8 Grants for Small Businesses in Nigeria and How to Win Them

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Businesses need money to function properly. It is an obvious fact. Small business grants are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get business funding and grow your business. Unlike loans, you don’t have to pay back grants. You also do need collateral to have access to grants. 

Running a business, irrespective of its size, is capital-intensive. Corporations like the Tony Elumelu Foundation, YouWIN Nigeria, and GroFin give small business grants in Nigeria. The criteria for getting these grants depend on the corporation. 

As you keep reading, you will learn more about Grants for Small Businesses in Nigeria and how to qualify.

How Can I Get Grants in Nigeria

To get small business grants in Nigeria, there are some preparatory steps to take. 

Be Social Media Savvy

You cannot act on information unless you are aware of it.

You need to be aware of the number of grants that are available. Searching the internet and following organisations that target small businesses gives you an edge. 

Some of the organisations to follow are already listed below. 

Determine Your Eligibility

Ensure you are qualified for the grant. This would include your business location, age, size, and much more. Read the eligibility criteria and ensure that you meet them. Resist the temptation to falsify information. 

For small business grants in Nigeria, youth between the ages of 18-30 years are usually favoured. Some organisations also prefer that you run your business on African or Nigerian soil, as the case may be. 

Submit Your Application

Visit the website you are applying to, follow the laid down steps, and submit your application. Ensure you read the directions properly and get every necessary document ready. 

Organisations That Give Grants in Nigeria

There are a handful of organisations that give grants to small businesses in Nigeria. The organisations, however, have their own eligibility criteria that must be met to win these grants.

Some of the organisations include

Tony Elumelu Foundation

For the past eight years, Tony Elumelu, through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, has been of immense help to small business owners. The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) selects close to a thousand applicants each year across Africa. 

Bigwigs in the business industry review each small business grant application, and winners are selected. They focus on your financial model and business feasibility, especially in Nigerian markets. 

Other determinants are the team you have to run the business and the strengths you bring forward. 

KickStart Entrepreneurship Programme (KEP)

The KickStart Entrepreneurship Programme was initiated by the International Breweries Foundation. The rationale behind their small business grants is the growth and development of young entrepreneurs. KEP gives young entrepreneurs grants and also mentors them through their businesses. 

Shell LiveWire

LiveWIRE Nigeria is a youth development program sponsored by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC). They are localized to the Niger Delta and some other states around. They focus on individuals within 18-30 years. They help them to start up businesses in the Southeast and south south parts of Nigeria. 

Federal Government Grants in Nigeria

The federal government, as a way to empower the youth, also gives grants for small businesses in Nigeria. 

YouWIN Connect Nigeria

The federal government in Nigeria in a bid to support youths with small business grants created YOUWIN

It is an acronym for Youth Enterprise with Innovative. 

It was created to help young people in Nigeria to either start businesses or expand their already existing businesses. Getting shortlisted for this small business grant is hinged on your business plan. It should be well thought out, properly researched (including market feasibility), and worded properly.

The grant money ranges between one to ten million naira. It is important to note that YouWIN does not support businesses that are affiliated to gambling, alcohol or weapons. 

YES by Bank of Industry

The Bank of Industry has a youth empowerment program called Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES). It is aimed at curbing the increasing rate of youth unemployment by funding youth business ideas. 

Besides funding ideas, they also ensure that the youth have the necessary knowledge in addition to skills. They do this by their YES program which is made up of online business management training. It lasts for about 8 weeks. 

The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund 

The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) was established in Lagos State in 2016 to help people fight unemployment. It was established in 2016. The government through this trust fund has been able to reach out young people to learn skills and get jobs. Over 25 billion naira has been invested to help both the small and medium businesses. 

International Grants for Small Businesses in Nigeria

Besides local grants within the country there are also international organizations that fund small businesses in Nigeria. Quite a number of these organizations concentrate on businesses within Africa. 

One criteria to get shortlisted for such small business grants is to run your business on African soil. 

GroFin Fund

GroFin is a renowned financial institution popular in Nigeria for the financial support they give. They help small businesses by giving grants and other necessary business support. 

GroFin believes that job creation improves lives and reduces unemployment. Over 90,000 jobs across Africa and the Middle East have been sustained. About 700 small businesses have also been funded by this organization. 

The organization gives grants of about $100,000. 

United States African Development Foundation (USADF)

The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) is an independent federal agency of the U.S. it was created primarily to provide financial support for businesses (especially for African businesses). 

USADF offers small business grants of up to $250,000.

Tips To Make Your Grant Proposal Stand Out

There are thousands of people who apply for grants for small businesses in Nigeria. One surefire way to ensure you get enlisted is to present an unforgettable and interesting proposal. 

Some tips to ensure you get that grant include

  • Research the organisation properly and know all it’s about.
  • Read through previous proposals if possible.
  • Explain how you would use your budget wisely. This is a key aspect. You may have to read up on budget-making.
  • Ensure you carry out a feasibility study in your area. Your business has to be profitable in your designated area. 
  • Sell your business idea and try to elicit emotion as much as possible. 
  • Do not fabricate details.

Other Ways to Get Funding for Your Business

8 Grants for Small Businesses in Nigeria
8 Grants for Small Businesses in Nigeria

Applying for grants can be a stressful process. Luckily, there are other methods to fund your business. 


There are other organisations and corporations that still give out grants to small businesses in Nigeria. Some of them focus on unique businesses like agriculture, and an example is the Leventis Foundation Agricultural Training Programme. 

Others may focus on women led or founded businesses like Women in Africa Entrepreneurs Grants (WIA). As a business owner, your social media presence and internet savvy would help you win small business grants.

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