• Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Five funding options for Nigerian entrepreneurs

Finance is the fuel that propels every business and in its absence, entrepreneurs with wonderful ideas risk failure or stagnation.

Seed capital and finance for expansion are becoming increasingly challenging for businesses to locate.

Understanding the critical importance of funding to Nigerian business owners and entrepreneurs, Start-Up Digest, in its characteristic manner, has dug up some of the places where entrepreneurs can access funds for their businesses.

There are general criteria to access these funds and there are also specific ones depending on the particular funding institution.

General criteria

The general criterion for accessing these funds is to have a business. These firms rarely fund ideas because ideas are untested and untried.

You must have a business and ensure that it is providing a solution to a problem in society.

Next is to have a bankable and viable business plan. More so, the entrepreneur should be clear on where he/she wants to be in the near future and be able to describe the market he/she plays.

The entrepreneur should have good book-keeping in order to accurately know his/her revenue and the expenditure.

Tony Elumelu Foundation Fund

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 ongoing Tony Elumelu Fund.

You can be one of the 1,000 lucky entrepreneurs to be shortlisted for 2022 as the application is currently ongoing to close on March 1, 2022.

Read also: Infrastructure deficit, distribution costs hinder effective LPG supply in Nigeria

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. Our 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 the $1.5 million grant money yearly.

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

It funds an enormous diversity of business 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.

So, are you operating in any of those sectors, and then you may apply for Jack Ma Africa’s Business Heroes Programme. The application opens in April and closes in June yearly.

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 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.


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 amongst Nigeria’s start-ups, some entrepreneurs are already talking advantage of it to raise funds for their businesses.

Some of the popular crowdfunding websites entrepreneurs can raise funds from are: Kickstarter, RocketHub, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, Crowdfunder and Wefunder among others.

Incubators & Accelerators

Early stage businesses can consider Incubator and Accelerator programs as a funding option. Found in almost every major city, these programs assist hundreds of startup businesses every year.

Though used interchangeably, there are few fundamental differences between the two terms. Incubators are like a parent to a child, who nurtures the business providing shelter, tools, training and network. Accelerator is more or less the same thing, but it helps to run/take a giant leap.

These programs normally run for four – eight months and require time commitment from the business owners. You will also be able to make good connections with mentors, investors and other fellow startups using this platform.

Incubators and Accelerators hub to access are Co-creation, Wennovation, Passion Incubator, Leadpath Nigeria and StartupSouth among others.