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Seven funding opportunities to grow your business

Finance is the lifeblood of every business, and without it, even the most brilliant entrepreneurs risk failing or stalling.

Securing seed capital and finance for expansion is becoming increasingly challenging for businesses in Nigeria at a time when bank credit is expensive and nearly impossible in most cases.

Here are seven funding opportunities that small business owners can target to scale their business operations;

Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF)

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropy has empowered 200,000 entrepreneurs across 54 African countries with seed funds of $5,000 each.

Tony Elumelu Foundation has empowered 9,631 entrepreneurs from across 54 countries of Africa with seed funds of mostly $5,000 each.

A few years ago, Elumelu set aside $100 million for African entrepreneurs. If you are in agriculture, fashion and design, light manufacturing, ICT, and solid minerals, among others, then you may apply for the Tony Elumelu Foundation Fund.


The Bank of Industry (BOI) has a number of funds that entrepreneurs of all levels can access. First is the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF), which is meant to serve members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

There is also the Cottage Agro Processing (CAP) Fund for small and medium agro processors; the Nolly Fund for players in the Nollywood industry, as well as Fashion Fund for designers and other players in the value chain. There are specific funds for manufacturers, including the CTG Fund for textile makers, and the Cassava Bread Fund.

The bank has other matching and managed funds, including a fund for the automotive industry and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program funds (MarketMoni, TraderMoni).

Read also: African startup funding declines by 56% in 9 months


Norrenberger is an integrated financial services group that provides bespoke financial solutions.

Recently, Norrenberger unveiled its entrepreneurship fund, targeting 5,000 youths with an N500 million start-up grant.

According to the company’s mission, it gives access to alternative financing which in turn allows people to bring their innovative ideas to life and expand their existing businesses.

The program is aimed to empower young graduates while reducing unemployment, creating wealth, and ensuring national security.

Jack Ma Africa’s Business Heroes

Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) is the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program in Africa to support entrepreneurs. The company’s mission is to showcase and grow local talent who are creating a positive impact in their communities and beyond and inspire a movement of African entrepreneurship.

The program is open to entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries and will see the top 10 finalists share a $1.5 million grant money yearly.

It is a 10-year programme that recognises 100 African entrepreneurs and provides grant funding, training programs, and broader support for the broad African entrepreneurial ecosystem.

It funds an enormous diversity of businesses with sixteen different sectors including agriculture, beauty & wellness, construction, consulting, education, energy, environmental protection, financial services, F&B, healthcare, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, media & entertainment, retail, and transportation.

Read also: Five funding options for Nigerian entrepreneurs

Orange Corners

The Orange Corners is an incubation programme that provides aspiring Nigerian young entrepreneurs with a dynamic, state-of-the-art facility, where they get the opportunity to collaborate and work with like-minded individuals.

Orange Corners Lagos is developed and funded by the Netherlands embassy in Lagos and implemented by the FATE Foundation.

It provides funding for prototype business development for entrepreneurs who are within 18- 35 years with innovative business models in Education, Health, Agriculture and the Creative sector.


The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has N25 billion to support SMEs. Though this was started by Akinwumi Ambode, the former Lagos State governor, authorities have assured that the scheme will continue owing to the impact it has made on the people of the state.

The fund is divided into two categories; micro and small businesses. Under the micro, businesses can access up to N500,000 loans with an interest rate of five percent and a tenor of one year. For the small business category, businesses can get up to N5 million for a tenor of three years.


Over the years, crowdfunding has become an effective alternative for entrepreneurs to raise funds for their business ideas.

It is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the Internet.

It is initiated by some organisations or people to support a broad array of activities such as journalism, disaster relief, political campaigns, start-up funding, movie development, support of artists by fans, and scientific research amongst others.

Though its knowledge is still low among Nigeria’s start-ups, some entrepreneurs are already taking advantage of it to raise funds for their businesses.

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