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How To Secure A Business Grant In Nigeria


Business grants are funds provided by private or public sector organisations for businesses at various stages of growth. Unlike other types of business funding, such as loans and equity finance, grants are not expected to be paid back.

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It’s easy to see why this kind of funding is attractive. It could enable you to scale your business without having to worry about settling obligations with lenders. As such, grants are highly sought after, and the competition for them can be fierce.

If you’re planning to apply for a grant, you’ll want to make sure you’re not forgetting any relevant aspects of the application process. Here you’ll learn what these steps are, and how you can tackle them successfully.

What Grants Are Available To Businesses In Nigeria?

Some of the grants available to businesses in Nigeria include:

  • The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Program Grant

The TEF Entrepreneurship Program trains and mentors thousands of entrepreneurs selected from across Africa, and also provides them with funding worth $5,000. The program takes place annually.

  • GEM Project Grant

The Growth and Employment (GEM) Project is a Federal Government initiative funded by the World Bank. It provides grants ranging from ₦2 million to ₦10 million to businesses in Nigeria.

  • US African Development Foundation (USADF) Grant

The USADF is a US government agency that provides grants to businesses in Africa. Funding agreements may range from $100,000 to $250,000 in most cases.

  • AYEEN Financial Grants

The African Young Entrepreneurs project is aimed at building a network of successful businesses in Africa. One way it does this is by financing enterprises in Africa. Its grant program comes up annually.

  • Shell Livewire Funding

The Shell Livewire Funding program is designed to support young people in host states with the funding they need to run and scale their businesses.

Steps To Securing A Business Grant In Nigeria

Here are the steps you need to take if you’re going to secure a business grant in Nigeria.

Study The Objectives Of The Grant

Organisations that organise grants do so to achieve specific objectives. If you’re seeking a grant, you should be sure that its objectives align with your own purposes.

For example, if the grant has a bias for agribusinesses, you’ll stand a chance if your enterprise is somewhere along the agricultural value chain. But if you’re a fashion business, you’ll be better off looking for a grant that’s open to your kind of business (or one that isn’t dedicated to any particular industry).

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Other things you should look out for include the stage of business the grant funds (whether it’s for business ideas, early-stage, or established companies), ethical exemptions, founder age range, and regional focus.

Prepare A Great Business Plan

If you’ve selected a grant program that you would like to apply to, your next step should be to prepare a business plan. Grant-giving organisations will usually request to see your business plan as part of their screening process.

Your business plan should describe what your business is and does, have a profile of the key figures running it, analyse the market it targets, and contain projected financial statements.

Learn more about writing a business plan in our article, Six Things You Should Never Leave Out of Your Business Plan.

Have Other Business Records Ready

Besides your business plan, also make sure to have your certificate of incorporation, evidence of tax payment, and financial records ready. Grant providers may request to see them too.

These documents should prove that your business is legally registered, pays its taxes, and is in a good place financially.

The grant-giving organisation may also ask for additional documents, depending on the industry they target, and other objectives they may have. Just be sure to have all relevant documents in order, before submitting your application.

Write A Business Grant Proposal

Sometimes you will be asked to submit a business grant proposal, i.e. a detailed explanation about what you’ll do with the grant if you secure it. You may be expected to submit this along with other items as part of your initial application.

A well-written grant proposal will show that you have a solid plan for utilising the grant. This is something that donors want to see.

If you can’t write the grant yourself, you may hire a professional grant writer to do it on your behalf. Provide them with the details of the project you’re seeking the grant for, and information about the body offering the grant.

Apply Early

Applications submitted early could get a closer look than those that come in late. The assessing party will probably devote more time to examining them. This means that they’ll very likely be approved if they meet the conditions set by the grant-giving body.

Know what documents you’re expected to submit when you’re applying, and be sure that you’re submitting at the right place (whether it’s on the grant program’s website or via email).

If you’ve met the initial eligibility criteria and subsequent scoring metrics, you’ll stand as much a chance to secure the grant as the best applicants.

Final Words

Grant applications are often competitive. But they are won by people like you. So you can put yourself in a great position to win if you take the right steps. The guidelines we’ve shared here should help you do just that.

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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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