Top Sources of Finance For Small Business Owners in Nigeria

sources of finance for small business

I don’t have money to start my business, what will I do?

This has been and is still among the top (challenges) most entrepreneurs face when starting a business. Some may even take it as a cliche to excuse themselves from really a business.

Not only for startups, most small businesses have bigger visions that require finance to carry out, but are cash-trapped. In Nigeria one may ask, are there institutions that provide financial support for small businesses?

Yes there are!

There are some private and public organizations that provide support for small and medium scale enterprises. Just like in most countries, Nigeria has various programs that support SMEs.

Business plan and Business registration are two basic requirements that most financial institutions require. Take out time in drafting a standard business for your business, as it will give you an edge over other businesses.

1. CBN Covid-19 intervention fund for SMEs

In response to the Covid-19 effect on small businesses in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced the N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) as a stimulus package to support households and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The broad objectives of the CBN’s N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility include:

i. Cushion the adverse effects of COVID-19 on households and MSMEs; ii. Support households and MSMEs whose economic activities have been significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. iii. Stimulate credit to MSMEs to expand their productive capacity through equipment upgrade, and research and development.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Households with verifiable evidence of livelihood adversely impacted by COVID-19
  • Existing enterprises with verifiable evidence of business activities adversely affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Enterprises with bankable plans to take advantage of opportunities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. The Tony Elumelu Foundation

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is the leading champion of entrepreneurship in Africa. The foundation was founded by a philanthropist and investor Tony O. Elumelu. The Foundation leverages its strong relationships in the public, private, and development sectors to drive its mission of creating prosperity for all.

In 2015, the program was launched with a $100 million commitment by Tony Elumelu to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs over 10 years. Every year 1,000 entrepreneurs are selected across Africa from a range of 50,000 applicants.

All applications are carefully reviewed by industry experts and selections are based on feasibility, market opportunity, financial understanding, scalability, and leadership potential. Applications usually run from the 1st of January to the 1st of March.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Business must be profit-oriented
  • Business must be 0 to 3 years old.
  • Business must be registered and operate in Africa.
  • Applicants must be 18 years old and an African citizen.

3. Bank of Industry (BOI)

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 program is aimed at equipping young people with the requisite skills and knowledge to be self-employed by starting and managing their own businesses. They provide access to funds for startups, SMEs, and large enterprises. The program is also empowering young entrepreneurs with the requisite knowledge required to scale through the business environment.

Eligibility Criteria

  • You must be a Nigerian
  • You must be between the ages of 18 and 35 years
  • You must have a minimum qualification of an Ordinary National Diploma (OND).
  • You must have a small or medium-scale enterprise.

4. Grofin Fund

GroFin is a pioneering private development finance institution specialising in the finance and support of small and growing businesses (SGBs). GroFin’s purpose is to develop a scalable, replicable and sustainable business model for the SME missing middle.

GroFin focuses on SGBs operating in education, healthcare, agri-business, manufacturing and key services (water, energy and sanitation). GroFin targets these vital needs sectors because of the impact these businesses have in directly working towards the SDGs and thus their capacity to alleviate poverty.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Your business must operate in any of these sectors – Education, Healthcare, Agribusiness, Manufacturing, or Key Services (Energy/ Waste / Water / Recycling)
  • Your business operates in a country where we have an office: South Africa, Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan or Oman
  • You need medium-term loan capital between US$100k and US$1.5M
  • Your business is making a positive social impact. For instance, Creating Jobs, Empowering Women, Benefiting the Environment


This is the foremost entrepreneurial empowerment program in Africa birthed to develop and empower the next generation of Nigerian young entrepreneurs. AYEEN was launched to torchlight innovative, exceptional and viable business/ideas in Nigeria that has all the ingredients for success and growth regardless of sector.

AYEEN attracts and engages over 25, 000 entrepreneurs from the 36 States in Nigeria and the FCT with diverse businesses/ideas in various sectors of the economy who are screened annually and several hundred directly empowered with grants, mentorship, equipment, training, and loans.

6. African Women Development Fund (AWDF)

The African Women Development Fund grantmaking ensures resources reach hundreds of African women’s organizations that are working in diverse ways to improve the lives of women and African society at large.

AWDF’s grantmaking is innovative, flexible, and creative. Through their grants, they support both established and small, locally-based women’s organizations. AWDF also provides specialized funding to facilitate learning and networking opportunities and to celebrate the contributions and achievements of many un-sung African heroines.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Must be duly registered in an African country
  • Must have been in existence for at least 3 years
  • Must complete the necessary application forms
  • Must be led by a woman and have majority of its staff and board being women
  • Must have the needed organisational structures for effective implementation of the project
  • Must be capable of reporting back on the outcomes of the project
  • Must have an appreciable financial management system to properly account for funds received

Its a Wrap

I believe by now you must have seen one or two funding options from our list to support your business. However, there are still other options which we will add to this post as we get the information, in the meantime you can be applying for the ones that matches you business criteria.

You can be checking our website, as we will be adding incredible funding opportunities that would help you grow and scale your business.

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