5 Top Business Grants and Loans for SMEs in Nigeria.

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 Tony Elumelu Foundation.

The Tony Elumelu foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is a Programme base on the desire to identify, grow and create 10,000 startups across Africa that has developed ingenious solutions to pressing economic challenges in their communities and countries. Its motive is to improve lives, generate employment, and create prosperity and wealth. The programme being launch in 2015 is the largest African philanthropic initiative devoted to entrepreneurship and represents our 10-year, $100 million commitment, to identify and empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs, create a million jobs, and add $10 billion in revenues to Africa’s economy.

The programme is in Barter partnership with an African Investment firm called Heir Holdings. They are also funded by annual grant from the investment firm, and in turn, they provide support to the philanthropic activities of the Heirs Holding Group. The entrepreneurs are entitled to $5,000 loan and the application must be done and submitted online through Application Portal.

The criteria for the loan are:

  • Business must be based in Africa
  • Business must be for profit
  • Business must be 0-3 years’ old
  • Applicants must be at least 18 and a legal resident or citizen of an African country.


2. Bank of Industry

Bank of Industry (BOI) is Nigeria’s oldest, largest and most successful development financing Institution. It was reconstructed out of the Nigeria Industrial Development Bank in 2001.It has contributed heavily to sustainable financing of SMEs. The Bank of Industry (BOI) recently launched a youth empowerment program for young and talented entrepreneurs looking to venture into various sectors of Nigeria’s economy. The Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme is BOI’s effort at addressing the worrisome phenomenon of youth unemployment in Nigeria by building the capacity of the youths and funding their business ideas.

The YES programme is aimed at equipping young people with the requisite skills and knowledge to be self-employed by starting and managing their own businesses. The YES Programme comprises of;

  • Eight (8) weeks intensive online Entrepreneurship and Business Management training which has the ability to test participants’ understanding and track their progress.
  • Five (5) days in-class Entrepreneurship and Business Management training.
  • Technical skills training in partnership with the various technical training and vocational institutes in the country.
  • Financing the businesses by BOI under its SME Cluster initiative in consonance with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Commodity-based Industrialisation Strategy.

To be eligible:

  • The applicant must be a Nigerian.
  • Must have a viable business idea within the 40 identified clusters that is operated, or will operate in Nigeria.
  • Must be within the age limits of 18 and 35. (proof of identity: International passport/Drivers License/National ID/Voters card required).
  • Must possess a minimum educational qualification of Ordinary National Diploma (OND).
  • Applicant must be able to carry out the application process online.


3. Africa’s Young Entrepreneur (AYE)

A.Y.E unites and empowers young entrepreneurs in Africa to network socially and financially, thereby developing a generation of outstanding entrepreneurs. Their collective intellectual capital develops market-leading businesses and networks, to play a key role in raising African prosperity.

The only criteria for the program are that the applicant must be a Nigerian and the business must be located in any of the 36 states of the country.

4. Diamond Bank BET Programme

The Building Entrepreneurs Today (BET) is a capacity building and business education initiative aimed at generating interest in entrepreneurship and designed to support budding entrepreneurs of all ages. Since its inception in 2010, the BET Programme in partnership with the Enterprise Development Center (EDC) has trained thousands of entrepreneurs, contributing immensely to the pool of skilled Micro, Small and medium enterprise owners in Nigeria and ultimately, encouraging wealth creation across the populace. The Building Entrepreneurs today programme involves a six-months intensive entrepreneurial/business training of 50 budding Entrepreneurs every season from select sectors of the economy. After going through a selection phase from a pool of numerous applications received.
The top five Entrepreneurs at the end of each season are awarded financial grants of N3, 000,000 each as seed capital to take their business to the next level. Giving support to over 150 businesses and awarding grants to over 20 entrepreneurs, The BET has positioned itself as a forerunner in the MSME led initiative in Nigeria gaining both local and international recognition.

5. YouWIN Connect

YouWiN! Connect is a multimedia enterprise education initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF) which aims to support young entrepreneurs as they PLAN, START and GROW their businesses. YouWiN! Connect seeks to promote entrepreneurship as a viable career option for young Nigerians which in turn will create jobs and wealth.
Criteria for applicant

  • You must be between 18 and 40years
  • Business must be located in Nigeria
  • Applicants must be a civil servant
  • Applicant must have a post-secondary school Education
  • Applicant must attend all training & meeting activities


Kindly leave comments below for more enquiries. 

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