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6 Funding Opportunities for Nigerian Businesses in 2020

If you’re a business owner in Nigeria and you’re seeking funding to take your enterprise to the next level, you’ve come to the right place.

This article presents some of the top funding opportunities for Nigerian businesses in 2020, available from private and government funding programs run by local and international bodies. It also notes the application requirements.

Here’s the list of funding opportunities you can take advantage of this year, listed in no particular order.

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1. Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP)

The Tony Elumelu Foundation aims to train and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas throughout a period of ten years. It’s pushing this through the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP), which takes place for the sixth year in 2020.

While the program has traditionally accepted 1,000 people into its annual cohorts, there’s been an increase in that number in the past couple of years.

Successful applicants will undergo live training for 12 weeks, after which they will receive seed capital of $5,000 if their business plans meet the TEEP’s evaluation criteria.

Application Requirements and Evaluation Criteria

•The applicant’s business or idea should not be more than three years old.

•Entrants should be at least 18 years or more.

•The business should be based on the African continent.

•It should be for-profit and scalable.

•Applicants must demonstrate leadership skills.

2. The Youth Entrepreneurship Support Program (YES-P)

The Youth Enterprise Support Program (YES-P) is a government-backed initiative set up to support young entrepreneurs in Nigeria. It’s a program offered by the bank of Industry (BOI), which trains and funds aspiring businesspeople of ages 18-25 with a minimum educational qualification of an Ordinary National Diploma (OND).

The program includes eight weeks of online training and five days of in-class entrepreneurship and business management coaching, as well as funding worth up to ₦5 million for promising entrepreneurs.

Applications for the YES-P program are made online via the BOI portal.

Application Requirements

•Applicants should be Nigerian and have their business situated within the country.

•They must be aged 18-35 years.

•They should have at least an Ordinary National Diploma (OND)

•They should have a valid means of identification (National ID, Voters Card, International passport, etc).

3. Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)

The Lagos State Government came up with the LSETF in 2016 to help residents of the state acquire the skills and support they need to become gainfully employed. The program also aims to strengthen the capacity of MSMEs in the state to function and thrive in the country’s peculiar business environment.

The LSETF has loan schemes for four groups of businesses:

•Women entrepreneurs: loans of up to ₦5 million.

•Small and medium enterprises (SMEs): up to  ₦5 million.

•Micro enterprises: loans of up to ₦500,000.

•Microenterprise startups: up to ₦250,000 in loans.

Application Requirements

•Applicants should be residents of and do business in Lagos.

•They should possess the relevant means of identification.

•SMEs must be registered with the CAC and have their tax records in order.

4. Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI)

The CIFI is backed by the Federal Government. Through this vehicle, they’re currently financing aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in fashion, ICT, music, and movie production industries.

Under this initiative, software engineering students with outstanding business ideas could get up to ₦3 million to bring their ideas to life. Movie producers could get a maximum of ₦30 million, and movie distribution outfits could get as much as ₦500 million in loans. Fashion and ICT businesses will receive help with covering their rent and service fees.

You can apply for funding under this program through your local commercial bank branch. 

Application Criteria

•Individual applicants must be Nigerians working or studying in Nigeria.

•They should possess an officially recognized means of identification.

Find our comprehensive listings of businesses in Nigeria here

5. Shell LiveWIRE

The Shell LiveWIRE program is powered by the Shell Petroleum Development Company. It’s devoted specifically young people aged between 18 and 30 years who are from the Niger Delta and are looking to start their own businesses.

Since its inception in 2003, it has trained over 7,000 people and assisted more than 3,000 of them with start-up grants. Early in 2019, about 120 young entrepreneurs received grants from the program, totaling ₦48 million to begin their businesses.

You may visit the Shell LiveWIRE website for registration details.

Application Criteria

•Applicants must be resident in Edo, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Abia, Imo, or Akwa Ibom states.

•They should be aged between 18 and 30.

6. The US African Development Foundation (USADF) Fund

The USADF was established by the United States Congress to help underdeveloped communities in Africa build capacity in key industries. Grants are offered to businesses operating in agriculture and off-grid energy, as well as enterprises led by young people.

You can enter for any of the USADF’s periodic challenges by submitting a proposal for solving a particular energy problem. The USADF will fund applicant businesses’ projects to the tune of up to $100,000 if their application meets its criteria.


•The applicant’s business must be 100% African-owned and at least majority Nigerian-owned.  

•It must be registered and operating in Nigeria.

•It must also have audited financial statements for the past two years (where available).

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Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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