage

More than knowing what your fintech company will primarily be based on, you have to identify what makes it different from the other companies in that niche. What prompted you to think of starting the fintech company in the first place? What unique problem are you striving to solve? Why should your potential customers choose you above your competitors? These are the questions you should ask yourself at this stage.

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However, don’t just ask them, write them down, and get talking with potential customers, to get their ideas on your upcoming project.

Study the regulations

Fintech companies do not just spring up from nowhere, they are carefully thought out and follow the fintech regulations made by the federal government of Nigeria. You must study these regulations and know how you can factor in your own fintech company. Before you even venture into the kind of fintech company you want to establish, just go through these regulations. In Nigeria, specifically, according to Global Legal Insights,

The main regulators of the Fintech sector in Nigeria are the CBN, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (“NDIC”), the SEC, the Nigerian Communications Commission (“NCC”), the NITDA, the National Insurance Commission (“NAICOM”) and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (“FCCPC”).

To operate legally, you must follow the directives of these bodies, know their provisions and apply them to your fintech startup.

Hire your team

This stage is pretty straightforward. You will need the services of full-stack developers, UI/UX designers, web developers, and a marketing team. This will comprise the customer support personnel, marketers, and content developers. Be sure to hire the best on the job, so you can have a dope product that solves problems for the users.

Engage data protection

It is not enough to develop your product. You need a product management team that will keep up with the market development. Asides from that, you need to protect your product.

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There are hackers everywhere, and cyber insecurity is on the rise. Run extensive testing for your codes, prevent unauthorized API connections and obtain an HTTPS SSL certificate. These will go a long way to protecting your product and your company as a whole.

Get funding and start building

Things could get tricky here. Building a fintech company is not as cheap as cooking noodles. You will need intense funding, especially for the building of your product. Also, there needs to be a marketing budget to push your product when it is ready. All these will require some good funding. You can get loans and grants from entrepreneurial funding programs like the Tony Elumelu Foundation. You can also explore other options such as venture capitalists and angel investors.

With these steps up and running, you are ready to launch into the market. Remember to keep improving, as the market demand will always change.

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This article was first published on 24th May 2022


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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