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Almost everyone starting a new business venture is looking for money to get started. In Nigeria, one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get funds for your business is by applying for small business grants or soft loans. But unfortunately, there aren’t actually that many Nigerian federal or provincial government grants and soft loans available for small businesses.

In this report, I shared tips about top small business grants and soft loans in Nigeria organised by government agencies and private institutions.


FCMB’s zero percent interest loan for women in business provides easy access to capital to grow an existing business. If you are female and run a business in Nigeria, you may be able to access a loan of up to ₦5million for a maximum tenor of 3 months. You could also be one of the selected females to attend our free business training and be assigned a mentor to support your business growth.

Benefits of the Offer

  1. Zero interest on the loan
  2. Training
  3. Capacity building
  4. Mentoring
  5. Networking.

You could be one of the 40 women who will qualify to get access to ₦5million at 0% interest rate, and one of the 80 women to get training and mentorship quarterly.


The Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) scheme is the Bank’s first youth programme which was launched in October 2015 and is implemented by the Bank in partnership with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Directorate. This initiative is specifically targeted at youths undergoing the mandatory one (1) year national service programme. 

The aim is to change the job-seeking mind-set of Nigerian youths to entrepreneurship and self-reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self-employment and to contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy. 

Hence, the introduction of the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund programme to address the worrisome phenomenon of unemployment and restiveness.


The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) is a yearly programme launched by one of Nigeria’s successful businessmen, Mr Tony Elumelu via Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). This programme launched in 2015 is aimed at providing $10,000 seed funding for entrepreneurs across Africa. Every year, the programme selects 1,000 entrepreneurs across Africa from a poll of over 50,000 applicants. Each application is carefully reviewed by business experts in the industry and winners are selected based on market feasibility, clear financial models and a capable team to run the business. Each program cycle begins with an application process opened from January until 1st March.


  • 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.
  • Bank Of Industry (BOI)

The Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme is an empowerment program recently launched by the Bank of Industry for young and talented entrepreneurs looking to venture into various sectors of Nigeria’s economy.

The programme is Bank of Industry’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 main objective of the YES Programme is 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:

  1. Eight (8) weeks intensive online Entrepreneurship and Business Management training which has the ability to test participants’ understanding and track their progress.
  2. Five (5) days in-class Entrepreneurship and Business Management training.
  3. Technical skills training in partnership with the various technical training and vocational institutes in the country.
  4. 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.


  • 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.

GroFin is a pioneering development financier specializing in financing and supporting small and growing businesses (SGBs) across Africa and the Middle East. GroFin combines patient capital and specialized business support to grow emerging market enterprises.

GroFin Focuses on Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) that are grossly underserved by other funds or financiers. Deliver unique integrated solution for patient risk capital and end-to-end business support to start-up and growing businesses at the SME base. GroFin has a fund size of US $100+ Million to funding Nigerian micro, small and medium business (MSMEs) across the country.


  • Your business operates in one of the following countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda.
  • Your business is for profit.
  • Your business has a turnover of less than US$ 15 million and assets less than US$ 6 million.
  • You require financing between US$ 100,000 and US$ 1.5 million.
  • The business is owner-operated and/or the owner is substantially involved in running the business.

The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), was established by The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund Law 2016 to provide financial support to residents of Lagos State, for job, wealth creation and to tackle unemployment. LSETF serves as an instrument to inspire the creative and innovative energies of all Lagos residents and reduce unemployment across the State. The Fund has the mandate to directly invest ₦25Billion in helping Lagos residents grow and scale their Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (“MSMEs”) or acquire skills to get better jobs.

As the brainchild of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the LSETF is committed to financially support a target of 100,000 MSMEs by 2019, creating 300,000 direct and 600,000 indirect jobs as a result. The mission is well underway with a total of 705 beneficiaries who have received support to date.


Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs (A.Y.E) is committed to empowering young entrepreneurs across Africa by creating platforms that facilitate intra-trade on the continent. We are dedicated to developing the next generation of outstanding African entrepreneurs, who will shape the economies and political landscapes of their home countries.

AYEEN is looking to finance small business in various sectors of the economy. Winners would be awarded their respective prizes without any stake for the organizers. Although, the businesses will be duly monitored for a period of one year, 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.

Wrapping up….

Do not procrastinate any further as more time lost is equivalent to more money lost. Go out there and explore any or all of these sources of business funds using my DFY BUSINESS PLANS, and believe that your efforts shall not be in vain.

Never shy away from asking for help because those institutions and programs were established because the government and private individuals saw the need to eradicate joblessness in Nigeria.

Remember: if you are shy of taking a step to get yourself out of the financial mess, you may remain in that mess for so long. So, go take the right step today, the BUSINESS PLANS are written for you already. Just chose the ones you want and use them for your application. GOOD LUCK!

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