Funding Opportunities For Small Businesses
Many young people in the country today have enterprising abilities but are unable to put them into good use due to lack of funds and relevant experience.
Some existing businesses have remained dormant or failed after some years because funds are unavailable for expansion.
For those who have not been saving money that will be sufficient to invest in a business of their choice, looking outwards for finance becomes the next option.
The ability to manage a business with the available funds is also a great challenge for new entrepreneurs.
As a result, some Nigerian companies and international organisations are giving financial support to people with innovative business ideas as part of their corporate social responsibility.
Available business funding opportunities for start-ups and enterprises that require expansion are highlighted below:
$1m African entrepreneurship award
Aimed at improving your business idea, African Entrepreneurship Award seeks applications from the budding entrepreneurs with the best ideas all over Africa from February 15 to May 6, 2016.
According to information on its website, professional mentors will work with the beneficiaries to plan, launch and scale their businesses.
The award, powered by the BMCE Bank of Africa, will finance and help build selected ideas into sustainable businesses that employ people, improve the economies of the countries in which the businesses operate in Africa.
It says, “Soon after you submit a completed proposal, a mentor will be in touch with you, guiding you to bettering your idea. And yes, if you have a better idea, you can resubmit it at least once before May 6, 2016.”
Highlighting the eligibility for the award, the group says any interested applicant must be a citizen of African country; must be at least 18 years old as of October 1, 2016, and must have a business, which operates in Africa.
Other criteria are the business proposal must include a technological component (digital, machinery, computers, Information and Communication Technology, automated processes and field related technologies) and must be for profit.
It stated that the business would be expected to have impact on the education sector, environment and other high-impact businesses venturing into unexplored territory or untested markets.
$100,000 Anzisha prize
Young entrepreneurs with social and for profit ventures have an opportunity to win $100,000 Anzisha prize, whose application ends on April 15.
The award, which targets young African entrepreneurs between 15 years and 22 years, will select 12 finalists to participate in a one-week entrepreneurship workshop and conference in South Africa.
The prize to be won by the top young entrepreneurs in African was increased from $75,000 grant in 2015 to $100,000, information on its website says.
It also says that the application can be entered through nominations, noting that eligible applicants must be a national of an African country with a business based in Africa for African customers or beneficiaries.
It adds that the business must be up and running with a proof of tangible results that have been achieved.
It says, “Your business, invention or social project can be in any field or industry (science and technology, civil society, arts and culture and sports). Any kind of venture is welcome to apply. Individuals who apply must be one of the founding members of a business. For example, two or three co-founders who started a business together; one person can apply for the prize, on behalf of the team.”
YBLN budding entrepreneurs programme
Eligible applicants are people from Nigeria, especially youths from parts of the country worst affected by the unemployment epidemic in the country, to benefit from business training and funding and networking opportunities of the BEP.
According to information on the Young Business Leaders of Nigeria website, the programme “is a carefully designed six-week residential entrepreneurship that trains young people in specific business skills. Young individuals with viable business ideas or existing businesses from diverse socio-economic backgrounds will be selected.”
“Our aim is to create a platform to empower young business-minded adults to start their own businesses or further develop or expand existing businesses. With the development and success of these businesses, the hope is to have a domino effect of helping other unemployed youths by each business employing at least a minimum of five people before December 2017.”
The eligibility criteria, according to the YBLN, are ability to write and speak English; track record of past achievements in their communities, and a start-up that has been in existence for one to three years, among others.
Global Good Fund
The Global Good Fund is receiving applications from social entrepreneurs who are under 40 years for its 2017 fellowship programme.
Criteria for those selecting applicants for the fund, according to information on its website, include the ability to demonstrate leadership and growth potential; commitment to social impact and driving significant changes; and ability to accept honest feedback.
It adds, “The enterprise that the candidate leads is at least one year old; the enterprise must have at least one full-time employee in addition to the candidate; that the candidate actively mentors and invests in team members or other individuals; and the enterprise is or will be financial sustainable (50 per cent or more of the budget is generated revenue).”