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Introduction to the Chad Startup Ecosystem
The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Chad is still developing. It lacks information and data. It is confronted with several challenges such as lack of organization such as a national agency of information, counseling, financial assistance, judicial, and administrative. Also, the taxes are high, and there is no exoneration from corporate tax (IS) for newly created companies. The microfinance sector is not noticeable. However, since the last three years we have noticed a certain enthusiasm in the youth regarding entrepreneurship, as they understand its necessity given the current socioeconomic crisis in the country. This is confirmed by Chad Talent Forum in 2015, which saw the participation of several entrepreneurs with original ideas.
Successful Startups in Chad
Mossosouk.com: It is the first on-line marketplace and the most visited classified ads platform in Chad. The name comes from two words, Mosso in my native language mostly spoken in the southern part of my country which means Trade, and Souk in Arabic, mostly spoken in the northern part which means Market. It’s at the same time a call for people in my country, which went through many internal conflicts, to reconcile and work together for a brighter and better future.
NaoFood: It is an organization that works towards school food improvement, in order to contribute to children and pupils’ health in Chad. It is a concept of installing small school canteen in some selected schools, for the early stage, Naofood is present in Evangelical School, Source of Progress School, Hope High School, and Gassi High School.
Dawa Mobile Health: It is a mobile testing unit in the villages of the State of Torrock (50,000) in the Mayo Kebbi West. They have set up laboratories in health centres. Contact with the target groups is made by telephone. All parents wishing to test children with urinary problems send a message on a number. The appointments are then made and payments take place, without children having to travel. The results are given by SMS. Those who are declared positive receive their drugs delivered directly to homes.
Batis Services: The main idea is to produce and sell the interlocking bricks. These ecological and economic bricks are made by clay, sand, lime and Brice husk ash (RHA). This mixture (lime+RHA) produces cement effect, which is used to stabilize the clay.
Crunch : A restaurant concept that has brought something new to Chad and has made itself a brand by attracting middle class in N’Djamena.
Strengths of the Chad Startup Ecosystem
Chad’s population is predominantly young, and the youth brings energy, passion, enthusiasm, innovation and creativity. There are various sectors in Chad that young entrepreneurs can exploit.
Finally, we could also cite our diversity as a treasure for our country. Cultural, environmental and climate diversity that could make Chad a true destination, not only for business but also for tourism. Yet, entrepreneurship in Chad remains an area that interests very few young people. Much remains to be done in this area. The fact that the sector is not exploited is an opportunity for those interested in it. The establishment of electricity in N’Djamena could be an advantage for companies.
Weaknesses of the Chad Startup Ecosystem
- Lack of encouragement of initiatives for the youth – The entrepreneurial ecosystem is not favorable at all (No special status for startups). It is very difficult or even impossible to receive financing from banking institutions or organizations such as FNOAP, FONAJ, etc. which are nevertheless supposed to help the youth.
- The risk of inflation may constrain entrepreneurship – This can lower the profit of a company. Similarly we can add a tax risk, that is to say from one day to another, the state could raise taxes and corporate taxes (IS) and this could have an impact on entrepreneurship.
- There are no state organizations that support startups (eg. an agency) – In other words, the support policy does not exist due to the deterioration of the country’s political climate.
- Lack of entrepreneurial culture in youth and education system that was much more designed to generate officials and employees, and not entrepreneurs.
- Lack of real political will (not speeches but deeds) which promotes entrepreneurship as reducing the cost and time to start a business, make tax exemptions for newly established companies in a given period of time.
- Lack of support structure and training of young project managers
- Lack of funding
Startup Resources in Chad
There is not magazine or newspaper that focuses exclusively on entrepreneurship in Chad. But, there are few newspapers that talk about the economy in a comprehensive manner in the case of Chad Economy and others. Moreover, the blog Entreprendre l’Afrique focuses mainly on entrepreneurs.
Biggest Players in Chad Startup Ecosystem
- The RJDLT : Réseau des Jeunes pour le Développement et le Leadership au Tchad (Network of Young for Development and Leadership in Chad). A young and independent non-profit movement that is committed to create and foster entrepreneurship in Chad. Their mission is to prepare a new generation of entrepreneurs by creating an environment where passionate people can come and work together, learn and network. They also want to create better conditions to attract local and foreign investors for the development of fundable startups in Chad. At the core of their mission is equal access to education, skills formation and capital in Chad, this is why we’re committed to make all our events free and accessible to the underprivileged.
- WenakLabs: The First Tech Hub In Chad
- Bet al Nadja Association: Founder of La Maison de La Petite Entreprise (MPE), a support structure and development of business ideas.
- The Youth Network for Development and Leadership in Chad
- Génération ABCD: A very active youth association in the ecosystem, created by the youth for the youth.
Major Startup Events in Chad
- SITIC (Salon International de la Technologie de l’Information et de la Communication) : An international ICT fair.
- Tchad Talent: An annual big event on skills and entrepreneurship l’entrepreneuriat which has a great influence on the ecosystem.
- Creative Business Cup: It is a world championship for creative startups. Creative Business Cup is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) and one of the top five featured events among more than 35,000 global events. Creative Business Cup empowers startups in the creative industries, connects them to investors and global markets and strengthens their innovative capabilities to the benefit of industry and society.
- Get In the Ring Tchad: A global startup competition (with an unique pitching concept) where the most promising startups are promoted.
- Salon des Arts Appliqués et de l’Entrepreneuriat : Art and Entrepreneurship fair held every year around November, it is a unique fair that promotes art and culture and as we know, art is also an entreprise. It gathers multiple art designers in order to help them promote their activities and gives them visibility.
Suggestions for Improving the Startup Ecosystem in Chad
- Give more power to the ANIE
- Create a national agency that supports startups
- Improve the business climate in Chad
- Lower import taxes on raw materials and VAT
- Make a tax exemption on companies (IS) for newly established companies
- Softening of the conditions of bank lending
- The revitalization of the microfinance sector
- Having mentoring structures and business support
- Create events to encourage young
- Having people or investors to finance some projects
- Easing the business creation process
- Have a special status for startups in Chad
- Promote entrepreneurial culture at the college / high school and universities
- Political will accompanied by concrete actions and reforms to support entrepreneurship (the cost and time to start a business, tax incentives, access to the internet).
- Democratization of structures promoting ecosystem (incubator, coworking space, labs, accelerators)
- Financing structures adapted to young entrepreneurs.
Despite all the weaknesses, Chad’s entrepreneurial ecosystem abounds several opportunities. Its young population and unexploited sectors are a strength for the ecosystem, and this makes it an ideal place to start a business, despite challenges like legal and fiscal environment and the lack of funding.
About the Author:
MOHAMED NDONGA CHRISTIAN, Co-founder of Youth Network for Development and Leadership in Chad,
- ABDELKERIM OUSMANE TOUDJANI: Civil Society Actor, Président of ACIEDD
- ABDELSALAM SAFI: Developper, ICT Promotor, Coordinator at WENAKLABS
- ADELE KOUMATO: Senir Financial Auditor
- ANDREAS KOUMATO: Entrepreneur, CEO of Mossosouk.com
- ANAIS MASSINFA, Journalist