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Are you in need of finances to start or expand your business? To move your business to the next level, you can secure a grant. I will explain what a grant is in this article, and you will also have access to details of the top 28 grants in Nigeria in 2022. You will learn specific details on how to apply and criteria for each grant. But, first, let see what a grant means:

What is a Grant (for Nigerian Businesses)

A grant is a financial aid from the government or non-governmental organisations. It helps people who lack financial support for their ventures. 

Grants are more beneficial than loans. Unlike loans where you have to pay back with interest, but you do not have to pay grants back. You also do not need collateral for grants, you only need to meet the requirements of the organisation to apply.

There are several grant opportunities in Nigeria today. Grants in Nigeria are either government-issued or non-government-issued financial aid based on the merit of a project, as well as personal attributes such as gender and location, education, business, age, etc. 

The main types of grants are: 

These are just a few. To keep you informed on available grants in Nigeria, I have collected the top 28 grants in Nigeria. I have grouped the grants into 4 sections to help you navigate easily: 

Section 1: General Business Grants:

This is an initiative by the African Young Entrepreneurs Organisation (AYE). The initiative is focused on empowering young entrepreneurs in Africa. Grants are awarded based on your business plan.

            How to apply for AYEEN:

  1. Login to AYE website
  2. Click on AYEEN application form
  3. Fill registration form carefully and submit
  4. It is an essential criterion to follow A.Y.E on all social media platforms.
  5. You will get an email from AYE if your registration is successful. The mail will include details of how to move to the second stage of your application.
  6. The following are the documents you need to make your application seamless:
  1. You will receive an email to submit the above documents, which will be reviewed at the AYE head office in Johannesburg.
  2. If you move to the next stage, prepare thoroughly for the regional screening, which takes place in 6 regions across Nigeria.
  3. Sometimes, you might be called on to physically defend your business plan before international judges. So, be sure to get all your details right and be prepared for any type of questions.
  4. Winners of the AYEEN grant are usually announced at the AYEEN convention, hosted in Lagos at the end of every year.

            Who can apply for AYEEN:

                 Anyone from the age of 18 and above can apply for this grant.

The foundation is a non-profit empowerment organisation founded in 2015 by Tony Elumelu, C.O.N.  He is an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist who is passionate about Africa's economic development. The foundation is dedicated to helping young men and women across Africa through job creation.

How to apply for TEF:

  1. Login to the TEFCONNECT website. You will be required to sign up.
  2. On the landing page after signing up, you will see two options: 
    1. pick the option that says Entrepreneur and complete the Onboarding form.
  3. Completing the onboarding form will take you to the TEF training page, where you see your initials at the top right-hand corner of the page.
  4. Click on the indent sign at the top left corner to see the Application window.
  5. The application window is where you will fill your application form.
  6. You must complete the application form by answering a series of mandatory questions, upload required documents and identification materials. Personal information supplied in the application form, such as names, addresses and date of birth, must tally with identification documents provided.
  7. You must also have a business in mind with a quality business plan.
  8. Once the form is submitted, you will receive an email within 1 business day confirming receipt. Once submitted, you cannot alter or amend applications.    
  9. Selection is done by an independent consultant based on these criteria:
  1. If you meet the criteria,you will be selected for the programme and offered a legal agreement  that must be signed and returned in 5 working days. 

           Who can apply to TEF:

           Anyone African who has a business in Africa and is aged 18 and above.

This is an initiative by the Lagos state government for residents of Lagos state. The goal being wealth and job creation for Lagosians. The trust fund is open to provide financial support for micro, small and medium enterprises in Lagos state.

How to apply for LSETF:

  1. Go to the website.
  2. Click on the text that says 'apply for the artisan fund'.
  3. Fill in all the required information.
  4. You will need these to complete the form:
  1. Proceed to submit after checking that all your information is correct. 
  2. If your application meets the requirements,you will be shortlisted.

            Who can apply for LSETF:

            Anyone between 18-35 years.

YouWIN means Youth Enterprise with Innovative In Nigeria. It is a Federal government grant initiative in Nigeria. It is designed to help youths between ages 20-45 start or expand their businesses. With a good and convincing business plan, you can get between 1million naira and 10million naira as grant.

How to apply for YouWIN:

  1. Go to the YouWIN website.
  2. Sign up and click the confirmation link sent to your mailbox.
  3. You will be redirected to the Business plan page where you need to sign in with your username and password.
  4. Fill the form on the landing page. Please save your points as you type and stay on the page until you submit.
  5. You will need the following for the application:
  1. Submit your application and wait for the YouWIN email if you're shortlisted.

           Who can apply for YouWIN:

           Any Nigerian between 20 - 45 years can apply.

This initiative was launched in 2003 in Nigeria. It is aimed at providing access to entrepreneurship training, business development services, and business startup capital for youths. 

How to apply for Shell LiveWire:

  1. Go to the website and sign up.
  2. Click the icon on the top right-hand corner and click Apply.
  3. Click on Candidate assessment and fill the form, with full details. Please note that you cannot save the form so stay on it till you are sure you are done,then submit. I advise that you write all your long answers somewhere before filling the form. It makes the process easier and faster.
  4. If you meet the requirements, you will get an email for the next stage.

            Who can apply for Shell LiveWire:

            Nigerians between the ages of 18-35.

This project has been established to address challenges such as job creation, leadership, Social work, etc. It is a youth led programme that engages Nigerian youths productively.

How to apply for YEN:

  1. Go to YEN’s website and sign up.
  2. Fill the application form. Note that you can also get the application form physically at their office. Address and contact details are on the website.
  3. You will need the following for this application:
  1. Submit your fully completed application and prepare for the defence of your business summary. You will be called for the defence if your proposal is convincing.
  2. Be careful not to submit your application twice.

       Who can apply for YEN:

       Nigerians between the ages of 12-21

This is an initiative of the International Breweries Foundation and the arm of the International Breweries Plc. The foundation’s focus is on the enterprise growth and development of young entrepreneurs. The programme gives youths grants and mentoring for their businesses.

How to apply for KEP:

  1. Go to the official webpage of KEP and sign up.
  2. Fill the application form
  3. Note that your business must be 0-3years old and must be in Nigeria.

          Who can apply for KEP:

          Nigerians between 18-35 years 

It is an initiative of the Ugwumba Centre for Leadership development in Africa. The goal is to work towards an African continent whose democracies and economies are driven by young people and women who are building peaceful democratic systems and successful businesses.

How to apply for Ungwumba Enterprise Challenge:

  1. Go to the Ugwumba Leadership Centre website.
  2. Click the small box at the top right-hand corner. Go to programs and click on Ugwumba Enterprise Challenge.
  3. Click on the green button that says 'start your application'
  4. Fill the Google form and submit.
  5. Note you need to have a business idea and plan before you fill this form. You will be required to answer questions about it.

         Who can apply for Ungwumba Enterprise Challenge:

          Nigerians between the ages of 18-40.

       Application deadline:  

         September 30,2022.

This grant is hosted by Women in Africa,a company whose mission is to help women entrepreneurs and leaders to impact Africa's economy.

How to apply for WIA grants:

  1. Go to the WIA website. Click apply on the landing page.
  2. The apply link will take you to the information page. Here you will see How to apply:.
  3. Submit your application and wait for the announcement of finalists
  4. For this application you need:

           Who can apply for WIA grants:

            Any African woman entrepreneur or leader.

This is the flagship program of the Jack Ma Foundation in Africa. The goal is to grow local talents and inspire an African entrepreneurship movement.

How to apply for Africa's Business Heroes funds:

  1. Apply on Jack Ma Foundation's website.
  2. Your application will be reviewed online by two judges. If you make the top 50 finalist list, then you should prepare rigorously for your Video-call interview.
  3. For this application you will need:

            Who can apply for Africa's Business Heroes funds:

            A Nigerian founder or Co-founder of a company based in Nigeria.

 AWDF is a Pan-African grant-making organisation that 

supports the realisation and fulfilment of African women’s rights through funding of autonomous women’s organisations in Africa.   

How to apply for AWDF:

  1. Go to the AWDF website. Sign up 
  2. Check the application criteria, then go ahead to apply if you meet the terms.
  3. For this application you will need:

            Who can apply for AWDF:

            Any African woman who leads or manages a company.

Section2: Agriculture/Farmers' Grants

This is an agricultural grant initiative by Leventis PLC.

How to apply for Leventis Foundation Agricultural Training Program: 

  1. Go to the Leventis foundation website.
  2. Click on the link provided for application. The link will take you to a Google form.
  3. Note you need these for the application:

          Who can apply for Leventis Foundation Agricultural Training Program:

           Nigerians between the ages of 18-35.

This is a MasterCard initiative. The objective is to harness innovative solutions that will enhance rapid growth in the food sector as well as increase farmers' output and profits. This will in turn, create new jobs and food security in Nigeria.

How to apply for Agrohack challenge in Nigeria: 

  1. Go to the MasterCard agrohack challenge website and sign up.
  2. Click on the link provided for application and apply.
  3. Note you need these for the application:

            Who can apply for Agrohack challenge in Nigeria:

             Nigerians between the ages of 18-35 years.

          Application deadline:

             October 3, 2022.

This grant is a Church of Brethren fund organised to support agricultural efforts.

How to apply for GFI grants:

The Church of Brethren awards grants year round and announces criteria at each call for applications. The same goes for eligibility.

It is hosted by the Institute of Food Technology (IFT). The goal is to encourage and support innovative teams to transform the food system. There are two types of grants; the seed grant and the growth grant.

How to apply for Seeding the Future Foundation Grants:

  1. Go to the IFT website and sign up.
  2. Calls for grants will be announced on the website and also sent to your email.
  3. Apply on the website.
  4. You need the following for the application:

           Who can apply for Seeding the Future Foundation Grants:

Criteria for eligibility are usually announced when there is a call for applications.

This initiative is focused on encouraging and supporting youths in sustainable agriculture. The foundation is currently targeting youths who are still in the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC).

How to apply for F4F Grants:

  1. Go to the BATN foundation website to apply.
  2. Submit your application. You will need:
  1. 20 applicants will be shortlisted for a bootcamp. 10 businesses will be chosen from the bootcamp. 3 winners will finally emerge.


           Who can apply for F4F Grants:

            Any youth still in the NYSC.

The World Summit Innovators Award is a non-monetary grant focused on achieving sustainable knowledge transfer using a worldwide network. Winners get a one-time financial reward but also get a lifelong partnership and integration.

How to apply for WSA Young Innovators Award:

  1. Write an email to the WSA office introducing yourself to your WSA National Expert. Your National Expert will guide you through the local steps needed to apply for WSA.
  2. Your project will be reviewed and evaluated by the WSA National Expert if it meets the standards of WSA.
  3. After the evaluation, the WSA National Expert will decide if they wish to nominate your project for WSA, based on innovation, local impact and quality.
  4. If you are nominated, you will receive a confirmation email to complete your application. Please make sure to check your spam folder.

             Who can apply for WSA Young Innovators Award:

             Any team, company, student, or entrepreneur under the age of 26.

Section 3: Tech Grants

GHC is a leading African Fintech investment fund focused on supporting start-up companies, and emerging top-notch entrepreneurs, in building the next wave of innovative technology companies.

How to apply for GHC funds:

  1. Go to GHC's website and create an account
  2. Confirm your account
  3. Submit your application
  4. You need to have a beta-product and a business proposal ready for this application.

         Who can apply for GHC funds:

          A Nigerian-based tech start-up that has at least one woman and one technical team member.

This is a Federal Government grant. The programme is aimed at opportunities for teams that have viable ideas and solutions in manufacturing, tech, agriculture, and governance.

How to apply for i-Startup

  1. Go to the NSIP Premier Hub Innovation Centre website.
  2. Click the 'Apply now' button
  3. The button will take you to the form. Make sure to fill all required information.
  4. Submit and print out your confirmation slip
  5. Be on the lookout for email for the next stage if you are selected.

          Who can apply for i-Startup:

          An individual or start-up who has an idea, solution, or product in tech, agriculture, health, governance, manufacturing, or the digital oil field. MUST be located in the South West of Nigeria.

This program focuses on supporting early to mid-stage female professionals in the technology and business sectors.

How to apply:

  1. Go to the SC Some toolkit website and register 
  2. Apply and submit application
  3. For this application you will need:

            Who can apply:

             Nigerian female between the ages of 18-35.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking to make up to $100K equity-free investments (in cryptocurrency) to provide early stage funding and mentoring to for-profit technology startups that have the potential to benefit humanity. If you have a start-up registered in Nigeria, this is a good one.

How to apply for UNICEF Innovation Fund:

  1. Go to the UNICEF Innovation website.
  2. Check if you are eligible to apply. To be eligible, you must:


            Who can apply for UNICEF Innovation Fund:

             There is no age limit for this grant. Only that your start-up must be legally registered in a UN program country; in this case is Nigeria.

          Application deadline:

            November 30, 2022.

The AXA Fellowship is a  scheme that aims to support young, promising researchers on topics that align with AXA and the Society. The goal is to have transformative support for the researcher and the advancement of their research field.

How to apply for AXA Research Fellowship:

  1. Express your interest through the European Science Foundation's online platform.
  2. Your application must include:
  1. Submit your application in English to the online platform mentioned in No. 1.
  2. You will have a chance for rebuttal before your application is reviewed. So, please be well prepared.
  3. Results will be displayed on the website and also communicated through email.

           Who can apply for AXA Research Fellowship:

            Candidates should be at most  PhD+ 5 years with evident scientific excellence and high potential for innovation, transformation and dissemination.

The award recognises the most innovative business models or technology that can create a change in the food sector. The tech category awards the most innovative food tech startup.

How to apply for FoodTech Innovation Awards:

  1. Go to the Xpo Foodtech website.
  2. Click on the 'I want to apply now' button.
  3. The link takes you to a page where you are required to fill a form and read the terms and conditions.
  4. Submit the form when you are done filling the required spaces.

          Who can apply for FoodTech Innovation Awards:

      All organisations which are identified with this aim are cordially invited to submit their proposals to the Food 4 Future.

Section 4: International Grants

The United States grant for Augmenting Infectious Disease is aimed at supporting programs that have global scope, providing support, capacity building, tools, and recommendations that would be relevant across a wide range of humanitarian contexts. This is to ensure rapid response in case of future Infectious disease outbreaks.

How to apply for USAID:

  1. Go to the USAID website and read the instructions.
  2. Register to sign up
  3. Apply with relevant documents.

          Who can apply for USAID:

There are no clear-cut restrictions for this grant but you have to be in a humanitarian organisation and deal with health-related issues.

         Application deadline:

            September 16, 2022.

This is aimed at empowering African students and young graduates to start or expand scalable businesses. To make this more effective, MasterCard collaborates with different institutions and organisations such as the Jim Leech MasterCard Foundation Fellowship.

How to apply for MasterCard Foundation Fellowship Grant:

  1. Please sign up to the Queen's University website to get updates on the next Call for application. Requirements differ from time to time.

           Who can apply for MasterCard Foundation Fellowship Grant:

           Any  Nigerian- based in Nigeria, between the ages of 18 -35.

         Application deadline:

            October 31, 2022.

This grant is given to individuals through nomination for the Ford Foundation fellowships. The JustFilms grant is one of the initiatives of the Ford Foundation suited for Nigerians and Africans generally.

How to apply for Ford Foundation Grants:

  1. Go to the Ford Foundation website scroll down the landing page
  2. At the bottom of the page, there are two initiatives; you are looking for the JustFilm button.
  3. Click on the button, read the requirements, and
  4. Fill the submission form adequately and submit. 
  5. Note that you need to have prepared your video document before application.
  6. Note also that your application will only be attended to when there is a call to apply.

            Who can apply for Ford Foundation Grants:

            Anyone that makes the foundation is qualified for the grant.

The grant is targeted at promoting the well-being of humans around the world. The Rockefeller Foundation grant is committed to many sectors ranging from health to power and climate.

How to apply for Rockefeller Foundation Grants

  1. Go to the RF foundation website.
  2. On the Grant window,  choose the sector that best suits your business or organisation.
  3. Choose a suitable grant under the sector.
  4. Follow the instructions and apply.

             Who can apply for Rockefeller Foundation Grants:

             An organisation that is tax exempt or an individual seeking support for an educational or charitable project.

This is a non-profit, private sector organisation that provides financial support in the form of grants to non-government business organisations. The aim of this grant is to encourage the growth of private enterprise principles that contribute to democratic development.

How to apply for CIPE Grants:

Details on How to apply: it is usually made public when there is a call for application. So, please keep visiting the CIPE website for updates.

While there are several other grants available to you in Nigeria,  listed are the top 28 grants.

Apply to one of these ongoing grants to start a business. Do you need help applying for one of these or not sure if you qualify, reserve your free session with one of our seasoned experts to kick-start your process.

To decide which way to go, you need to make some considerations, such as:

Financing Options Open to Business Start-ups

Let's group them into:

 Let us break them down into the most available options.

  1. Business loans: This is majorly institutional funding. Banks and other financial institutions have several business loan packages, both for start-ups and established businesses. The government also offers incentives to small and medium-scale businesses to help ease their growth through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN)
  2. Crowdfunding: This raises funds by pooling resources from all and sundry. It is usually small amounts of money, but as the saying goes, “tiny drops make a mighty ocean”. In countries like the United States of America, crowdfunding can include strangers on platforms like GoFundMe. Nigeria, for now, restricts crowdfunding, especially for private businesses, unless it complies with the conditions laid down by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). You can, however, do this within your circle of friends and family.
  3. Grants: This is a sizable amount of money given by the government, a charitable foundation, or a specialised grant-making institution to fund your ideas and business projects. As with most money-raising applications, you would have to present and defend your business ideas satisfactorily to qualify. Examples of these include the Canada Fund for Local Initiative grants in Nigeria; the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program; the Bank of Industry; and the World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator Grants. These are just a few. The more you look, the more you find one that suits your niche.
  4. Angel Investment: This is a flexible means of raising funds. It could either take the form of debt or equity financing. It all depends on your angel investor and his terms of investment. The Lagos Angel Network is a team of angel investors committed to seed funding and mentoring entrepreneurs. They are, however, limited to Lagos, Ibadan, and Abeokuta. There are also individual angel investors in Nigeria that you can look out for.
  5. Personal Contacts/Networking: These are your circle of friends and family. It also extends to their friends and acquaintances, meeting new people in your everyday life and striking up conversations about your business. This is like angel investors, as it could be debt or investment. It could also be a gift. 
  6. Self-funding: Bootstrapping. If you have it, this is the most convenient way of funding your business. Sadly, this option is not available to everyone.
  7. Venture capital: This is a major source of investment for start-ups. They are private investors who fund your business for a stake in it. They eventually ease out of the business when their investment capital and some profits are realised as predetermined by the Venture Capital Agreement/Contract.

Now, let's assess the realities of funding a start-up.

The Realities of Funding a Start-up

Funding a start-up is hard, especially when you can’t provide the funding from your personal resources. To successfully address this, let’s consider the costs that need to be covered by business start-ups. 

They include, but are not limited to:

For web-based businesses, costs could include:

Making a list of your projected costs can help you focus and prevent making financial mistakes. You can build a worksheet to get a better handle on it. It helps you to:

You need to know the challenges faced by start-up businesses to be prepared to tackle them as they pop up.

Major Funding Challenges in the Start-Up Environment in Nigeria

What Investors and Lenders Look Out for

Whoever gives you money will need to be sure that you will use the money effectively and generate a proper return soon. To mitigate loss and challenge their funds properly, investors and lenders have core features in a start-up company that they look out for. They include:

The lender will look for the 5Cs of lending. They are:

Key Takeaways

I hope we answered most of your questions in this article. If you have any clarifications or questions, we are happy to help. Book a time with one of our experts to get a free audit.

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