Top 10 Business grants for African startups, SMEs, and entrepreneurs

Business grants are important to entrepreneurs. Grants aid SME’s and startups to achieve their business goals. They provide a buffer for payment of salaries, business expansion, running of advertisements, and business idea development.
  • Have a strong or convincing business idea, if the business isn’t yet existing
  • Develop a detailed business plan providing a financial and marketing plan
  • Indicate the cost of starting the business or the cost of your intention, be it for business expansion or marketing purposes
  • Indicate how your business will turnover in a short duration.
  • Provide a copy of all necessary business documentation such as business name registration, and business account details
  • Provide a record of all staff salaries, if the business is in existence.

NB: Requirements may differ across the varying grants

Which grants are easy to get?
There are no easy grants. Even after a successful application, there is no guarantee you will get the grant. As mentioned earlier, grants are highly competitive. Once you can endure and go through the process successfully, you are inching towards receiving free money for your business or business idea.

Here are some tips about business grants.

  • Only interesting and convincing businesses qualify.
  • Most grants are geared towards existing businesses.
  • Grants do not get to you immediately after your business has been chosen.
The top 10 grants for African startups, SMEs, and entrepreneurs

#1 Shared Interest
Shared Interest, was founded in 1990 in England. It is aimed at financing farmers, food producers, and artisans in developing nations. Shared Interest has satellite offices in Ghana, Kenya, Costa Rica, Peru, and some Eastern Africa countries. With the help of several investors in the UK contributing between £100 to £100,000, Shared Interest can provide support to African entrepreneurs.

#2 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program was founded by Tony Elumelu, an Entrepreneur & Philanthropist from Nigeria. The foundation is designed to provide 10,000 aspiring African Entrepreneurs with $100 million in grant, to create 1 million jobs, and contribute $10 billion in annual revenues to Africa’s economy over the next 10 years.
The foundation is also designed to provide mentorship programs for Entrepreneurs across the continent.

#3 Root Capital
Root Capital, founded in 1999 is a non-profit investment fund with the aim
• To foster rural prosperity in poor and environmentally vulnerable communities in Africa
• And Provide training and financial solutions to strengthen SMEs.
Root Capital has empowered over 400 businesses in Africa with SME Grants worth over $500 million.

#4 The Savannah Fund
The Savannah Fund since its inception in 2002, has provided startups, SMEs, and entrepreneurs from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and other African countries with financial assistance. The Fund is mainly centered on early-stage high growth technology startups in Africa.

#5 SeedStars World
Seedstars World is a Swiss-based organization that offers SME grants in over 53 countries in the world, particularly in regions like Africa, Asia, Middle East, and South America.
Application for a grant at SeedStars requires one to apply for the Business grant’s competition available annually. The competition is opened to young business owners and emerging markets.

#6 Miss Africa Seed Grants for African Women in Tech Businesses
This is a business grant organized by DCA Academy and directed towards African female entrepreneurs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The grants are offered through a competition where the winner receives the grant.

Eligibility requirements include:
• Applicants must be current residents of an African country (including North and Sub-Saharan Africa).
• Application must be submitted in English.
• Must Apply as an individual (at least 18 years of age), or a representative of a non-governmental organization (NGO) or social enterprise based in Africa
• Must have the ability to demonstrate previous experience conducting activities supporting women and girls in computer science or STEM fields.
• Be able to develop and contribute to a virtual community for supporting women and girls’ initiatives.
• Demonstrate leadership potential (references will be required for those applying for leadership funds).
• Proposed projects MUST have a tangible impact on women and girls in computer science and/or STEM-related fields.

#7 She Leads Africa Accelerator Grants
According to their platform, She Leads Africa “s a platform that gives women the community, information, and inspiration they need to live the lives of their dreams.”
The grant is offered to female entrepreneurs that have businesses that need funding in Nigeria. According to SLA, “You do not need to be Nigerian to apply but your business needs to be based in Abuja, Lagos, or Kaduna.” SLA provides an investment capital of N2 million.

#8 Lundin Foundation
Lundin Foundation is an organization founded by Swiss Family Lundin in the year 2005. It provides grants and technical assistance to unique social organizations across the globe. The foundation is headquartered in Canada with regional offices in Ghana and Kenya.

#9 African Entrepreneurship Award
The African Entrepreneurship Award powered by BMCE Bank of Africa was founded in 2014 and supported by Barak Obama at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford. Information available states that, “ Its sole goal is to help create jobs and improve lives across the African continent.”
The award offers US$1 million to winners.

#10 African Women Development Fund
The African Women Development Fund is a is Pan-African female grant that provides support to organizations that are female-led or tackling issues of female rights, and equality.
To be eligible for a grant, the business must be in existence for up to 3 years, registered and located in an African country.

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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)