All you need to know about entrepreneurship grants in Nigeria. In the business world, it is generally accepted that money is the life of a business. Without money, a business struggles and then it dies. And in this country, almost every entrepreneur is searching for entrepreneurship grants in Nigeria to expand their businesses and move to a more bigger level.

Unfortunately, there aren’t too many organizations offering grants to small and medium businesses when compared to financial institutions offering loans. Here are some top entrepreneurship grants in Nigeria organized by private organizations and government agencies:

Entrepreneurship Grants In Nigeria

1. Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP):

Business tycoon Mr Tony Elumelu is already a household name in Nigeria and Africa at large. 

With a desire to empower a generation of flourishing African businesses who drive the continent’s economic and social transformation, the chairman of Heirs Holdings chose to birth the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme in 2015 via the Tony Elumelu Foundation (which is the philanthropic arm of Heirs Holdings)

TEEP is helping to create an enabling environment for business owners to flourish in a sustained form, with a long-term goal of creating a million jobs in the space of 10 years.

The programme is regarded as the biggest philanthropic initiative in the continent that is devoted to entrepreneurship, and have spent over #2 billion in the past five years to support their mission.

1000 entrepreneurs are selected across Africa from over 40,000 applicants with each application carefully checked by business experts in the industry.

To Be Eligible, you must be above 18 and a citizen (or a legal resident) of an African country, and your business must be:

  • based in Africa 
  • for profit
  • 0-3 years’ old

Your application must be submitted through their dedicated application portal (the cycle runs each year from January 1st to March 1st) and you should get set to answer a series of mandatory questions while registering.

To increase your chances of being selected at the end, ensure you have a clear financial model and a capable team running the business with you.

2. YouWin! Connect

This initiative provides a platform for entrepreneurs to nurture their ideas and network with various experts in their industry.

YouWin Connect, targeted at young Nigerians (18-40 years), has an annual capacity building of 55,000 young business owners. The initiative has been educating budding entrepreneurs to push their businesses to a much higher level, providing more jobs in the process.

An initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance, YouWin! Connect was created just for Nigerians (graduates between 18-40 with businesses in Nigeria), to help nurture ideas and innovation for budding business owners, and to enhance their productivity through relevant SME development tools.

Before applying, ensure:

  • You are a Nigerian who is residing in Nigeria 
  • You have graduated from a higher institution
  • You are between 18-40
  • You run your business in Nigeria
  • You are willing to attend all training and mentoring programs put in place by the organisers
  • You are able to communicate effectively in English
  • You are not a civil servant

3. Bank of Industry (BOI)

In a bid to empower young and talented Nigerian business owners seeking to dive into various sectors of the country’s economy, The Bank of Industry chose to launch The Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme.

YES is meant to tackle the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria by investing in young entrepreneurs and funding their ideas. Through this initiative, young business owners will be equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge to be self-employed by kicking off and owning their own business.

The programme comprises of:

  1. Eight weeks of Business Management and Entrepreneurship training (via an online portal) meant to test participants’ understanding and to get their progress tracked.
  2. An intensive five-day in-class Entrepreneurship training. 
  3. Technical skills training to be held at various selected vocational training institutes across the country. 
  4. Financing of selected applicants by the Bank of Industry under the SME Cluster Platform in conjunction with the UN Economic Commission For Africa’s commodity-based Industrialization Strategy

To be eligible for selection, you must:

  • Be a citizen of Nigeria 
  • Have a good business idea within the forty identified clusters that is used, or will run in the country.
  • Be between 18-35 years
  • Have a minimum education qualification of OND

The application will be done online, and you must submit proof of identity (International passport /Drivers Licence / National ID) during the process.


4. Lagos Entrepreneurs Trust Fund (LSETF)

The Lagos State government is known for its interest in economic growth and actions that reduce crimes in society. One of their applauded actions was the establishment of The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund Law in 2016, which eventually birthed The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)

The aim of LSETF (also known as ‘the fund’) is to provide financial support to people living in Lagos State for job and wealth creation. The government, concerned about the high rate of unemployment in the state, have decided to tackle the menace through this initiative.

With the mandate to directly invest #25 Billion in helping residents of the state grow their businesses (or acquire a skill that can help them get better employment, ‘The Fund’ is inspiring the creative strengths of residents of the state to reduce unemployment.

The sectors being targeted include Healthcare, manufacturing, Entertainment, garment making, Construction, Hospitality and tourism.

The initiative is meant for young people between the ages of 18-35 who are unemployed, without skills, or underemployed.


5. AYEEN Financial Grants

Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs (A. Y. E) is helping young business owners across the continent by putting in place platforms that facilitate intra-trade in Africa.

They are committed to empowering young African entrepreneurs by developing them to shape the economies and political landscapes of their various nations.

AYEEN is seeking to finance SMEs in various sectors, and only a few business owners will be selected for the prizes.

To be eligible:

  • You must be a citizen of Nigeria 
  • Your business must be located in any of the 36 states in Nigeria

Also note that if your business is selected, you and your business will be monitored for one year.

6. Diamond Bank BET Programme

Building Enterprises Today (BET) is an initiative that is aimed at giving support to growing businesses and their owners.

Every year, the organizers select 50 entrepreneurs and then made them pass through a six-month intensive entrepreneurship training.

Afterwards, 5 business entrepreneurs are selected from the 50 and will be given financial grants as seed capital to catapult their businesses to a much higher level.

The first edition of the initiative was a big success that saw thousands of entrepreneurs submitting their applications from different parts of the country.

In the most recent edition of the programme, the top 5 finalists were given three Million Naira (#3,000,000) grants to expand their various businesses.


7. GroFin Fund

GroFin enjoys financing and supporting budding entrepreneurs across Africa and the Middle East. They focus on granting funds to small and growing businesses, and also offer business supports to assist them to expand their enterprises.

The organization delivers an integrating solution for patient risk capital, focusing more on business underserved by other financiers.

To be eligible for the GroFin Fund, your business must be for-profit and must operate in one of the following countries:

Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Egypt and Zambia.

Also note that:

  • You as the business owner must be involved in running the business
  • The business has a turnover that is not more than US$15 Million.

That’s all about Entrepreneurship Grants In Nigeria.

Lastly we must note that there are differences between loans and grants.

Differences Between Loans And Grants In Nigeria

  • Grants are financial assistance that a business owner receives without the obligation to pay back. They are provided by the government and some private organizations, to fulfil a particular purpose.
  • A loan, on the other hand, is money borrowed from a financial institution (mostly a bank) which a business owner must repay after a period of time, along with some interest. It is an arrangement whereby money is borrowed from the lender, and there is an obligation to pay back after some time with interest.

For a grant, an entrepreneur is not bothering about repaying the money received sometime in the future. The simple thing to do is to ensure you qualify. And if selected, you receive free money (which comes with free business support from industry experts on most occasions).

However, entrepreneurship grants in Nigeria are hard to come by. And whenever an organization made an announcement for a grant, there are always lots of business owners fighting for a spot at the top. So, while searching for entrepreneurship grants in Nigeria, it is advisable that you place yourself in a good position that can increase your chances of being selected.

You are advised to have a good financial record that shows your business is already profitable and have the intention of employing more people if given the funds.