As entrepreneurs, we face hurdles and challenges trying to start and manage a business most if which involves startup capital.
So many ideas and innovation never see the light of day and the reason been the lack to access seed funding.
Most times the entrepreneur in question do not often have adequate information on how he/she can access grants for the sole purpose of the business.
What are business grants?
Business grants are small sums of seed funding that push federal, state or non-profit organizations’ goals forward.
Unlike a loan, you don’t have to repay it. But you do have to prove you can achieve the goal.
In the long run, some grant offering organization usually gives you extra funds if you can achieve your goal.
Grants can be organized and funded by
This type of grants is awarded by the government of a specific country or region.
In this type of situation, grants are organised, awarded and disbursed by the government of a particular country or region.
Sadly, not all government are ready to partake in the disbursement of grants and even if they do they are likely not to broadcast it to the hearing of everybody.
2. Non-Governmental Organisations.
This type of grants is organised and awarded by non-governmental body and organisations.
This is by far the most popular form of grants all over the world.
So many philanthropist and organisation choose to give back to their environment by empowering individuals in the form of grants.
How do I qualify for business Grants?
Now You are hearing of grants for the first time or you have probably heard of it once before and you need to know if you are eligible to access one.
here are the few guidelines to follow.
1. Have a new or an existing business idea.
The first thing to know or have in mind is the need to have a business or a startup idea.
In most cases, your business is to be new or existing for not more than 3 years of existing.
2. Have a business plan.
A business plan is necessary for the success of any business.
A business plan should contain.
- Your intended product or service? Is it something the market truly needs, or just something that you’re good at and enjoy?.
- Your target market (if you answer “everyone,” then you haven’t thought it through. You’ve got to be more specific.
- Your competition? How is your target market currently getting its needs met?
- The needed startup capital needed to get your business to life.
3. Become familiar with the process.
Most grants processes are usually very detailed and time-consuming. There is no guarantee if you will receive one.
Always make sure to get familiar with their processes and the only way to do this is to make sure you get connected with previous alumni.
4. Own a website.
Most times you would want to apply for a grant that is not in your location and the only way they can verify and trust your business is the use of a website.
You can have a business that explains in details the information about your business.
Owning a website makes your business authentic.
Here is an article I recommend you read to help you get started with owning your website.
- How To Choose A Domain Name For Your Website or Blog In 2020
- How To Start A Blog And Make Money In 2020
5. Use Social media platform.
While filling your grant application you would be asked to fill your social media platforms.
This would help them review the latest activity in your businesses.
Even if you have not started full-scale work or production you can anticipate and declare your passion via your social media platform.
Here is an article I recommend you read to help you get started with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
- How To Grow Your Business On Facebook In 2020
- How To Grow Your Business On Instagram In 2020
- How To Get Verified On Instagram In 2020
List of Business Grants Offering Organisations.
You are now aware of some of the major requirements needed to get business grants now is the time to identify business grants offering organisations at your disposal and keep track of them.
Most of them open out their portal once in a year, you should be aware of every one of them so that you can pitch your business.
Also, note that you are only allowed to received the business grants only once and can even qualify for more if you can develop the business
Also, don’t forget to take note that now all of these business grants offering organisations are genuine.
Here are some very few trustworthy ones.
1. International Breweries Foundation.
Owned and presided by the international breweries. This foundation empowers young people from the age of 18 – 35 on business start-up funds. Funds ranging from 200k to over 3 million are disbursed to either existing businesses not up to three years or new startup businesses.
Application is opened every year to all nationwide applicant to pitch their business Idea and luckily enough to get seed funding to boost their businesses.
Click the link to learn about The international breweries foundation
2. The Tony Elumelu Foundation.
The big boy in the game, The Tony Elumelu Foundation Presently presided by Mr Tony Elumelu Himself, the CEO UBA Bank, Heirs Holdings and Transcorp Hilton has empowered over a 3M entrepreneurs in the last ten years of operation.
Disbursement of seed funding to over 5K entrepreneurs across West Africa is carried out annually.
Application opens in late December and closes early February of every year.
Winner or qualified applicants are issued the sum of USD 5,000 for the sole purpose of their business and it carries no interest, you are not paying back, its free Money.
Here is an in-depth article on how you can win the Tony Elumelu Foundation Grants.
3. Bank Of Industry (BOI).
The Bank of Industry (BOI) newly started a youth empowerment program for young and talented entrepreneurs looking to venture into various sectors of Nigeria’s economy.
The Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Program is BOI’s effort at addressing the worrisome happening of youth lay-off in Nigeria by building the volume of the youths and funding their business ideas.
The YES program is aimed at providing young people with the requisite skills and knowledge to be self-employed by starting and running their businesses. The YES Program comprises of;
- Eight (8) weeks accelerated online Entrepreneurship and Business Management practice which can test participants’ knowledge and track their progress.
- Five (5) days in-class Entrepreneurship and Business Management training.
- Technical skills training in partnership with the various technical training and vocational institutes in the country.
- Financing the businesses by BOI under its SME Cluster initiative in consonance with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s commodity-based Industrialization Strategy.
To be eligible:
- The applicant must be a Nigerian.
- Must have a viable business idea within the 40 identified clusters that is operated, or will operate in Nigeria.
- Must be within the age limits of 18 and 35. (proof of identity: International passport/Drivers License/National ID/Voters card required).
- Must possess a minimum educational qualification of Ordinary National Diploma (OND).
- Applicant must be able to carry out the application process online.
4. The Pollination Project.
Founded in 2013, The Pollination Project (TPP) is a worldwide philanthropic foundation whose purpose is to spark morality and kindness in every person through a daily tradition of beneficence and grant-making.
Also, take note that the creators of the pollination projects are rigidly vegan and will not support or fund any business that has to do with killing animals.
So don’t pitch for poultry or any form of animal rearing because it would be rejected.
just thought to let you know.
The Pollination Project is a grant award organisation based in the United States.
It has a mission to empowers startup and businesses all over the world with just $1K.
The most interesting part of it is that they are open throughout the year except for holidays like Christmas.
They take an application from all over the world and review for over six to eight weeks.
Approved applicants thereby receive funds via PayPal.
Here is an in-depth guide article on how to apply for the Pollination Project.
Business Grants For Tech Startups.
It has been discovered that the tech industry is the least most funded industry with little or no access to funds.
Most tech startups founders do not know how to access startups.
They simply try to bootstrap their ideas by themselves this sometimes leads to inadequacy and inability to sustain tech startups and innovations.
To curb this, there is a platform that provides tech enthusiast with no interest Funds, Mentorship and technical support.
Here are top 5 grants, accelerators and mentorship programs you should apply for.
EdTech entrepreneurs based anywhere in Africa have the only opportunity to get industry specialist mentoring, support, scale-up and funding introductions, and early-stage funding.
Website – Injini.vo.za
2. Google LaunchPad.
Google Launchpad is a global acceleration program that helps startups build and scale great products by matching them with the best of Google.
Google Launchpad simply connects you with mentors, funds and workspace provided you are working on something great. Google Launchpad provides you
- Equity-free support
- Access to Google engineers and intensive mentoring from 20+ teams
- Access to silicon valley experts and top local mentors
- PR training and global media opportunities
- Close partnership with Google for three months
website – Googlelaunchpad
3. Fb Start Accelerator.
FbStart offers an exclusive network for entrepreneurs, worldwide conferences, Facebook mentorship and up to $60,000 in free software and services.
Website – Fb Start Accelerator.
4. Y Combinator.
Just like Google LaunchPad and Facebook Accelerator, Y Combinator has been in the business of empowering startups and connecting with potential markets.
Y Combinator interviews and selects two or more company batches per annum.
The enterprises receive seed money, advice, and connections in exchange for the company’s 7 per cent equity. The program includes “office hours”, where startup founders meet individually and group meetings.
Founders also take part in weekly dinners in which guests from the Silicon Valley ecosystem (successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, etc.) speak to the founders.
The curriculum teaches entrepreneurs to sell their company, team and sell, optimize their business model, achieve product/market fit, scaling the startup into a high growth business, etc.
The program ends with Demo Day, where entrepreneurs introduce their company to potential investors, and usually technology.
Y Combinator is responsible for funding great startups like Stripe and Paystack
Website – Y Combinator
My Personal Experience.
Before moving on to the next section of this article I would like to take a little space to talk about my personal experience with a very few business grant organization here in Nigeria.
Most organization camouflage that they offer business grants and in the end, they do not. You must have noticed that I did not mention some very popular grant organization and I decided to omit them because of my personal experiences with just a very few of them.
1. The A.Y.E. (Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs).
The A.Y.E is a very popular non-governmental organization here in Nigeria.
They are quite popular with their advert on television and radio but they are not what they claim to be and here is my personal experience with them.
I came across the A.Y.E organization for the first time in 2014 on television.
I was attracted by the name and show of personalities that their portfolio carried and I was tempted to give them a trial.
Afterwards, I did not follow them up till I saw their commercials on television again in April 2019 while I was In the bank trying to sort out something.
I was convinced this time to give their platform a trial so I logged on to their website and signed up, I was then asked to submit a business plan which I did.
After seven days I received an email stating that my business plan was not valid and did not meet their standard and I should resubmit in 7 days from the time I received that email or I should refer to a business plan consulting firm them affiliated to them.
I eventually tried consulting one and I was shocked when I got a response to pay a sum of N25,000 equivalent to $100 to get a business plan then I started suspecting something fishy.
I ignored and decided to move on. But in no distant time from that time, I got a call from the administration asking me that I previously applied that I should submit a business plan.
For the first time in my life I felt something coming, I geared up and went on to meet a mentor of mine to help me with a business plan.
Eventually, I was able to get one about three months later and resubmitted. I thought I was very late and I had lost hope.
it was very shocking when I got an email that my business plan had been accepted and I should watch out for subsequent emails.
Sequel to this period I started getting calls upon calls telling me to show up at their convention in Ondo State, Nigeria which is like 150 Kilometers to where reside in Lagos, Nigeria.
I tried to ignore this but I kept on receiving emails that my business have been shortlisted for the business grant awards.
I went reluctantly to the venue from Ibadan, Nigeria where I was at a camp meeting for one week.
It became a drama when I arrived there after over 6 hours on the road.
On arrival I met a queue of over 5k people from all over Nigeria, I even met with visitors from as far as northern Nigeria who had managed to converge at the venue because of constant distress call and emails they received from the foundation.
Looks like we have been scammed cos I wondered how he was going to take care of this huge crowd.
Outside the queue we where all left in the sun for over four hours before we were eventually let in and got the door to the gate shot out for people not to go out of the venue again.
It became a drama when we were authorized to buy from the accredited organization’s vendor who sold at very crazy and ridiculous prices.
It became very obvious that we have been marked out for extortion.
A bottle of water was sold at triple the prices.
I became very uncomfortable throughout the program eventually started and finally the governor of the state was ushered into our midst to join us.
During the program, the founder of the foundation in the name of Sumy Francis boasted of how big he has impacted the environment and requested that he needed land to build his entrepreneur village.
I kept calm till the whole drama ended It became obvious that everything was staged to receive popularity and Fame he needed and also request for a piece of land from the government.
Not only this, but I also had an opportunity to meet someone whose name was included in the list since 2018 and up until data was never awarded any sort of business grant or support.
Well documented on their website is a list of ghost grantees with Fake names.
I counsel you not to believe the lies or scam forged by this organization.
In addition to the above-mentioned proofs, I also had to finally ask a mentor of mine who initially gave me the business plan about what he felt about the A.Y.E and to my surprise, the A.Y.E is a scam.
He also told me that he was included in their program in 2016 and it was a scam.
After this event, a whole lot of entrepreneurs that were deceitfully invited all left angrily and how disappointed they fell.
I am not angry because I was not given the grant but the bottom line is that I felt Used and intimidated.
That’s my point here, I counsel you to make your findings.
It is such a disappointment that the so-called Nigerian leaders of tomorrow are seeking ways to extort the little that has been painfully gathered by poor Nigerians.
They are over thousand of business grants offering organisations both home and abroad, I only touched a very few legit ones that know.
Please note all are good as they claim to make sure to be extremely careful.
Here is an article I recommend that you read to help you get started with raising capital for your business.