The most common complain among youths trying to launch a business in Nigeria, is lack of capital. What many youths do not realize, is that many organizations have millions of dollars set aside for the funding of small business enterprise.
These organizations range from personal foundations, corporate CSR, government grants and other special grants. Some of the grants can fund any kind of business enterprise,while others are meant to encourage investment in certain sectors of the economy. For instance, some grants are for small businesses interested in green renewable energy or in ecological conservation projects. Some grants are also meant for NGO’s , Women or social enterprises.
In any case, every young and aspiring entrepreneur, should be aware of all available sources of free capital and apply to relevant ones.
Millionaires Academy aims to expose young Nigerians to all sources of free startup capital available to them, from both within the country and outside the country.
We have compiled a list of 50 organizations that provide grants to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Let’s take a look at some of them:
The $100 Million Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme was established by Mr Tony Elumemlu, the Chairman of UBA bank and Heirs Holdings. It is an annual programme, designed to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs.
The $100 million programme, announced at the Tony Elumelu Foundation headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, will identify and support 1,000 entrepreneurs from across the continent each year over the next 10 years.
The 10,000 start-ups and young businesses selected from across Africa will ultimately create one million new jobs and add $10 billion in annual revenues to Africa’s economy.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is open to citizens and legal residents of all 54 African countries.
Applications can be made by any for-profit business based in Africa in existence for less than three years, including new business ideas.
- SEEDSTARS AFRICA
Seedstars Africa is a member of Seedstars Group, a Swiss-based venture builder that is active and invests in 35+ countries around the world especially in emerging markets in Asia, South America, The Middle East and Africa. Seedstars recently invested $330,000 in SimplePay, a young Nigerian third-party payment processing company that has created a solution which will likely disrupt payment services in Nigeria and Africa.
- ACUMEN FUND
Acumen is a charity organisation incorporated in 2001 with seed capital from the Rockefeller Foundation, Cisco Systems Foundation and three individual philanthropists. The Acumen Fund invests in entrepreneurs who have the capability to bring sustainable solutions to big problems.
In May 2014, The Acumen Fund co-invested $1.5 million in Esoko Networks Limited (“Esoko”), a Ghanaian-built technology platform that connects African farmers to markets via mobile phones. In October 2014, Acumen announced a $1.4 million investment in SolarNow, a company that sells and finances solar home systems in Uganda.
Acumen is always looking for entrepreneurs who have new and innovative models for tackling poverty and who also meet their investment criteria.
To qualify for investment, entrepreneurs must be located in, or have significant operation or impact in East Africa, West Africa, India, Pakistan or Latin America.
- Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund
The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund is a US$ 207m fund capitalized by multilateral and bilateral donors (the AECF donors) to stimulate private sector entrepreneurs in Africa.
The AECF is supported by the governments of Australia, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The Fund awards grants and repayable grants to private sector companies to support innovative business ideas in agriculture, agribusiness, renewable energy, adaptation to climate change and access to information and financial services. The AECF makes its funding available through competitions. Private sector companies are invited to compete for AECF funds by submitting their new and innovative business ideas to a particular AECF competition. The best ideas are awarded up to US$1.5m in grants and interest free loans.
- African Development Foundation
The African Development Foundation (ADF) is an independent Federal agency of the United States government that was established to support African-led development that grows community enterprises by providing seed capital and technical support.
USADF connects community enterprises with capital and technical support. It helps organizations and businesses in Africa to create and sustain jobs, improve income levels, achieve greater food security, and address human development needs.
In 2014 alone, the USADF gave out 336 grants worth over $50 million and impacted over 1.3 million people in Africa.
The USADF focuses on Small holder Farmers, youths, women and girls, and recovering communities. It provides grants of up to $250,000 directly to hard to reach and underserved community enterprises that are ready to do their part.
- African Women’s Development Fund(AWDF)
The AWDF is the first pan-African women’s grant maker in Africa. Since the start of its operations in 2001, AWDF has provided US$17 million in grants to 800 women’s organizations in 42 African countries. The AWDF is an institutional capacity-building and programme development fund, which aims to help build a culture of learning and partnerships within the African women’s movement. In addition to raising money and awarding grants, the AWDF will attempt to strengthen the organisational capacities of its grantees.
The AWDF only funds local, national, sub-regional and regional organisations in Africa working towards women’s empowerment in six thematic areas:
Women’s Human Rights, Economic Empowerment and Livelihoods, Governance, Peace and Security, Reproductive Health and Rights, HIV/AIDS, Arts, Culture and Sports.
The AWDF only awards grants to organisations, not individuals. It awards grants ranging from $8,000 up to $50,000.
Agri-Vie is a private equity investment fund focused on food and agribusiness in Sub-Sahara Africa. Since it started in 2008, it has invested over $100m in Africa’s food and agribusiness sector.
Its investments in Africa include: Dew Crisp (South Africa), Africa Juice (Ethiopia), Fairfield Dairy (South Africa), New Forests Company (Tanzania), Hygrotech (South Africa), Kariki Group (Kenya) and Vida Oils (Mozambique). Entrepreneurs with viable projects in Nigeria and other African countries are free to apply.
Agri-Vie focuses on the following areas: food and beverages, convenience foods (including fresh-packed and prepared foods), protein products including poultry, aquaculture and beef; value-added dairy products, including yoghurts, desserts, cultured milk; health & wellness products; forestry and timber products; agricultural inputs including seeds, bio-friendly fertilisers and crop-protection; food logistics – cold chain, warehousing, distribution; and renewable energy.
- eVA Fund
The eVentures Africa Fund (eVA Fund) was launched in January 2010 and is dedicated to mobilising capital and experience in the Netherlands/Europe to invest in small and medium-sized African internet related companies.
eVA Fund exclusively provides funding to startups in sub-Saharan Africa. Some of its investments include: Nomanini, Verviant, Umuntu Media, and MoboFree.
The eVA Fund focuses on and invests only in companies that use technology within Africa to build world-class platforms that deliver local content for Africa. This includes startup businesses in the following areas: internet and/or mobile applications, platforms, e-commerce and solution-providers (i.e. not in infrastructure and hardware).
The reason why many “aspiring” entrepreneurs are crying for funds, is either they are ignorant of the many opportunities for funding available to them, or they do not have good ideas that can attract funding, or they do not have a solid business plan that will woo investors. It all boils down to lack of preparation.
Many serious minded Nigerian entrepreneurs have been able to attract hundreds of millions of naira worth of funds. Simplepay got over N100 Million fund from SeedStars Africa.
Mark Essien, the 31 year old founder of hotels.ng got N80 million ($250,000) startup fund from from Spark fund.
So what are you waiting for? Are you going to continue bemoaning your fate and giving all manner of excuses? Are you going to play the blame game? or are you going to take action this New year and do what is necessary to see your dream life become a reality this New Year?
Every aspiring entrepreneur in Nigeria should as a matter of urgency, join the Millionaires Academy. Millionaires Academy is the biggest online entrepreneurship training school in Nigeria today. It is the home and molding place of future Millionaires and captains of Industry in Nigeria.
Millionaires Academy is a social enterprise, that aims to empower youths with entrepreneurial skills, professional business training and expose young entrepreneurs to the world of startup financing for their ideas.
There are over 80 free online courses on essential aspects of entrepreneurship and business management, as well as tutorials on specific businesses like agriculture, manufacturing and industry.
Millionaires Academy will also teach you how to prepare a professional business plan that will be able to attract grants and funds like the ones shared above.
Register with us today, and gain full access to all 50 organizations giving out grants to entrepreneurs, small businesses and organizations. You will also receive contact details and means of application for these grants, but most importantly, our trainings will help you to develop great business ideas and plans.
This will be your best decision moving into this new year !