Top Business Grants for Entrepreneurs in Nigeria in 2019

Funding is a critical factor to the success of any startup. One of the cheapest and easiest ways to fund your startup in Nigeria is by applying for business grants. The impressive thing about business grants is that no repayment is required. Yes, you heard that right. With business grants, you don’t need to worry about interest rates, term length, refinancing or APR. You just need to qualify, and then you get “free” money.

The general criterion for qualifying for these funds is to have a business, that is, you must have started something that is providing a solution to a problem in the society. Next, you must have a viable and bankable business plan. You should have a vision, market strategy, and records of your revenue and expenditure.

Here are the top business grants in Nigeria

The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEE P): Launched in 2015 by the business tycoon, Tony Elumelu, this programme provides 10,000 USD seed funding for entrepreneurs across Africa, selecting 1,000 entrepreneurs from over 5,000 applicants. If you are in fashion, agriculture, design, ICT, solid minerals, and light manufacturing, among others, you can apply for this funding.

YouWIN Connect Nigeria: The Federal Ministry of Finance offers this program with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship, job creation, and wealth via enterprise education for young Nigerians.

BOI Funds: Recently, the Bank of Industry (BOI) launched a youth empowerment program for young and talented entrepreneurs who have started businesses in various sectors of the economy. Titled the Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme, BOI aims to equip young people with the skills and finances to manage their businesses.

Diamond Bank BET Program: The BET (Building Entrepreneurs Today) is designed to serve as a support system for budding entrepreneurs. Fifty entrepreneurs are selected yearly to undergo a six months intensive entrepreneurship training, after which, the top five are awarded financial grants as seed capital

GroFin Fund: The development financier, GroFin, has committed over 500 million USD to funding micro, small, and medium businesses across Nigeria.




GetHostel Services: A startup helping students, property owners and the young working class, to get accommodation space in Lagos #VentureHuntStartupFocus

GetHostel Services was launched in November 2017 by Okereke Bright and Odunbaku Oluwatimilehin Adigun, students of the University of Lagos.

It started as a real estate agency, but now it has expanded to being a digital and non-digital real estate company that specializes in helping students get the best off-campus accommodation experience close to their institution.

The startup achieves this by employing focused real estate agency, creative property development with consultation, and top-notch facility management.

Its goal is to deliver all-round real estate services to students, property owners and young working class, providing the best off-campus accommodation experience with a solution-oriented approach. Its core values are Quality, Integrity and Customer Care.

Since inception, this startup has successfully catered to over 600 students, helped over 200 students of the University of Lagos get comfortable accommodation and housing. Currently, it manages 5 properties, with 6 full time staff and 15 contract staff on its payroll.

Since August 2018, it has generated over N25 million in revenue.  GetHostel was recently nominated for 25 under by SME 100.  It is working on building a its first two-storey building

Here are some of the things Okereke Bright, one of the co-founders had to say in a recently conducted interview with Venturehunt.

What was your motivation for Starting GetHostel?

I had the motivation to start a real estate agency at a time when I needed accommodation, and I couldn’t get any. I had 150k set apart, so the problem wasn’t money, but that I couldn’t find a suitable accommodation. So, I got the idea to start an agency that can provide ideal and conducive home environments.

Where do you see GetHostel in the next years?

We are currently working with a plan to build 1000 residential units between now and the next 5 years.

How has the CEO experience been so far?

Interesting and boring at the same time. While managing properties, I can be at the sites for extended periods, ensuring that everything goes smoothly. But some days are calmer. Real estate is seasonal, there are times when business is booming and we make so much money, and there are times we don’t make as much. As a CEO, I’ve learnt to find a balance, so I can save for the rainy days.

How have you been getting funding?

In 2019 alone, we have raised NGN3 million, and we hope to raise about N20m from now till June 2020.

How were you able to raise the funding?

Through individuals. We have an investment plan. An individual invests in GetHostel, and within six months, the person receives the money back with an additional 30% interest rate. The lowest possible investment is 250,000. We plan to start applying to grants, venture capitalists, and participating in competitions to get more funds.

Who are your Role Models in the Industry?

My role models are Olawale Ayilara, the CEO of LandWey Investment Group, and Grant Cardone, the founder and CEO of Cardone




Konga exits B2C e-commerce, shutdown KongaDaily and now a “JiJi” Clone

Konga, the poster child of Nigeria e-commerce is pivoting to pure-play marketplace helping merchant list and sell via WhatsApp. As we found out this morning, customers can no longer “Buy” on Konga, instead, they can only “contact seller” and chat up merchant to finalize order.

This is displeasing as we are currently concluding a report on e-commerce in Nigeria and a possible way it can re-invent itself going forward. With the hope that market players can adjust their strategy in the new year and “think different”! We will publish that later in the month.

Layoff as sign of trouble

Back in July 2016, Konga made its first significant layoff, the CEO had stated as well that the company will be downsizing every six months. It also made a whopping 60% layoff last November, we also learned from an insider that some were let go silently in December.

KongaDaily Shutdown

Sometimes, size could be a burden and the new vertical which looked like it could turn around the company, could not live up to expectation. At its height, the company was doing N700k daily in the transaction but was too small to move the needle at Konga. It’s also said that company has made a significant investment in suppliers and couldn’t sell enough to justify the need for such an investment.

Acquisition negotiation

There are rumors that Konga is currently pushing to sell itself as current investors as refused to back it and money in the bank is fast depleting. An acquisition talk was (alleged) to have been held with Yudala but the talk has not proceeded positively in recent days.

What this means for the industry

Our view is that, for as long as humans use the internet, commerce will remain a thing. As such e-commerce will not die but will need a radical model to execute in this market.

With Paystack recent report of N2.7b in transactions in December (mostly from Merchants), then e-commerce is actually working but not at scale. The question is, what’s the best way to do e-commerce in Nigeria?, Nigerian Startup to Shake the mainstream in 2018

I have been following PiggyBank since their launch in 2016, and to see them grow aggressively over 2017 is amazing! Reading through the co-founder’s article on medium gave an impressive look into the steady execution and future of the company. I must say, it’s an impressive journey of how a Nigerian startup can be gritty, execution-minded and be awesome!

Product viabilities

Everyone in the world is aware of the need to save, and particularly in Nigeria(maybe Africa), we have Esusu culture of regularly saving money daily, weekly and monthly; most times jointly. I personally participated in joint-saving while in high school and running a small business. If there is any challenge to scale from that model, it’s the fact that, some people default after they have collected the fund contributed by everyone.

With PiggyBank, you are able to safe, put a SafeLock on it, and be sure to get your money when the time comes, say 3months time. The pain you get from the emergence of easy access (e-banking) to your money is the fact that, you can pull out your savings too quickly and as such, not be able to get the value of saving for a significant period.

(By William Iven, Unsplash)

The Accelerators

Till date, PiggyBank has participated in 3 accelerators; Village Capital, PitchDrive and BlackBox, all in 2017. When you look at the pattern of execution, you will see a coordinated, ambitious and lean(viral) approach to how they execute their strategies. I want to believe that their participation in the accelerators shaped greatly, the way they execute.

When you run a startup, getting a helping-hand in thinking through and executing your strategy has a value that can never be underestimated.

The Market

According to the last banking report, there are about 97.57m bank account holders in Nigeria, this is the Total Addressable Market (TAM) for the startup and given that we can assume a 25% Servicable Addressable Market (SAM) from the lot. Remember not all Nigerians with banking account will be ready to save money YET in a startup. This will change over time as their acquisition of a microfinance license could insure customer deposit as well, giving customers more confidence.

The Execution

In 2017, the startup grew 30,000% from 21m savings to close to 1 billion naira just within 12 months? That’s super impressive. According to the CEO, 30% of the money is in SafeLock, meaning customers have a pre-determined time for withdrawal and as a business, they can do investment with the money and make more.

The Future

This year 2018, we see PiggyBank breaking new ground and growing savings by at least 500%. With the acquisition of a microfinance, they will be able to hold money for longer, open a standalone bank account for customers and be able to introduce new products that will push them to the mainstream.

On the funding side, we predict (going by the pattern of startups in Nigeria) a $1.2m series a funding before the end of the year.