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Nigeria is one country that despite bottlenecks and economic mishaps, is set to join the comity of highly innovative nations in the world. Such efforts can be put in by the government, and it can also begin at the grassroots by small businesses. In today’s make-the-cash kind of world, everyone is looking to earn a living or expand their businesses, especially in Nigeria. They usually start out by garnering for business grants to finance their businesses and engage with better prospects.
Nevertheless, incidentally, there aren’t actually Nigerian federal or provincial government grants available in as many numbers as small business scattered throughout the country. Virtually everyone is working hard to get financed.
In dissimilarity to business loans, grants do not need to be repaid. So that rids the worry over term length, interest rates, APR or refinancing. All that is required is a qualification, and then, free money follows. Many such platforms that offer grants are unknown by Nigerian entrepreneurs. Informatively, here are a few small business grants organized by government agencies and private individuals in Nigeria, which startups are already availing.
Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP)
This is an annual program that was started and is run by a Nigerian business captain of industry, Mr. Tony Elumelu through the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). This platform was launched sometime in 2015, with a target to providing USD 10 K seed funding for entrepreneurs across the African landscape. Each year, the program painstakingly selects 1,000 startups across the continent from as many as 50,000 applicants.
When these entrepreneurs apply, they are put through careful review by business experts in the industry and winners are determined based on market feasibility, explicit financial models and a capable team to run the enterprise. Each program cycle starts with an application process which is open from January 1st until the first day of March. To be eligible, the startup must be based in Africa, aimed for profit, within 0 to 3 years old and the applying owners must be at least 18 years while being a resident or citizen of an African country.
This is a multimedia program orchestrated by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Finance, with an aim to promote entrepreneurship in the country, as well as creating jobs and wealth via enterprise education for young Nigerians. Nigerian business owners will on this platform enhance their knowledge and skills through relevant SME development schools. The businesses are promoted by young Nigerians in target sectors that are in alignment with the government’s objective to diversify the economy and fostering competition and transparency.
The first edition of the program, which was themed YouWIN!1, was an initiation set to sensitize aspiring entrepreneurial youths on job creation by funding their business plans. YouWIN!2, the second edition of the program, happened to be a mono-gender version, which involved women under the age of 45 as participants. 1.200 youths were rewarded. The third edition, YouWIN!3, was poly-gender and recorded 2,500 youths emerged as awardees.
The applicants for this program must be graduates from universities, between the age of 18 and 40, be resident Nigerians, and possess effective English communication skills and willing to attend all the involved events. They must not be an employee of the Nigerian Civil Service. Previous awardees are automatically disqualified from further YouWIN programs.
Banks of Industry (BOI)
The Bank of Industry, as of recent, launched an empowerment scheme for youths for the young and talented entrepreneurs looking to enter into various sectors of Nigeria’s economy. The Youth Entrepreneurship Support, YES program exists as BIO’s effort to address the continual issue of youth unemployment in Nigeria by building the capacity of the young and funding their various business ideas. The YES Program is aimed at providing youths with the means to acquire requisite skills and knowledge needed for self-employment by kicking off and running their ventures.
The YES program comprises eight weeks of intensive online instruction in Entrepreneurship and Business Management, maximally testing the participant’s level of understanding and tracking their progress. It also includes a technical skills training in partnership, which then rounds up to the financing of the businesses by BOI under its SME cluster initiative in consonance with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Commodity-based Industrialization Strategy.
The applicants must be Nigerian, within the 18 to 35 years age bracket and possess a minimum educational qualification of Ordinary National Diploma (OND). They must also have a viable business idea that falls within the 40m identified clusters operated, or that will be operated in the country and be ready to actively apply for and participate in the process online.
Of course, others exist (which we may cover later), but these three have proven to be the most effective, stable, consistent and sure-fire since their inception. If you are a startup in Nigeria, and you probably want to expand your venture, be sure to look into these platforms and avail yourself the opportunity soon enough.
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